14 October 2015
Rethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social Sciences and Neurosciences is a landmark open access publication from Palgrave Macmillan, co-authored by Felicity Callard (Durham University) and Des Fitzgerald (Cardiff University), that addresses key questions and challenges for those working across many and varied disciplines.
Drawing on their own experiences of conducting research on a large scale across the fields of social science and neuroscience, Callard and Fitzgerald create a frank, candid account of the contemporary interdisciplinary scene. Written entirely from The Hub at Wellcome Collection, a flagship interdisciplinary research space in London, Rethinking Interdisciplinarity considers what it is like to actually carry out this kind of research at the start of the twenty-first century.
Des Fitzgerald, sociologist at Cardiff University and one of the co-authors, said: “‘Interdisciplinarity’ is all the rage these days – from research organisations, to think tanks, to civil society groups, everyone seems keen to break down disciplinary boundaries. Whether we are thinking about healthy cities, educational attainment, or ageing – so many contemporary issues seem to require perspectives that are not only biological, but social too.
“But what does ‘interdisciplinarity’ actually mean, and how does it help or hinder the research process We are thrilled to not only be in the unique position of being able to work from The Hub at Wellcome Collection, but to be able to really explore, in this publication, what it means to carry out interdisciplinary research in the here-and-now of daily practice.”
The launch of Rethinking Interdisciplinarity coincides with the first anniversary of Callard and Fitzgerald’s residency in The Hub, a dynamic working space in the heart of the Wellcome Trust’s free public venue, Wellcome Collection. Directed by Callard, both are part of international research collective, Hubbub, the first recipients of the Hub Award, who are carrying out a large-scale research project around the health impacts of busy-ness and rest.
As inaugural residents of The Hub at Wellcome Collection, Hubbub has seen over 50 collaborators from across the social and biomedical sciences, the arts and the humanities, as well as broadcasters, clinicians and public engagement professionals, coming together to explore what it means to seek and find activity, work and rest. Over the course of this first year, Hubbub collaborators have explored the phenomenon of mindwandering; taken over the entirety of Wellcome Collection for a spectacular evening Late event; customised self-tracking devices to generate new ways of mapping the movement and moods of city-based participants; and analysed the re-framing of unemployment in the context of health, rest and workfare.
Felicity Callard, Director of Hubbub and Reader in Social Science for Medical Humanities, Durham University says: “Everyone seems to be talking about interdisciplinarity, but it’s far from clear how many are actually doing it, and, if so, to what effect. Accounts of what interdisciplinary projects are like in practice are still relatively few in number, and most people are still reticent about the experiences that characterise them. This book is, in many ways, a ‘report from the field’ on interdisciplinary research.”
The book is published in the Palgrave Pivot format, which is usually between 30-50,000 words (mid way between the traditional lengths for journal articles and monographs), and is available primarily as an ebook with print copies available on demand. Published using an open access model, made possible by the Wellcome Trust, it is available for free via a CC BY license and can be easily shared.
“This book is for anyone who has been urged to do something in an interdisciplinary way… and who has wondered, exactly, what this word ‘interdisciplinary’ entails. It is for anyone who has already been involved in an interdisciplinary project – who has experienced some unexpected bumps in the road, and who has been wondering how to understand those bumps, and work around them in the future. And it is for anyone, from any background, and at whatever career stage, who has some inkling that there is a perspective from another discipline that might really open one of their own projects, but who has no idea how to do something with a colleague from that discipline, and even less idea of what such a collaboration might actually look like.” – Rethinking Interdisciplinarity.
Credit: Wellcome Images
Notes to editors
About Palgrave Macmillan
About Durham University
About Cardiff University
Cardiff University recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems.
Source: Wellcome Press Release