|Alice, Jan Peter and Dirk|
Even though our own climate-related disciplines may seem far away from the Social Sciences realm, we had great interactions with the other participants and this proved to be a very interesting day. We all definitely got something useful out of it!
A multidisciplinary approach
"The collaboration between us and other scientists consists of social interactions and we want these cooperations to be as rewarding as possible for both parties. A great aspect of this conference was the major focus given to the benefits that collaboration and dialogue can bring to research in every discipline. Professor Hugh Lauder (University of Bath) and Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol) also found the time to actively participate in the meeting and they gave two inspiring keynote speeches. The first keynote focused on the deveopment of graduate wages in the context of a high unemployment rate. This structural problem will continue to concern future generations unless an efficient solution can be found. The second keynote dealt with the perception of climate change in the general public. Despite the general consensus among scientists on the evidence that climate change is happening, how can this still be widely perceived to be a hoax in some parts of public life?" --- Jan Peter
Interaction and discussion
"The day set the scene well for interaction and discussion on three levels. (1) Each of the student presentations were actively put into perspective by the keynote speakers and the audience. (2) The poster display allowed time for more in depth discussion. (3) Personal experiences could be shared over coffee, lunch or evening drinks, but were, further, successfully enforced in the so called “fish bowl” discussions. During these, the participants sit around an inner circle, in which the discussion takes place. All members can drop in and out of that inner circle, depending on whether they want to contribute to the current discussion topic or not. This gave the opportunity for almost the whole audience to be involved, but in a very casual environment". --- Dirk
Make it happen!
"Most people seemed intrigued by how the interaction between the three of us (and the rest of the project) happens and one of the main questions that was raised was “Do we need facilitators to make these collaborations happen and how do we find the time to make them work?”. These and other aspects were also tackled during some final Skills Workshops. Representatives of the Career and Graduate Development at the University of Bath reminded us of the importance of keeping an open mind during the PhD, be ready for whatever gets thrown at us, and find a way to turn that into what we want it to be. This was defined as “Planned happenstance”, which on our side involves five main steps: curiosity, persistence, flexibility, optimism, and risk taking". --- Alice
A common language
The importance of pushing these interdisciplinary boundaries is of key relevance in the context of collaboration between the social and natural sciences, which need each other to convey their respective messages to the society.
From the conference twitter feed:
Everything from how the dead live to how the sea got salty at the amazing #SWDTCconf poster display!So maybe we didn’t crash this conference after all?
— SWDTC (@SWDTC) November 5, 2014
This blog is written by Alice Marzocchi (School of Geographical Sciences), Jan Peter Mayser (School of Chemistry), Cabot Institute, University of Bristol and Dirk Simon, visiting from Utrecht University.
|Jan Peter Mayser|