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Durham University

Ustinov College

Our Theme

The Ustinov Annual Conference

“What makes interdisciplinarity work?

Crossing academic boundaries in real life”

Ustinov College, Durham University, United Kingdom

Friday and Saturday 10–11 July 2015


Interdisciplinary collaboration is not confined to the academic world: it is embedded in the fabric of everyday experiences. Therefore, the conference placed a particular emphasis on the practical aspects of interdisciplinarity, whether they stem from extensive analyses of the literature or come from a single case study (which may be a ‘success story’ or even a ‘lesson learned’).



Dimensions of interdisciplinary work that were considered included:

  • Identifying and evaluating boundaries in research: Are they points of contact, demarcations or limitations?
  • Working at the edge of your field: How do practitioners learn to engage productively with other disciplinary areas?
  • Methodological issues: How can different scientific approaches be combined successfully, while preserving their individual contributions and without affecting their validity?
  • Epistemological issues: How can theoretical frameworks from distinct and distant fields be understood in unity?
  • Scholarship issues: How can consistency be ensured when findings are published in a range of widely differing scholarly journals?
  • Social, administrative and practical issues: Where should funding be sought and by whom? What are the day-to-day problems of being involved in a large collaborative project? How can interdisciplinary projects be developed and managed effectively?