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Transdisciplinarity – then and now. Reflections on transformations and transformative potentials of TD. 
Esther Blokbergen (Athena Institute)
Sarju Sing Rai (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Marjolein Zweekhorst (VU university)
Hussein Zeidan (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
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Format :
Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Our panel, led by members of VU’s Athena Institute, invites scholars engaging in transdisciplinary research and education to share their thoughts and experience on the historical evolution, contemporary challenges, and transformative potentials of transdisciplinarity, in the Netherlands and abroad.

Long Abstract:

As transdisciplinarity (TD) becomes something of a “buzzword” in academic and professional circles, we wish to collectively reflect on TD’s original mission and development. How does the goal of creating new knowledge by transcending disciplinary silos and integrating perspectives from across scientific, academic, and societal boundaries, face up to today’s pressing “wicked problems”? Bringing together senior and junior scholars in open conversation, we aim to stimulate personal and practical reflections and insights from the field, and strategize on fruitful alliances with STS, as a research endeavor which shares TD’s transformative mission.

To reflect the hybridity and diversity of TD as research and practice, we welcome the active participation of researchers, practitioners and educators in all dimensions where TD is explicitly pursued – (global) health, sustainability, education, and policy-making, and of course STS. The VU’s Athena Institute will chair three different sessions, which are as follow.

- Seed paper discussion panel: foundational/seminal text(s) of TD will be circulated in advance to guide a discussion by the selected panelists about the origins, mission and evolution of TD.

- An open dialogue session will bring senior and emerging scholars into deeper conversation and exchange. Questions from the audience can be posed in oral or (depending on attendee numbers) digital format (e.g. Mentimeter); a wordcloud will be produced in real time with the discussion.

- A split workshop session will process the insights from the first two sessions, allowing participants to contribute further to the discussion, and derive practical and inspirational input for their future work. One workshop can be dedicated to questions relating to TD research, the other (in parallel) to education, depending on participants’ interests.

Submissions for participation: contribution title/short description (300 words), and a brief abstract, (optionally) including one seed paper suggestion (300 words max.)