For some time now, the academy has recognized the value of interdisciplinary research. For a certain class of topics, often called after Latour “matters of concern,” a single disciplinary perspective is not sufficient to the task. These topics include many that are of pressing urgency: the global supply of food and potable water; energy; health; education; peace; access to valid and usable information; democracy itself. However, given the need to address these kinds of issues, although interdisciplinary approaches are arguably best, it is also true that not all kinds of interdisciplinarity are equally effective. In this presentation, I draw on recent projects in post-conflict zones in Colombia and other work to propose that we should aim, not to have six experts around a table, each contributing their own disciplinary perspective, but instead to reach the point of achieving a form of integrated generative knowledge.
Stan Ruecker is the Anthony J. Petullo Professor in Design at the University of Illinois. He is currently exploring how design research helps us to understand our preferred futures, how it may necessitate a change to prototyping, and how it can lead us to create physical interfaces for tasks such as analyzing text, modeling time, and designing experience. More at publish.illinois.edu/designconceptslab.
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