Evidence in Motion: Collecting, Interpreting, Consolidating Evidence

How does does a trace turn into evidence and legal knowledge? The research projects Evidently Rape and Digital DNA follow forensic traces from the crime scene to the courtroom. Join the conference «Evidence in Motion».

The making of evidence to prove crimes in legal proceedings include the use of science. Hence, evidence is co-constituted by science and law. Evidence transforms in its trajectory from the scene of the crime to the courtroom. It experiences changes all the way from the molecular level as represented in collected biological samples to the overall appearance of evidence in court. Through these transitions the meaning of the evidence is shaped and stabilized. While all elements of evidence are under negotiation they consolidate and crystallize as facts over time. These processes are shaped by and shape medical, legal and lay understandings and knowledges, which create legible and legitimate knowledge. 

This conference addresses all these transformations. It is organized along three moments:

  1. The initial translation of acts and traces into knowledge that can be processed further
  2. The interpretations and communications that make evidence assume meaning 
  3. The turn from meaning to facts about the case

The first moment of knowledge production refers to the ways in which forensic science applies different tools and procedures to translate acts and traces into knowledge that can be processed further. Such tools and professional techniques are designed to assemble and stabilize fragments of information. For example, through forensic medical examinations forensic examiners seize traces at the crime site. As traces may degrade over time, forensic examiners bag bodily bits and fluids to conserve the clues that can be used in a future trial. This matter can be used to map bodily movements, connections, and interactions to piece together acts of the past. Forensic tools, then, stand at the beginning of the knowledge chain that seeks to turn acts of the past into future evidence.

A second moment is when forensic knowledge is interpreted and imbued with meaning to gain weight in the criminal justice process. After forensic knowledge has been established, the indicators are presented verbally and figuratively in a report that is communicated across institutional and professional domains. During this journey, different actors interpret traces and forensic knowledge. This is a second instance of knowledge exchange and co-constitution. 

In a third moment these different knowledge fragments are interpreted in the context of the case. This ultimately leads to the establishment of facts that legal adjudication can be based on. How do forensic imaginaries shape scientific and technological developments, institutional practices and defense strategies? What are the translations, communications and professional collaborations that shape evidence? And what will the future journey of evidence look like?

This conference invites contributions to all three moments in the journey of evidence. The conference is organized by the research project "Medical, legal and lay understandings of physical evidence in rape cases" (Evidently Rape) in collaboration with Digital DNA. Evidently Rape bridges medicine, social science and law to explore how evidence is collected, interpreted, translated and communicated by professionals acting on different mandates and understandings of knowledge. Digital DNA studies the changing relationships between DNA, evidence and digital technologies.


Participating in the conference is free, and lunch for both days and conference dinner are included. Non-presenting participants must pay for travels and accommodation themselves.

Programme: November 29th

09:30-09:45 Welcome

Key Notes 1: Tools for Stabilization
Sameena Mulla (Emory College of Arts and Sciences)
Gethin Reese (University of Newcastle)
Moderator: Kari Solbrække (University of Oslo)

11:15-11:45 Break

Chair: May-Len Skilbrei (University of Oslo)
Manuela Aguirre Ulloa (Centre for Design Research)
Alexa Neale (University of Sussex)
Mareile Kaufmann and Maja Vestad (University of Oslo)

12:45-13:30 Lunch

Key Notes 2: Translations of Traces
Niamh NicDaeid (University of Dundee)
Simon Cole (University of California, Irvine)
Moderator: Mareile Kaufmann (University of Oslo)

15:00-15:15 Break

Chair: Anne-Jorunn Berg (Nord University)
Peter Gill (University of Oslo)
Per Hoff-Olsen (Oslo University Hospital)
Solveig Laugerud (University of Oslo)
Emma Yapp (University of London, Birkbeck)

16:30-16:45 Closing
18:00 Dinner

Programme: November 30th


Key Notes 3: Institutional Knowledge Practices
Dana Wilson-Kovacs (University of Exeter)
Carole McCartney (University of Northumbria)
Moderator: Corinna Kruse (Linköping University)

10:30-11:00 Break

Chair: Johanne Yttri Dahl (The Norwegian Police University College)
Anette Houge (University of Oslo)
Nina Amelung (University of Lisbon)
Nina Sunde (Police University College)


Discussion: Facts and Futures
Moderator: Heidi Mork Lomell (University of Oslo)
Peter Gill (University of Oslo)
Gethin Reese (University of Newcastle
Niamh NicDaeid (University of Dundee)
Simon Cole (University of California, Irvine)

12:50-13:00 Closing

About the research projects


The main financier for the conference, "Evidently Rape", is funded by UiO:Life Science.

The conference is also co-financed by the research project "Digital DNA" which is funded by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Grant agreement No. 947681 (ERC Starting Grant 2020).

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Published Sep. 6, 2022 10:20 PM - Last modified Sep. 28, 2022 8:30 PM