In our daily work as researchers and lecturers we are often confronted with the need to account for our activities and prove our ‘excellence’. Increasingly, measures and criteria have been put into place that do necessarily reflect our daily realities, let alone the reasons why we got involved in science in the first place.
We therefore decided to organize the 2019 CSPS Day around the theme of ‘Values in Science’. The aim of the day was: to meet and connect through an open and meaningful dialogue about what scientific quality entails for us and how we can translate that dialogue into a practical strategy for CSPS.
The day was inspired by two recent happenings. One is the farewell speech of Henk Molenaar of NWO in which he suggested to get rid of ‘excellence’ as a criteria for quality of research. Instead he proposed four alternative criteria: wonder, beauty, meaning, and value creation. The other is the fact that Ghent University has recently stated that they no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people and the intense competition and want to become a place where “talent feels valued and nurtured”. Along these lines we wanted to explore our underlying values and what scientific quality means for us as members of CSPS.
The day turned out to be vibrant, engaging and nurturing. Moving swiftly through a full programme of creative activities, CSPS members got to know each other, explored their values and generated valuable insight and inspiration for what we can do today, tomorrow, and in the long term. Topics that were discussed included:
- Creating Shared Spaces (physical, mental, social, or otherwise)
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Mental health and well being
- Experimenting and training in new methods, visual and otherwise
- CSPS Artist in Residence
- Creating Support Networks
- Convivial Gatherings
- CSPS Mentorship Program
- Public Debate and Engagement
Stand-up musician Bart Kiers summarized all this hard work in two amazing songs, that spoke to our hearts and generated a lot of laughter!
The coming year will work on bringing these ideas further. What we ultimately want is a CSPS that is our hub, the place that will support us all in our journeys, and the place where we all feel at home.