c:o/re Highlights of 2023: A look back

When we look back on the year 2023 at c:o/re, we can think of many great lectures, workshops and projects that we were able to realise in collaboration with our fellows and scientists from Aachen and around the world.

In this blog post, we take joy in remembering some of them:

Lecture Series

In the summer semester, the lecture series of c:o/re took place on the topic of “Complexity”. In seven lectures, the concept of complexity was examined from various disciplinary perspectives. You can reread some of the questions discussed in this and this blog post.

Emre Neftci during his lecture “Neuromorphic Computing: Inspiration from the Brain for Future AI Technologies” on November 22.

The lecture series for the winter semester 2023/24 began on 25 October 2023 with the topic “Lifelikeness”. Every two weeks until 7 February 2024, c:o/re fellows and guest speakers have discussed will continue to talk about the representations and imitations of life in its many forms. You can find all the dates in the program and impressions of some of the talks in the blog posts here and here.

The Navigating Interdisciplinarity workshop took off at Marsilius Kolleg at Heidelberg University.

On 19 and 20 January 2023, the Marsilius Kolleg Heidelberg hosted the workshop “Navigating Interdisciplinarity”, which was organised in collaboration with CAPAS Heidelberg, the Marsilius Kolleg and c:o/re. The event brought together interdisciplinary research groups, mainly, but not only, from the humanities and social sciences to discuss the complex challenges of interdisciplinarity in the academic setting. The participants were able to discuss terms such as “complexity”, “security” or “collapse” as key aspects of interdisciplinary cooperation and research. You can read more about the workshop in this blog post.

Historicising STS participants (left to right): Benjamin Peters, Salome Rodeck, Arianna Borrelli, Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Lisa Onaga.

On 14 and 15 March 2023, the workshop “Turning points in reflections on science and technology: Toward historicising STS” took place at c:o/re. The aim of this event was to analyse the turning points in the intellectual history of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. The meeting illustrated the interdisciplinary and multi-perspective study of STS that is being conducted at c:o/re. Director Gabriele Gramelsberger and the fellows Ben Peters, Clarissa Lee, Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Jan C. Schmidt and Arianna Borrelli organised the event. They were joined by several renowned early career researchers from the STS field, such as Lisa Onaga (Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin), Carsten Reinhardt (Bielefeld University), Salome Rodeck (Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin), Vanessa Bateman (Maastricht University) and Andreas Kaminski (Darmstadt Technical University). A recap of the workshop can be found here.

Stefan Böschen introduced the notion of Varieties of Science as one of the guiding inquiries of c:o/re in Bucharest.

Following on from the success of the first workshop “Varieties of Science: Patterns of Knowledge” in December 2022 at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, the networking trips to institutes of science and transformation research were continued as part of the Varieties of Science activities. From 5 to 6 May 2023, a group of fellows and staff as well as the directors travelled to the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Bucharest for the workshop “Varieties of Science 2. European Traditions of Philosophy of Science: Unexpected Varieties” to discuss the differences in research cultures with international colleagues. You can read more about the talks and discussions in this blog post.

Due to the summer weather, the participants of Thomas Haigh’s workshop “So What Was Artificial Intel-ligence, Anyway” moved to the centre’s garden.

Another workshop took place from 13 to 14 June 2023 in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Haigh with the title “So What Was Artificial Intelligence, Anyway” at c:o/re. In the first part of the workshop, the history and philosophy of AI and digitalisation were discussed, with both the directors and the fellows being able to contribute their own research topics. In the second part of the workshop, Thomas Haigh presented the manuscript for his new book on the history of AI, which was followed by a discussion on the previously very heterogeneous concept of AI and the possibilities of standardising the various AI practices as a brand.

Participants of the conference “Wissenschaften des Konkreten” in the lecture hall.

From 15 to 17 February 2023, c:o/re hosted the international conference “Wissenschaften des Konkreten”, organised by Caroline Torra-Mattenklott, Christiane Frey, Yashar Mohagheghi and Sergej Rickenbacher from the Institute for Germanic and General Literary Studies at RWTH Aachen. The concept of the conference was not only, as the title indicates, inspired by Claude Lévi-Strauss’ concept of the “Science of the Concrete”, but also follows his assumption that the sensual and experimental interaction with the things of the environment is equally the origin of the “wild spirit” as well as of modern science. A summary of the event can be found here.

Together with the Rhine Ruhr Center for Science Communication (RRC), c:o/re directors Gabriele Gramelsberger and Stefan Böschen organised the conference “Nowhere(to)land? What science studies contributes to science communication” from 14 to 16 June 2023 in Bonn. Exciting questions and topics of science communication were discussed, including how the research fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Science Communication Studies could be more closely linked in the future in order to fulfil the special communication requirements of science research results or how social participation in research could be implemented. The lectures and discussions also provided insightful impulses for the science communication at c:o/re.

