The Newsletter 96 Autumn 2023

Real World Challenges and Academe

Neelam Raina

In a post pandemic world, we start to rebuild our communities, economies, societies, and we gather lessons learned. One big thing that stands out is our need to be more open to new ideas, approaches, and thoughts - to truly be interdisciplinary. No global challenges that we face can be addressed or resolved without this way of thinking. As researchers and practitioners, we see a clear need to dissolve, resolve, and build bridges between subjects and disciplines and the word ‘interdisciplinary’ becomes fashionable again.

But what does it mean to be interdisciplinary, intra, and transdisciplinary? And is it even possible? We need to rethink the way we write and publish, which is a challenge. We need to rethink the way we evaluate and reward interdisciplinary work, the way we study and examine our doctoral work, the way we create departments, schools, and teaching curriculum as well as what we define as innovation in these spaces.

How can we travel the journey of extremely specific expertise towards a PhD and yet be able to broaden out its value and use to communities and the larger world? How do we weave in global challenges and their extensive intersectional inequalities? How do we steer clear of replicating knowledge and power hierarchies? How does what we do today impact how we will be able to think and live with the technology that comes at us from all directions? How do we harness our creative energies and our understanding of ethics and principles of equality and equity in everything we do? 


Neelam Raina, Middlesex University London, United Kingdom