News & Other Events



Master of Science in Society profiled in Victorious

The Master of Science in Society has been profiled in the Spring 2019 issue of Victorious magazine. Victorious keeps friends and alumni of VUW abreast of new research and course offerings across the University.

The article features Associate Professor Rebecca Priestley reflecting on how the Masters of Science in Society came about, and what it offers the range of students who enrol each year.

“Most people who do a science degree don’t go on to be research scientists, but many still work in the science sector. The Master’s can give them a broader context for their degree and make them more aware of the relationship between science and wider society.”

As the article states, the Master of Science in Society gives students the confidence and expertise to move across essential disciplinary positions in order to gain greater insight into the key scientific challenges of our time. Our Masters students work across the natural and social sciences, history and the humanities, and learn to communicate complex information in diverse and engaging ways.

Enrolments for the Master of Science in Society are open now.

Past events

Nayantara Sheoran Appleton gives NZ Association of Scientists keynote

This week Nayantara Sheoran Appleton gave the keynote lecture at the New Zealand Association of Scientists Annual meeting. The conference theme was ‘Changing the Culture of Science’. Based on her widely shared blog post, Do not ‘decolonize’… if you are not decolonizing, her keynote addressed what decolonization in science might look like. These are ideas that Nayantara continues to develop in her current research on reproductive health and justice in Aotearoa and India.


CSIS Academic Showcase

On Thursday 24 October, we will be showcasing the research underway in the Centre for Science in Society. Each of the CSIS faculty will give a short presentation of their research projects and foci, and will be available to chat about these at a reception afterwards.

Our research spans the anthropology of medical and environmental science, science and gender, the history of Antarctic and New Zealand science and of ecological change, the aesthetics (art and narrative) of science, mātauranga Māori including maramataka, science communication and science writing. Regionally, we work across China, India, Antarctica, the United Kingdom and, of course, Aotearoa and the Pacific.

As we are a relatively new group and since our research is so interdisciplinary, we hope that this event will provide an opportunity to meet colleagues with common interests from across the University. If you are interested in learning about what we do, developing new collaborations or potential co-supervisions, we would love to meet you. Students who may be interested in pursuing graduate studies with us are also very welcome. This is a great, low-key way to meet potential supervisors and sound out project ideas that interest you.

Come along, hear about what we do and please join us for a drink afterwards!


Cafe Scientifique, October 7

The last Cafe Scientifique for 2019 was held this Monday, October 9. The Centre for Science in Society runs the Wellington Cafe Scientifique, proudly supported by the Wellington Branch of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Check out our facebook page or our local cafe page for more information.

Cafe Scientifique Monday September 9.

See the eventfinda page.


Lunchtime Talk at Adam Art Gallery: Rebecca Priestley, ‘Illustrating precarity’

Friday September 6, 12pm.

From Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi:

“Our second lunchtime talk in association with our current exhibitions is by science writer Rebecca Priestley. Priestly brings her knowledge of the history of Antarctica to bear on Joyce Campbell’s 2006 series Last Light. Like Campbell, Priestly has spent time in time in Antarctica and shares her interest in the early romantic visions projected onto the continent.

As a creative non-fiction writer working in the space between art and science, Priestley believes art can play a role in conveying information about the ecological threats posed by climate change to lay people. She explores how creative writing and image making might circumvent the specialist language found in academic journals to connect with the reality that we all are implicated in deciding the fate of the planet.

Rebecca Priestley is Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Science in Society, where she teaches courses on the social, political, and historic context of current Antarctic research. With over twenty years of science communications experience, Priestley received the Prime Minister’s Science Communicator’s prize in 2016. Her most recent publication, Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica (VUP, 2019) is a personal response to her three visits to the continent. Prior to that Priestley authored Mad on Radium (AUP, 2012) and edited collections of New Zealand and Antarctic science writing, including Dispatches from Continent Seven: An Anthology of Antarctic Science (Awa Press, 2016).”


From Zealandia:

‘What Matariki and Maramataka can tell us about Climate Change’ with Pauline Harris

Matariki is a time rich with custom and tradition but also has much to tell us about our changing world today. Māori understand that changes to the environment and ecology at this time may be due to climate change. Join astrophysicist Dr Pauline Harris, of Victoria University of Wellington, as she unpacks Matariki and maramataka – the Māori traditional calendar.

What can Māori knowledge and science add to our understanding of how to predict and mitigate climate change?

Part of ZEALANDIA’s 2019 Matariki programme on Monday 1st July at 6.30pm.

Click here to register.

Also see our blog post about Pauline’s upcoming talks.


From City Gallery Wellington:

Rebecca Priestley is part of a panel on ‘Contemporary Feminism: Art and/or Science’

City Gallery and RNZ are back with a third series of lively panel discussions exploring Contemporary Feminism, inspired by our current exhibitions. Presented in partnership with RNZ and recorded for broadcast.

Science and art often seem to develop in separate silos, but many thinkers and creators are inspired by both, actively ensuring they converge in their professional practice. Do the similarities between how artists and scientists work outweigh their stereotypical differences? Do left-brain/right-brain theories hold any current relevance? Are science and art more compatible and interlocked than we realise—should STEM be STEAM?

In this panel, chaired by Kim Hill, we hear from women who have debunked the myth that you have to choose between being scientifically or creatively minded—while also challenging occupational pigeonholes by establishing their place in historically male-dominated fields.

Panelists include Siouxsie Wiles, Rebecca Priestley (from the Centre for Science in Society) and Huhana Smith.

In association with Semiconductor: The Technological Sublime.

Doors open 5.30pm. Cash bar open until 6pm and again after the panel discussion to continue the conversation.

Book now

The Contemporary Feminism: Sons of Feminism panel takes place on Tuesday 2 July, 6pm.


The first Cafe Scientifique for 2019 was in early May, see our blog post.