This research evolved out of a larger Erasmus+ project, Exploring Transdisciplinary Education Combining Arts & Sciences, which examines the many facets of transdisciplinary education. Initially, we somewhat naively planned to design a curriculum; something that might prepare the grounds for transdisciplinary teaching that could be rolled out across European institutions. However, as we hosted different events, conducted interviews, gathered keywords and reviewed various literature, teaching practices, and transdisciplinary education projects already in existence, we realised that transdisciplinary education is profoundly contingent and fluid. These contingencies are manifested in many different ways, for example, in how staff can and cannot avail of institutional support structures, in varying funding models, differing levels of expertise available across campuses, the level (and indeed understanding) of the depth of transdisciplinarity that is desired and achievable, myriad assessment models, and many other variables that cannot be captured in a single document.))
Collaborative teaching, which is what it must always be in such a context, is a journey that moves with, against, through and beyond disciplines and often makes vulnerable if not debunks, hierarchies of knowledge. Transdisciplinary teaching requires care, attentive listening and making subtle adjustments in relation to oneself, others and the infusion of a place, time and situation. Individual and collective aims, desires and viscerality must be accounted for, sensed and heard. It is an all-encompassing act of tuning into the many frequencies, audible and inaudible.
With this in mind, rather than drafting a ‘how-to’ guide or taking a one-size-fits-all approach, this site offers an (imperfect) trace of our research process and its findings. But above all, it is intended as a resource for tuning (verb) transdisciplinary education. While we use the phrase, tuning words, hoping to resist the authoritative and embracing that which must be in movement, we acknowledge the limits of words. Transdisciplinary education is embodied, something experienced when people gather to think, do and make together. Or, as María Puig de la Bellacasa writes, it is care work, requiring attention and fine-tuning to the temporal rhythms of an “other” and to the specific relations that are being woven together.” 1