The Place of Play in Nanotechnoscience Education and Governance
Other conference contribution, 2022

This paper explores the design and outcomes of efforts to mobilize play when introducing high school students to ecological challenges emerging from the spread of nanomaterials. Run by a team of biochemical researchers at Lund University in Sweden, these activities demonstrate how play fits into the long-standing concern with anticipatory governance and responsible innovation in nanotechnoscience.

The activities of the Lund researchers involve three interrelated activities. First, the team offers an interactive lecture, which is based on their own research on how nanomaterials may travel up the food chain. The lecture also scrutinizes the methods through which such facts are established. Secondly, the topic of how to make sense of scientific information is also explored in a theater play, co-produced by the researchers and professionals from the field of theater. Thirdly, these engagements with the issue of nanomaterials include a citizen science project, in which students are invited to search for nanomaterials in their own homes.

As such, play is mobilized in three ways - by students co-producing the interactive lecture, immersing themselves in the fictional world of theater, and participating in investigations through a household scavenger hunt.

The paper will interrogate these activities by relating the design and outcomes to the existing STS literature on play and playfulness in science communication, specifically focusing on the place of theatre. It will also situate them in the context of the specific case of nanotechnoscience – a field where early fictional accounts and playful speculations prompted new modes of science and technology governance.

public understanding of science


science theater


Karl Palmås

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Science, Technology and Society

Cholula, Puebla, Mexico,

Mistra Environmental Nanosafety Phase II

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) (2013/48), 2019-04-01 -- 2023-03-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Subject Categories

Performing Arts


Nano Technology

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