Ecologies of Transdisciplinary Research

Paul Shrivastava, Laszlo Zsolnai, David Wasieleski, and Philippe Mairesse: “Ecologies of Transdisciplinary Research” Ground Works 2022 August  https://groundworks.io/journal/commentaries/9

In this paper the authors consider transdisciplinarity to be qualitatively different from interdisciplinarity or multidisciplinarity in several crucial ways. Transdisciplinary work takes its problems from the real world and not disciplinary gaps in knowledge or combining disciplines for innovative new understandings. Transdisciplinarity involves co-creation of integrated knowledge across disciplines with stakeholders to solve problems on the ground. It represents knowledge in action. There is a need to bridge the arts with the sciences to fully address the social and environmental crises facing the planet. Transdisciplinarity can meet this need if certain barriers are overcome: namely, delimited thinking and dysfunctional institutional structures.

The paper uses the case of the Tanpo Solar School in Ladakh, India as an illustrative example of transdisciplinary work that combines art and science to serve the needs of local community and respects the ecology of the natural world.