Lancaster is small enough to explore on foot and there are regular bus services linking the city with the campus and with the local area, including the Lake District. Lancaster was designated a Cycling Town in 2005 and has a network of linked cycle tracks in the centre and around. The River Lune and the Lancaster Canal run through the centre. Lancaster has numerous historic buildings including the Castle c1150 (a site of witch trials in 1612 and a jail until 2012) and The Priory c1094.The long standing connection with Quakerism is one of the inspirations for the theme of the conference. The Quakers, also known as The Religious Society of Friends, has its roots in 17C England, when small groups of ‘Seekers’ in towns and villages around the country coalesced around the informal leadership of George Fox. Early Quakers rejected professional priests, and held all life and all places to be equally sacred. They met in each other’s homes, and later in purpose-built ‘meeting houses’ where they waited silently for the Holy Spirit to guide them. Lancaster’s Friends Meeting House was built in 1708 and George Fox spent two years imprisoned in Lancaster Castle for his religious and social dissent and his preaching at The Priory.
There are a variety of cultural activities related to science and technology in Lancaster including a Visitor Centre at the nearby Heysham Power Station. STS scholars at Lancaster have long been associated with local activism on technoscientific issues, for example around Cumbrian hill sheep farmers and the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident (1986), the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease (2001) and currently in relation to contestations over fracking.
Lancaster has a wealth of restaurants and public houses, many in picturesque locations such as the canal side. There is also an award winning local brewery and a thriving shopping scene, with many independent shops. The bustling Charter Market is in the city’s historic centre every Wednesday and Saturday, and the Assembly Rooms is worth a visit to browse the eclectic mix of stalls selling vintage, period and retro clothing, comic books, art and memorabilia.