Each component in the life of this research has been carefully considered so that the learnings of the previous stage become the basis of the next. In this way, over the course of 3 years the researchers below have been able to filter and distill the information, literature, scholarship, and experience so as to enrich the project’s findings. Here we identify each of the 6 stages of the work, as well as links to their analyses and expositions.

Image of Conor McGarrigle
Dr. Conor McGarrigle
Joost De Raeymaecker
Dr. Jye O'Sullivan
Renée Turner
Image of Sinead McDonald
Sinéad McDonald

1. Individual/team research & interviews

Our research began with the team conducting an extensive review of relevant literature, educational models and practices that are accessible in the resources section of the site. It was agreed that experience would be the primary driver of the work, and the team sought out expertise in ongoing transdisciplinary pedagogical projects. Extended interviews were then carried out with members of each of the participating member organisations as well as external experts. 
These interviews were then analysed for keywords, based on their frequency, their appearance in the literature, and their intra-connectedness with other words. This analysis was carried out by the researchers, and also by employing artificial intelligence to parse the texts (you can read more about this process on the graph page). This extended list of keywords can also be explored in the entanglements section of this site, and they formed the basis for the next stage of the research.
Graphcommons tracing of the intra-actions of keywords. Click to explore in a new tab

2. Online workshop

This intensive study workshop took place online, April 21-22 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It brought together teachers and practitioners from various disciplines to share experiences, methodologies, and practices. A full list of contributors as well as comprehensive videos of the event are available on this site.

The event also included an interactive participant workshop using Mural software. Here, participants worked with keywords extracted in the first series of interviews to discuss each keyword and generate a new iteration of thematically clustered texts. You can view and navigate the Mural board below. 

The keywords gleaned from presentations, discussions, and interactive workshop again steered the research for the group and went on to populate the second intensive study workshop held in Dublin in May 2022.

3. Dublin workshop

The next event in the series took place in TU Dublin on the 18th May 2022. This second intensive workshop was built on the findings of its predecessor and subsequent work by the researchers, using the filtered keywords from the first online event as a basis. Participants from across the RASL Transdisciplinary Teaching project as well as academic staff and visitors from the European University of Technology’s European Culture and Technology Laboratory spent an extended session working through, discussing, adding to, refining, and extracting a new set of keywords and learnings. A crucial part of this workshop was tracing intra-actions and entanglements between and within the words, and examining problematics and outcomes from leading transdisciplinary practitioners. You can view images and findings from the workshop on its event page.

4. Rotterdam garden workshop

Following the event in Dublin, the core research group met for an in-depth, week-long workshop in Rotterdam in July 2022. Again building from previous events as well as the wealth of understanding now acquired from the years of research, interviews, conferences etc. through the life of the project, the team set about organising content for this site. Through many hours of mapping and discussion, the Tuning Words were chosen. These keywords have filtered through all of the layers of the work, and have emerged as the crucial set of considerations when embarking on transdisciplinary teaching. Faced with the impossibility of a one-size-fits-all model 1 we believe these words, used in conjunction with the many additional resources on this site, will act as excellent seeds from which future frameworks can develop.

5. Repository, form, and mattering

This website and its design are not simply a platform for research dissemination; it has been a vital means of conducting research. As interviews, workshops, documentation of events and definitions were uploaded, they were keyworded to understand the densities of terminology and reference that are inherent to transdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Adding keywords was not just about establishing an ordering system but understanding overlaps and the interconnection of vocabularies. As Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star point out in their book, Sorting Things Out: “A “classification system” is a set of boxes (metaphorical or literal) into which things can be put to then do some kind of work—bureaucratic or knowledge production.” 2 In this respect, we have worked from the perspective that form is not neutral nor simply a glossy veneer to convey content. We operated from the firm understanding that form profoundly informs.


6. Peer Exchange & Feedback, Multiplier Event, Rotterdam

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Footnotes and references
  1. For instance: in the many different ways 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.[]
  2. Bowker, Geoffrey C.,Star, Susan Leigh. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (Inside Technology) (p. 10). The MIT Press.[]