First Edition: Intensive Study Workshop

A Two-day Online Seminar on Transdisciplinary Teaching was held on April 22 & 23, 2021

How can different disciplines work together to exchange knowledge and promote emergent transdisciplinary ways of thinking and practising? This two-day seminar brought together teachers from various disciplines to share experiences, methodologies, and practices which foster transdisciplinary learning. It explored the conditions that make transdisciplinary education possible, the skills and approaches necessary, the challenges faced by teachers and students, and the immense potentiality of working across disciplines on shared research projects.

Sessions & Contributors:

Boundary Work: The Score: Dr. Josué Amador

Collaborations between the arts and sciences explore, challenge, sidestep, and transgress boundaries. Such boundaries demarcate a dynamic, shared space of exchange and negotiation within which we can move and compose with the different material, social, and conceptual concerns of disciplines, techniques, and methods. In practice-led workshops, we have introduced and experimented with “boundary work” through the compositional modes of verbal notation and scoring. We see scoring as a way to collaboratively develop proposals and actions within transdisciplinary art and design education, as well as a way to gain perspective on some of the ecological, social, and cultural challenges we face in the present and future.

I also believe that transdisciplinary settings for teaching or learning involve notions of indeterminacy and improvisation.

Dr. Josué Amador is a Mexican musician who did his doctoral studies in Poland and currently teaches at Codarts. More can be read here. 

Dr. Vivian Sky Rehberg is an art historian, curator and writer for Frieze. Read more about Vivian Sky Rehberg here. 

Sound, Collectivity and Aimlessness: The productive effects of process-oriented collaborations: Sonia de Jager and Martina Raponi

Sonia de Jager and Martina Raponi talked about their proposal for a research cluster within RASL.

The aim of the research is to generate strategies for active spectatorship and to think about innovative ways in which to mobilize music in new sociopolitical directions, as well as produce as results meaningful exchanges between experts and audiences with different backgrounds and with different relationships with sound and music (e.g. including people from the Deaf spectrum in the context of the sonic; treating collective intentionality as an avenue towards new knowledge; working with experts ranging from neuropsychology to physiotherapy). The research wing attempts to inspire new musical directions; bridge social dialogues; challenge the confines of politics and musicology and develop stronger motivations and ways to take social action.

Sonia de Jager (Argentina) is a PhD researcher in AI at ESPhil, a tutor at the WDKA and a member of NRU.

Martina Raponi (Italy) is a writer and artist researching noise and complexity; she holds a Bachelor in Humanities (University of Padua, Italy), a Master in Art Mediation (Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, Italy) and a Master in Fine Arts (Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, Netherlands). Together with artist [M] Dudeck, Martina founded the Ansible Institute, a transitory speculative fiction laboratory. She is an art theory tutor at the Willem de Kooning Academy and member of NRU. She is working on her second book UNHEARD.

Sonia and I are very interested in how to embrace confusion, to embrace awkwardness, and how to build together through the awkwardness a shared space.

The MA in Transdisciplinary Studies at Zurich University of the Art: Prof Irene Vögeli

The MA programme links various disciplines in the arts and design, the sciences and everyday life. It enables students to work in cooperative constellations and develop new and interdisciplinary methods and formats using critical and reflective approaches.


Read more about the MA Transdisciplinary Studies

We not only wanted to integrate artists but students from other backgrounds.

Annex: The Anatomy of a Transdisciplinary Research Project: David Capener


While transdisciplinary research can provide methods that provide insights into the wicked problems of contemporary situations, the process of negotiation between disciplines to achieve successful outcomes needs special attention.

Annex is a collective of architects, artists, and urbanists with independent research and teaching practices who will represent Ireland at the 17th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2021 with an exhibition entitled Entanglement that examines architecture and data assemblages, exploring how design can meaningfully respond to the impact of data infrastructures and networked technologies, the ways by which they are imagined, the spaces they create, and the ways they connect to our habits and desires.

The session examined how six individual and very different practices came together to produce transdisciplinary insight into the wicked problems of data infrastructure and climate change.

Annex members and TU Dublin researcher David Capener presented the project.

Read more about Annex. 

David Capener is a theorist, educator, writer, architect and designer. He is a founding member of Annex an international research and design collective of architects, artists and researchers who will represent Ireland at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021 
More on David Capener.

This project has a number of access points for different disciplines, and perhaps that is the product of being a transdisciplinary project.

Where is the Internet? Dr. Paul O’Neill

There was also an intervention by Dr. Paul O’Neill, an artist and researcher whose practice includes guided tours of the physical infrastructure of the internet in Dublin.

Paul O’Neill’s research focuses on tactical media, media archaeology and hacktivism. Read more about his guided tour of Dublin’s Physical Internet Infrastructure.

 Interactive Participant Workshop using Mural: facilitated by Sinéad McDonald

On the second day of the event, participants worked with keywords generated by the series of interviews, generating a new iteration of thematically clustered texts. Here you can explore how guests and facilitators mapped interrelational densities. You can view and navigate the results below. This work steered the research for the group and went on to populate the second intensive study workshop held in Dublin in May 2022.

I think we need to qualify what is meant by failure because it doesn't necessarily mean that you fail in an academic sense. There are many ways of assessing projects that put less emphasis on the final outcome.

If you see education as research, it's not predictable how it will turn out beforehand.

This idea of time-making is really key.

Renée Turner in conversation with 
Sami Hammana about the RASL Minor

Sami Hammana discussed the RASL Minor, the preparatory work done to initiate it, and how tutors, in tandem with students, navigated the perils and pleasures of transdisciplinary learning. The Rotterdam Arts and Sciences Lab (RASL) offers the minor ‘Re-Imagining Tomorrow through Arts & Sciences’ – an innovative educational programme across disciplines that disrupts existing structures, approaches, and ways of thinking. Students work in transdisciplinary teams across arts and sciences to re-imagine a self-selected complex societal problem framed by notions of collaboration, equality of knowledge, and engagement.

Sami Hammana holds a BA Honours in Product Design from the Willem de Kooning Academie and a MA with distinction in Research Architecture at the Department of Visual Cultures Goldsmiths University of London. Sami has been teaching in and coordinating the Honours Programme at the Willem de Kooning Academie since 2019. More about Sami Hammana’s work can be found here.