Human BRIDGEs - Human practices
What happens within the iGEM competition that doesn't involve humans?
Very little, is our answer.
Therefore, what has relevance to human practices? Almost everything.
Human practices permeate throughout all aspects of the iGEM competition, from the identities (in the broadest sense) of participants and the teams they are within, to the decisions on project focus and lab work, to the more obvious parts such as ethics.
iGEM is a multidisciplinary experience. This situation lends itself to the encouraging of awareness of other ways of thinking than what one is used to. Through the interaction of people from various disciplines the way in which one starts to perceive what one is doing from another perspective. We have furthered that expansion during our time within the University of Edinburgh iGEM team by questioning how we see things from ethics to themselves as individuals.
Throughout the project, we concentrated our human practices efforts on a number of key elements within iGEM. Firstly, we sought to promote awareness of the fact that human practices permeate throughout almost every aspect of the iGEM competition, from the reasons that people are involved to the results obtained. The bolded terms on the wiki, and the text in the boxes at the side of the page, are indications of this awareness.
Secondly, we stressed the importance of encouraging different ways of thinking, often stimulated through self-reflection. Every time we learnt something new, it was a form of self-reflection even if we were not always aware of it, and the more it was encouraged the more possibilities that were created. This ranged from making it easier to communicate and collaborate with other disciplines or individuals, to being clearer and therefore more confident about making decisions, and even the understanding of others, their points of view, and their cultures. The multidisciplinary nature of iGEM lends itself to these analyses easily.
We also approached a number of other issues, such as that of collaboration versus competition, and how the two are not always mutually inclusive... the tension that may occur when collaboration is enforced on teams competing with one another for prestigious prizes is something that was very interesting to observe and document.
So many insights can be taken from this multidisciplinary, multicultural and global phenomenon that is iGEM if it is approached in the right way. We think differently now, how about you?
Table of Contents
- Investigating perceptions of synthetic biology from outwith the community, and how the discipline is perceived.
- Investigating perceptions of iGEM within the community, and how the competition is perceived.
- Just some of the more interesting conversations we had over the summer.
- An epic tale of how a group of synthetic biologists suddenly turned author.
- Investigating future applications of our project from a human practices point of view.
- A summary of what we achieved through the human practices component of our project.
References used throughout the section.