Light bulb on a beach XEROX Star computer Mobile phone mast, Wideford Hill, Orkney Mobile phone, submerged in a lake Typewriter used in Hungary

Relocating Innovation: Places and material practices of future-making


This project reconceptualises innovation through a comparative analysis of three differently located sites of social, technological and political change and invention: an internationally recognised centre of technology research and development in Silicon Valley, California; small scale high-tech industry on the remote archipelago of Orkney, Scotland; and the symbolic centre of democratic politics in Hungary.

The project is designed to re-examine received assumptions regarding what counts as innovation and where it happens, by emphasising its bases in particular places and culturally specific practices. Along with its substantive findings, the project will advance interdisciplinary methods involving a synthesis of anthropological, sociological and sociohistorical approaches.


Please note that this project has now ended. We will be announcing future publications via our individual web pages.

18/03/10 OrkneyLab draft chapter available to download

Chapter on 'OrkneyLab' written for a Tim Ingold and Monica Janowski edited volume now available to download.

6/11/09 Future Archaeologies paper available

Keynote given by Laura Watts on 'Future Archaeologies' is now available. [download paper]

9/10/09 Orkney Futures handbook review

Howie Firth says, 'I'm sure this slim book is one of the most important to be published in Orkney for a long time' [read full review]

6/10/09 Orkney Futures toolkit now available

Following the OrkneyLab futures workshop, we have created an Orkney futures toolkit using Prezi. [Download the toolkit]

'Orkney Futures: A Handbook' now available to buy online

The edited collection of 49 imagined futures for Orkney is now available to buy online from The Orcadian Bookshop... read more. [Visit bookshop]

Events in Orkney, September 2009

A series of events featuring the Relocating Innovation team are happening in Orkney during September 2009: Public Talk at the Orkney International Science Festival by Laura Watts. OrkneyLab: The Futures Workshop with Lucy Suchman, Endre Danyi, and Laura Watts. 'EQUINOX: An Evening For Orkney Futures'. The launch event for the booklet, 'Orkney Futures: A Handbook' edited with Alistair Peebles of Brae Projects, Stromness.

Comment on the project blog

Following the wealth of ideas and conversation begun at the project workshop at MIT in May, we have opened a Blog to continue the discussion. Please post your comments on the project...

Download the project postcards

Drawing on our 3 case studies we have developed a set of 35 themed postcards. How do the ideas, images, and ethnographic and archival moments connect or disconnect with your own work? Download the postcards here, and then comment on the blog.

Download paper 'OrkneyLab' from ASA09

Paper presented by Laura Watts at ASA09, University of Bristol, can now be downloaded here.

This is a research project based at Centre for Science Studies, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YT, United Kingdom. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust. Please contact us at