Conference Welcome and Introduction

The main part of the 2013 ASC conference was opened and participants welcomed on the morning of Tuesday 30-Jul-2013. Prof. Elias Siores, Provost on Campus of the University of Bolton opened the conference. Further welcome addresses were given by Paul Hollins, Director of Bolton university’s Institute for Educational Cybernetics, Dai Griffith, conference co-organiser and member of the Institute for Educational Cybernetics and Ranulph Glanville, conference co-organizer and president of the American Society for Cybernetics.

Elias Siores

Elias Siores

Conference opening

Conference opening

Paul Hollins

Paul Hollins

Dai Griffith

Dai Griffith

Ranulph Glanville

Ranulph Glanville

The Seaman and the Tattered Sail / Light Folds

For those of you who liked the performance you might enjoy this album that is soon coming out.

The video I showed during my performance can be seen here:

Bill Seaman

1st Advanced Tutorial delivered by Bernard Scott

Bernard Scott Tutorial

Bernard Scott Tutorial

Here is a picture of Bernard Scott delivering the tutorial titled “Cybernetics and Learning”; the first of the two advanced tutorials offered on Monday the 29th of July, besides a beginners’ tutorial.

2013 General Business Meeting held at Bolton University

2013 General Business Meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics

2013 General Business Meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics

2013 General Business Meeting was held in the Deane Board Room at Bolton University in the afternoon of Sunday 28-Jul-2013. During the meeting the President’s report was presented outlining the Society’s activities since last year’s report.

Now a few more questions… about fear and criticality

At least one more question relating to the ”nature of discussion” controversy…

1. What is the fear that sits behind the desire to coerce a particular form of discussion?
2. What is the desire that causes us to wield words like ”contract”?
3. Can a conference programme ever be considered as a ’contract’? How far can you go? What about the abstract of a proposed paper? [I’d be ruined!!]
4. What are the bounds of critique both in cybernetics generally and in this conference?

looking forward to a bloody good argument!


Conference style and paper presentation scheduling

Dear All,

You will have seen the correspondence concerning the prominence of paper presentations in the conference.

Since the announcement of the conference, both the web site and emails have given a consistent picture of the conference, which has three important characteristics. Firstly, this is a conversational conference intended to develop new questions through conversations in groups which come together in plenaries. Secondly, papers and partly formed papers, based on reviewed extended abstracts, are accepted as a valuable counterpoint to the conversation, and are presented where necessary in the evenings. Thirdly, participants are invited to produce full papers after the conference, which are informed by their experience of the event. These papers are subjected to the highest standards of peer review for publication in proceedings.

Recent emails have suggested that this is not the most appropriate format for the conference. We are interested in discussing the role of paper presentations in the conference, but this intervention has come very late, long after the proposed schedule was posted on the site.

We take the published programme as an implied contract. This is reinforced by the expectation of those who have been to other recent ASC conferences, all of which have followed a similar pattern, with positive feedback from participants. Moving the paper presentations to the foreground would undermine the conversational form and the activities that it encourages.

Paper presentations (8 have asked to present) will continue to be on Wednesday evening after dinner (possibly in 2 streams) beginning at 20:00 and ending at 22:00 or 22:30.

We hope this discussion can be used in the ongoing process of developing and improving these conferences, in the wind up and post-conference meeting.

We thank those who raised the topic for offering us this opportunity, and for generating some clear views of difference and future possibility.

Best Wishes,

Ranulph Glanville
Dai Griffiths

Co chairs

Musical Instrument fun with Bungle, Zippy and George

With thanks to Tim Goddard of Bolton for this, but UK delegates might remember to popular TV childrens programme called ’Rainbow’. For US delegates, this was a gentle Sesame-Street style programme. For the actors who played ’Zippy’, ’George’, ’Bungle’, and Geoffrey, years of talking to 5-year olds took its toll: they let off steam by getting together to make this ’spoof’ version about ’plucking twangers’. I’m hoping to hear some twangers next week, and if anybody’s got any maracas…

Lost Art of Listening

A couple of years back we had a conference on listening, which is a key factor in conversation. I got permission for us to use a summary of a wonderful book called ”The Lost Art of Listening” by Michael P Nichols. Here is a url, in case you would like to look at that digest:

I will also see if we can put a pdf somewhere on site: please keep an eye on the News pane.

My questions

Hi everyone,

looks like the conference has started!

There are some questions the paper presentation issue raises for me which I’ll be thinking about next week:

1. Where is the distinction between ’chit-chat’ and ’academic discourse’ as conversation?
2. Where does theory sit in conversation?
3. What is the role of the academy in cybernetics?
4. What matters?
5. How can we be fair to everyone’s expectations? (I think that matters!)

looking forwards to seeing you all next week for what looks like a lively conference!


time for presentations

Dear Ranulph,

The solution of having presentations in a row after dinner (19:30-23:30) seems terrible to me.
I may be too tired to attend.

Dear Dai and Mark: can you please intervene as local organizers? Perhaps, the presentations can be scheduled in parallel on Wednesday during daytime.


PS. I am reconsidering my participation. L.

—–Original Message—–
From: Ranulph Glanville []
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:16 PM
To: Bill Seaman; Jixuan (Jason) Hu; Laurence Richards; Loet Leydesdorff; M.Ramage Ramage; Mgpl Narayana; Philip Baron; Tirumala Vinnakota
Cc: Dai Griffiths
Subject: time for paper presentations

Dear All,

There are 8 who have said they would like to formally present their papers. This means that each will have half an hour.

So everyone has a little more time to present their arguments and develop their themes.

And we can allow a little extra time for dinner on Wednesday, as well (90 minutes was a bit compressed).

It was impossible to determine any of this before we knew how many wanted to make a formal presentation.

Best Wishes, Ranulph=