Participants during Ulrike Felt’s keynote “Infrastructuring circulations: On the tacit governance of contemporary academic knowing spaces”.

From 15 to 17 March 2023, a new format for the interdisciplinary linking of different science research communities was launched for the first time: STS-Hub.de. This format, conceived as a biennial conference with changing hosts, provides an opportunity for networking and exchange for STS researchers from German-speaking countries and a connection between different disciplines and areas of specialization. c:o/re played a leading role in the local organisation. In over 65 individual panels, the approximately 300 participants found space and room for discussion. The overarching conference theme of “Circulations” resonated and was addressed in various topics ranging from experimental democracy and science communication to ethics and art. In addition to traditional panels, there were also innovative formats such as walkshops and fishbowl discussions. The desired non-hierarchical exchange between researchers from different backgrounds was thus promoted and achieved. The conference was framed by two keynotes by Ulrike Felt, short-term fellow at c:o/re in March 2023, on the infrastructurisation of circulation in the field of science and Susann Wagenknecht on leaks in circular infrastructures and markets. You can read more about the conference on our blog here.

“Leonardo” Project
Dr Andrei Korbut discussed Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in his lecture on November 8, which was part of the “Leonardo” module.

This winter semester, c:o/re’s participation in the interdisciplinary courses of the “Leonardo” project continues with the module “Engineering Life: Imaginaries of Lifelikeness” at RWTH Aachen University, which is organised jointly with the fellows. The module is aimed at interested M.A. students from all subject groups who can earn credit points for their degree programme. On this website, you can find more information about the “Leonardo” project.

Summer School
Participants of the International Semiotics Summer School in Prague 2023, gathered in front of the Faculty of Humanities (Charles University).

c:o/re was one of the main organisers of the International Semiotic Summer School in Prague “Visual Metaphors”, which took place from 23 to 28 July 2023 in cooperation with the Palacký University Olomouc and the Charles University. Through various lectures and presentations, the Summer School explored visual metaphors and the epistemological changes brought about by the current technological revolution. 80 students from various European universities took part. In this blog post, RWTH Aachen students wrote about their experiences during the Summer School.

Social Media

On X (formerly Twitter), c:o/re is still very active by announcing events, reporting live from conferences and talks and giving updates on everything that is happening at the centre.

We are still figuring out whether leaving X and using alternatives such as Bluesky is an option. Have you already moved your Social Media activities off X?

Impressions of the c:o/re Instagram account.

Since September 2023, c:o/re is also active on Instagram in order to give some insights into the work happening at the centre in a more tangible and less text-heavy way through photos and videos. We have also just registered with LinkedIn.

You are cordially invited to follow us on our social media accounts.

Video series: c:o/re shorts

We have started a new video series: c:o/re shorts. Get to know our current fellows and gain an impression of their research. In short videos, they introduce themselves, talk about their work at c:o/re, the impact of their research on society and give book recommendations. Take a look at the first two videos:


We would like to thank all the authors who contributed texts to our blog in 2023.
We invite you to read through them:

  1. What makes an ideal robot girlfriend?
  2. The notebook pt. 3: “For 20 years, I haven’t used a pen” – a computer nerd’s confession
  3. Research in Times of War – “Scientific Life Somehow Goes on…”
  4. Research in Times of War – “The War Added One More Factor – the War Itself”
  5. On Aryeh Ludwig Strauss: a German-Hebrew poet from Aachen
  6. Supercharge the real-world impact of Research, Innovation and Enterprise with brand building methodologies
What is coming in 2024?

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research (c:o/re) is offering ten research fellowships for international scholars from the humanities, social sciences or STS as well as from natural, life and technical sciences for the academic year 2024/25. The fellowships can start between June and October 2024. The Call for Applications for 2024/25 is still open until December 31, 2023.

For the beginning of 2024, relationships with the arts will be strengthened with two upcoming collaborations. 

In February 2024, a workshop on “Art, Science, the Public Sphere” in collaboration with the research project “Computer Signals. Art and Biology in the Age of Digital Experimentation II” from Zurich University of the Arts will be held at c:o/re. As part of this, the artist Valentina Vuksic will present an artistic performance on the sonification of data “Listening to Science”, which will be accessible to students and researchers at RWTH but also to citizens of Aachen. 

In April 2024, the experimental conference “Politics of the machines: Lifelikeness & beyond” will take place in Aachen, which seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners from a wide range of fields across the sciences, technology and the arts to develop imaginaries for possibilities that are still to be realized and new ideas of what the contingency of life is. You can find more information about POM on their website.

You can subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with all projects and events happening at c:o/re in 2024.

We are looking forward to everything that awaits c:o/re in the coming year. Stay tuned!