Outer Edge: Queer(y)ing STEM Collections


Dr Sophie Gerber, TMW Eleanor Armstrong, UCL


How can the science and technology museum, as a cultural and social institution, explore the opportunities of reflecting and developing a plural society? In what ways are these museums still bound by existing collecting, labeling, and exhibiting practices? How are museum curators, practitioners, scholars grappling with these problems, and what tools, tactics and methods are helping tackling these tasks?

The Technisches Museum Wien instigates the first Vienna workshop on gender and sexuality in STEM collections. As a part of the museum’s “Focus Gender”, this workshop will critically attend to constructions of gendered and/or heteronormative technology and science, and to emphasise the role of the object and material culture in queer and feminist approaches to science and technology studies. This workshop will bring together scholars and practitioners to scaffold actions in museums, and build a network of interested parties.

We invite papers, workshop activity ideas and creative responses that engage with collecting, representations and enacting gender and sexuality in science and technology museums.

Participants might address:
Intersecting marginalizations of gender and/or sexuality in particular with ethnicity, religion, disability, race, nationality in science collections
Collecting diversity in gender and/or sexuality in science museums.
Data quality and fixity around gender and/or sexuality in science collections
Categorization, fixed categories and/or science collections
Language in STEM fields and/or collections
Exhibiting STEM collections in equitable ways
Working groups, publics, and involving ‘outside’ expertise in science museums and collections

We are looking for a diversity of responses, and a range of backgrounds and perspectives. We encourage responses from early career scholars, practitioners, and museum professionals (within 10 years of beginning work in the field); and particularly welcome papers that grapple with material not in English (although the working language of the workshop will be English), and/or science and technology collections from central and eastern Europe. We are also especially interested in proposals that tackle intersections of gender and sexuality with religion, ethnicity, race, or disability.

Participants should note that we can confirm the workshop will be have the following access provisions: Wheelchair accessible, Lift access, non-gendered bathrooms for the day, pronoun badges, guide animals, room for breastfeeding/expressing milk, quiet room (prayer and/or sensory breaks). No capability for hearing loops.
We will also have an anti-discrimination and harassment policy, that all participants will be required to sign up to, and which will be enforced through the workshop. Our priority is to make the workshop accessible; if you have any queries, or if there are other confirmations needed please contact the organisers on gender@tmw.at

Participation is free and we are willing to support participants with possible grant applications. The workshop language is English.

Contact email


Deadline for paper submission


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