Planning The Centre of Creative Transdisciplinarity Framework
I am considering the challenges in working with groups of postgraduate researchers, crossing disciplinary boundaries and attempting to forge relationships which will unfold over an extended time frame. One example of a long term transdisciplinary engagement is that of Project Dialogue which was established in 2006 in the former Department of Art & Design at the University of the West of England: 'Working with postgraduate students and early-career researchers to enquire into the underlying communality and differences between the research traditions across the arts and sciences potentially capable of creating hybrid forms of knowledge useful across both communities.'Project Dialogue have also 'generated a curriculum structure and novel teaching material to expose postgraduate arts students to a transdisciplinary teaching team of scientists, philosophers and cultural commentators as well as traditional arts-based academic staff.'
It would seem that I am drawn to the Nicolescuian definition of transdisciplinarity when it comes to creativity, art , spirituality and the artistic potentials of the included middle, however I am then drawn to Gibbons Hischorn and Pohl when it comes to the pedagogical element of my intended practice. Nicolescu described his approach to trandisciplinarity as theoretical and the Zurich approach as phenomenological. (McGregor 2015) .
Both approaches will be fully covered in my literature review.
One of the main challenges I feel I will face is the logistics of group participation. Working with a diverse group in varying locations with different schedules is one of my main concerns. The type of transdisciplinarity I wish to attempt to facilitate within the institution, while requiring the skills and languages that come with any disciplinary knowledge simultaneously require higher skills of communication and collaboration. Further to this through the recommendations of Barbara Hawkins in A Transdisciplinary Approach to Postgraduate Research Education: Challenges
and Strategies and of Hans Dielemen in From Transdisciplinary Theory to Transdisciplinary Practice: Artful Doing in Spaces of Imagination and Experimentation there are key environments which must emerge to enable transdisciplinarity. Dielemen also asserts that although 'artful doing' and/or 'relective action' consists of a series of actions and that these actions 'by no means imply a linear sequence of very well distinguishable steps'. (Dielemen 2012 )
It would seem that in the first instance the group will have to spend considerable time in understanding what exactly transdisciplinarity is, considerable time learning from and about each other and then within a 'third space' these knowledges then become applied within a problematic. This problematic will then become the focus for 'artful doing' within the group, with artful doing and producing being only part of the 'dynamic knowledge loop', which will be articulated throughout the research phases.
The first 'getting to know each other' phase can incorporate face to face as well as digital technology to facilitate extended dialogue. Having recently attended a staff development training course in Adobe Connect I hope to integrate this into phase one, bringing a digital element into the intial process, integrating 'blended learning' tools to see if they can be effectively utilised as a platform which can bring together knowledges from disparate fields which will then be applied in face-to-face settings.
Using blended learning methods may contribute to solving the problems I envisage including getting people in one place without them being clear as to why, or what benefits there might be to them participating. A digital platform may be useful integrating methods such as screencasting, collaborative idea mapping and formation, accessable group notes, presentations and real time group discussions.
The Centre for Creative Transdisciplinarity is only one element of the research I wish to undertake, however it is an important element of my art practice and will be supported not only by the existing theories of disciplinarity/transdisciplinarity, but also by the many discourses on expanded art practices, institutional critique, critical pedagogy, educational development, social sciences and creative psychology with the anticipation that the disciplinary knowledges of participants will also contribute to a uniqueproject which might point to a localised methodology for the implementation of a transdisciplary practice framework.
The Centre for Creative Transdisciplinarity will run in conjunction with the qualitative research I will be undertaking which seeks to understand how artists catagorise their practice as transdisciplinary and how art practices, both nationally and internationally, transverse disciplinary boundaries and perform border work in order to facilitate creative and novel outcomes.