Forum Index > Participatory Arts and Research > Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Tom Payne 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 928
I thought this conversation was interesting. Instead of interdisciplinary research Mike Pearson suggests something that implies greater sociability... 'hanging out' with people from other disciplines. With this in mind, how might Hydrocitizenship or any project for that matter foster productive 'hanging out'.

Iain Biggs suggests 'fossicking' an Australian term referring to prospecting... 'rummaging'. 

How might we stage 'hanging out' or 'fossicking' or 'rummaging' within and across the case study areas?

I guess this isn't so much a question of how to collaborate, but rather, how it might be possible to create the conditions for collaboration?

Tom Payne 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 928
This article by Iain Biggs is interesting. Some of the conversations we are all having about collaboration have taken place at other times and places so I think it's worth gathering some of these materials together because they could inform our own processes. 

Katherine Jones 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 144
Thanks for drawing attention to this Tom. Enjoyed Iain's paper and the explorations of 'interdisciplinarity'. We were chatting a little before he gave his presentation yesterday about the movement in places like Gronigen (and now Freiburg among others) towards 'transdisciplinary' degrees, in 'Liberal Arts and Sciences'. I visited University College Freiburg last December and they were working on a course that addressed major concerns in the world such as environmental problems and did so by bringing together people from all kinds of disciplinary backgrounds and focusing the studies around problem-solving and creative-thinking. It's a really fascinating model that was developed in Gronigen I believe. I wonder what the potential of this kind of thinking and practice is for our project... can a move 'towards hydrocitizenship' be considered the kind of problem that calls for transdisciplinary thinking and how can we begin to move towards it. Perhaps fossicking is the answer! 
Iain Biggs 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 106
It's obviously very encouraging when people go back to this earlier material and find something of value in it, but it's also fairly odd in that my thinking has moved on and I now wonder whether / how - (if at all) - I should try and signal how my thinking has shifted!
The first thing to say is that I would broadly stand by what I said in this talk - it's a side of things that is all-too-often ignored in HE. A related point I would now stress - as I did at the RGS this year and have just done at Groningen - is that I think that ' 'interdisciplinarity', like 'resilience', is now a 'zombie' term - a dead concept that continues to be animated by forces that have little or nothing to do with its original - empowering - application. 

There is a vast amount of rhetoric - academic and Governmental - about 'interdisciplinary' and some real desire among academics and others to talk to people outside their own disciplinary or professional silos so as to open up a more democratic, horizontal sense of the world as 'poly-verse' rather that a vertically-managed 'mono-verse'. (See the new University College at the University of Groningen as evidence of this). However, behind all this rhetoric are very deeply engrained framings that mean that the power - the realpolik - is still played out through those whose place on government advisory bodies, Funding Council committees, Editorial boards, etc., etc. is predicated on their having climbed the greasy pole of the disciplinary career ladder. All of which ensures that so-called 'inter-disciplinary' research is usually a form of intellectual neo-colonialism by which the disciplines holding the purse-strings can exploit those 'subaltern' disciplines who are seen as out on the periphery of the 'real world' of Big Research. I recently wrote that:

"And behind this is another deeply resilient layer of cultural ‘framing’ that locks us into the mindset of possessive individualism. We are taught that we should each have a separate, exclusive identity and that expressing this is the most important thing we can do. This exclusive notion of identity requires exclusive, mono-ideational explanatory systems to support it. Individually we may choose a professional discipline, or the new eco-scientism, a regional or trade tradition, the economic bottom line, or even fundamentalist religion to support that identity. But in actuality our lifeworlds – like the causes of flooding - are complicated, sometimes unclear, and certainly multi-layered; a shifting, unstable weave of causes and effects; a poly-verse rather than a mono-verse. Mono-ideational explanatory systems are comforting because they support the idea of exclusive identities and reduce cognitive dissonance. They also blind us to the complexity, paradoxes and contradictions of life in a polyverse. A polyverse is the world envisaged by Felix Guattari’s ‘ecosophy’, a world where the “thinking together” of self, society and environment – taken as both discrete and linked dynamic fields – allows us to open to change and risk in relation to a future we can never accurately predict.

The eco-scientism that replaced the techno-scientism of late modernity treats Guattari’s three ecologies as identical rather than both related and distinct. As I tried to make clear last night, the ways of acting embodied in trajectories like ‘deep mapping’ try to evoke the ways in which those three ecologies are interwoven. Evans and Reid have analysed the social consequences of the reductivism of eco-scientism in their Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously. But in a sense they miss the point because our most fundamental problem is one of presuppositions, of deep-seated psychosocial framing. Among other things we have internalised what Barbara Ehrenrich calls the ‘smile or die’ culture of ‘positive thinking’ that helps sustain possessive individualism. Increasingly, our institutions require us to be positive and proactive at all times. So valid criticism becomes ‘personal negativity’, often preventing us from attending to the ideas and experience of others who, through no fault of their own, are caught in negative and disabling circumstances".   

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point!  

Antony Lyons 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 138
Thanks Iain
I think this is very important - and political - provocation.
And has a strong bearing on the Hydrocitizenship exploration.

It's great too that your seminar presentation on Deep Mapping was recorded and is online
(see the forum section - presentations)

Turning over stones...
As it seems to have a little bit of traction here, I'll add a quick note on 'fossicking'.
I like, and use, the term partly because of its stone/rock/'geo' associations, and because it is also about going back to that which was once discarded as waste...and finding something valuable. In this way, it relates to gleaning...and scavenging.
If anyone is interested in digging a bit deeper into its origins, there's a page of assembled info at www.fossicking.org
(you can even read the 1994 Australian Fossicking Act !)
I set up that website a while back to host material for a project linked to Cornish mining and quarrying areas. It looks like that work is finally about to go ahead, so the site will soon be much more than a 'white space', and will be assembled as a 'fossicking space'...

Tom Payne 4 years ago
ActivityRank: 928
Thanks everyone for responding. It would be interesting to see if any other team members have anything to add. I will share the thread next week.

Antony, thanks for the link to fossicking.org. 
Colonel Ajay Ahlawat 11 months ago
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