As the past years have proven, the methods for conducting and distributing research that we’ve inherited from our disciplinary traditions can be remarkably brittle in the face of rapidly changing social and mobility norms. The ways we work and the ways we meet are questions newly opened for practical and theoretical inquiry; we both need to solve real problems in our daily lives and account for the constitutive effects of these solutions on the character of the knowledge we produce. Methods are not neutral tools, and nor are they fixed ones. As such, the work of inventing, repairing, and hacking methods is a necessary, if often underexplored, part of the wider research process.
This conference aims to better interrogate and celebrate such experiments with method. Borrowing from the spirit and circuits of exchange in earlier DIY cultures, it takes the form of a zine ring distributed via postal mail. Participants will craft zines describing methodological experiments and/or how-to guides, which the conference organisers will subsequently mail out to all participants. Feedback on conference proceedings will also proceed through the mail, as well as via an optional Twitter hashtag.
The conference itself is thus an experiment with different temporalities and medialities of research exchange. As a practical benefit, this format guarantees that the experience will be free of Zoom fatigue, timezone difficulties, travel expenses, and visa headaches. More generatively, it may also afford slower thinking, richer aesthetic possibilities, more diverse forms of circulation, and perhaps even some amount of delight. The conference format itself is part of the DIY experiment.