On first appearance, Inter-Disciplinary.Net can look like a maze of projects, publications, things called ‘Hubs’ and a million-and-one apparently unreleated meetings and events. This section will hopefully shine some light on how we work and help you find your way round the web site.
There are 3 levels which determine how Inter-Disciplinary.Net works.
Level 1: Domains
The basic structure of all our activities is organised around three ‘domains’: At the Interface, Probing the Boundaries, and Critical Issues. The domains are organising tools: they determine and affect the projects we run, the ways in which they are clustered into Hubs, their underlying philosophy and their possible developments. Their major premises are flexibility and the ability to interact with one another.As domains their purpose is to provide a structured place and a coherent space for research interests and activities that are bounded together by a common direction, philosophy or sets of interrelated themes. There are three domains:
At the Interface
The purpose of this domain is to create working encounter groups among people coming from differing disciplines, professions, business and vocations. The underlying philosophy of the domain is a focus on methodology.Projects within the domain are designed to tackle large research areas and to map the terrain with the aim of showing where interdisciplinary work can be undertaken and to provide a point of interconnection between differing methodologies. The domain’s projects are a means by which people from varied backgrounds and contexts can interact and begin to create a common terrain for further exploration.
Probing the Boundaries
The purpose of this domain is to explore the single question – what does it mean to be human?The underlying base philosophy of the domain is a concern with reflective practice. Projects within the domain blend disciplinary, theoretical and professional practices in order to surmount research boundaries, plot areas for collaborative exploration and draw upon existing knowledge bases in order to inform future research while at the same time illuminating the past.
The purpose of this domain is to grapple with contemporary issues. The underlying base philosophy of the domain is a concern with critical analysis. Projects within the domain are designed to examine accepted practices and traditions, question received wisdom, engage with complex issues which dominate current thinking and to sign-post the opportunities for interdisciplinary modelling in addressing such issues.
Level 2: Hubs
The Hub system works from inside each of the Domains. The Hubs are designed to bring into focus the project-based nature of Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s work; that is to say, the Hub system underscores the fact that the annual project meetings or conferences take place in a much wider context of an on-going set of complementary and supporting activities.
Theer are nine Hubs. Each Hub is a focal point of a set of activities. A Hub also allows connections to be made: you can literally ‘plug in’ to projects and activities within the hub, and do so to any extent you wish. Hubs are also gateways; they will allow for exchange and flow of information, resources and ideas. If you plug in to a Hub dealing, for example, with Transformations, you will also be able to access pathways that lead naturally to any of the other Hubs.
Hubs comprise different levels of activity that are associated with projects which appear within them. Each hub is home to no less than four and no more than 10 projects. The projects will have annual meetings and will be supported by a range of Hub activities: Discussion groups, reading groups, an eForum, a Resource Net, a Collaborative Centre, targeted publications, and a journal. The journal will have a symbiotic relationship to the work that goes on within the elements of the Hub. These activities help form and elaborate the identity of each Hub.
Each Hub has at least one and sometimes 2 Hub Leaders who oversee the coordination and evolution of the Hub and the projects within the Hub.
Level 3: Projects
All projects will exist within a Hub. Some projects may appear in more than one Hub – thereby creating some fascinating possibilities and ensuring the interrelatedness of the Hubs. The projects are collaborative enterprises, designed for the purposes of undertaking research, and conducted in order to achieve a set of stated aims. By nature, a project is thus
a) a set of processes focused on an annual meeting and drawing on the resources of the Hub, and which
b) is designed to achieve a set of general and/or specific purposes, and consequently
c) contains within itself the seeds for the future development of either the project itself or the natural replacement of itself with a new project as part of its evolution.
In other words, a project has a life-cycle. It can either become a mini-hub of its own, generating a set of related spin-off projects and activities; or it can be a phase within a set of wider activities which ends as it fulfils its usefulness within that purpose.
Each project has a Steering Group which assist the Hub Leader(s) in growing and evolving the project and the Hub. We are always interested in people joining our Steering groups. If you come along to one of our project meetings, become bitten by the interdisciplinary bug and which to be more ‘hands on’ in wanting to shape and direct the future of a project, we are always on the look out for people to join up.
This will hopefully help you understand how we work; the next section deals with the core principles which shape the way in which we work.