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Research

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Publication details for Professor Felicity Callard

Callard, F., Fitzgerald, D. & Woods, A. (2015). Interdisciplinary collaboration in action: tracking the signal, tracing the noise. Palgrave Communications 1: 15019.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Interdisciplinarity is often framed as an unquestioned good within and beyond the academy, one to be encouraged by funders and research institutions alike. And yet there is little research on how interdisciplinary projects actually work—and do not work—in practice, particularly within and across the social sciences and humanities. This article centres on “Hubbub”, the first interdisciplinary 2-year research residency of The Hub at Wellcome Collection, which is investigating rest and its opposites in neuroscience, mental health, the arts and the everyday. The article describes how Hubbub is tracing, capturing and reflecting on practices of interdisciplinarity across its large, dispersed team of collaborators, who work across the social sciences, humanities, arts, mind and brain sciences, and public engagement. We first describe the distinctiveness of Hubbub (a project designed for a particular space, and one in which the arts are not positioned as simply illustrating or disseminating the research of the scientists), and then outline three techniques Hubbub has developed to map interdisciplinary collaboration in the making: (1) ethnographic analysis; (2) “In the Diary Room”, an aesthetics of collaboration designed to harness and capture affective dynamics within a large, complex project; and (3) the Hubbub Collaboration Questionnaire, which yields quantitative and qualitative data, as well as a social network analysis of collaborators. We conclude by considering some themes that other interdisciplinary projects might draw on for their own logics of tracking and tracing. This article forms part of an ongoing thematic collection dedicated to interdisciplinary research.