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ICI Organized an In-Class Negotiation Theater: The Dilemma of Building Off-Shore Wind Power Farm in Taiwan

Date : 2022-01-19 Department : International College of Innovation
【Article by International College of Innovation】
In 2020, the International College of Innovation, partnering with Taiwan STS Association and five other educational research institutes, introduced Negotiation Theater to the public in the Taipei Fine Art Museum Biennial. This semester, Prof. Chih -Yuan Yang from ICI reintroduced the Negotiation Theater, as an innovative pedagogical method, into the course “Technoscience, Society & Culture,” under the theme “To Go or to Stay: The Dilemma of Building Off-Shore Wind Power Farm in Taiwan.” And the theater was co-organized by art director Eva Lin from Mt.Project, wdp Organization, and Ping-Jung Chen, the director from Jung’s Theater.

Negotiation Theaters value the concept of “political and diplomatic tactics.” Following the methodology designed by the Taiwan Science, Technology and Society Association, the actors in the theaters study, research, document, and reevaluate the hyper-interactive relationships between scientific/technological knowledge and the society. The existence of technocracy and the need for political consultation to look into the social meaning of technology are stressed in the theaters. Examples are like how environmental impact assessment is conducted, and reconsidering fisherman rights within coexistence plan. Apart from criticism, in Negotiation Theater, there is a necessity for standardizing and systemizing the negotiation processes, which involves techniques and experts from different professions, and an understanding of the local political context. And the complex structure requires criticisms and advices to be given accordingly. The goal is to provide laboratory-like space for trial and error and a platform for public discourse, in other words, to open the black boxes of technology/politics that usually appears esoteric to common men, and to invite broader participation from the public.

Being a pedagogical model that imparts hands-on experiences and insights into the complexity of real-world cases, Negotiation Theaters allow participants to understand the stakeholders’ dilemmas and conflicts, and the fact that compromise is sometimes needed for the negotiations to proceed. By innovating theater, increasing interests in learning, and spreading information, the Negotiation Theater serves as a good medium to attract attention. The main goal of Negotiation Theaters is to train students’ skills in performing, debating, and negotiating within the context of controversial issues related to technology development, and to learn how to understand the meanings behind controversies and finding acceptable temporary solutions. This is a theater that will live on in the real world and aims to negotiate out a political vision that we all want.
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