Dr. Stan Ruecker Presents: Transformational Interdisciplinary Research

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Watch Dr. Stan Ruecker's talk below


Dr. Stan Ruecker, the Anthony J. Petullo Professor of Design at University of Illinois and founding member of qCollaborative, traveled to Waterloo to give a public talk at the Games Institute on transformational interdisciplinary research. His discussion focused on the benefits and challenges of people from multiple disciplines working together, not as representatives of their fields, but instead as a group developing emergent expertise.

presentaitonRuecker states that single disciplinary perspectives are not sufficient when observing complex topics such as the global supply of food, potable water, energy and health as these single disciplinary perspectives do not cover sufficient ground. He instead proposes that transdisciplinary practices would be more effective as we would have people from different fields going beyond what any of the fields is individually capable of doing.

Transdisciplinary research, for example, would allow for solutions or inventions to be made while covering a large variety of perspectives. This can be exemplified through various models of knowledge production which can show how different disciplines understand what knowledge is and how it is produced.

Ruecker mentions many practicalities that need to be accommodated in Interdisciplinary Research, such as the different evaluation criteria for each discipline. For example, some disciplines desire publication in journals, others in conference proceedings, and still others in books. Ruecker also recommends using a project charter to manage expectations around topic, such as deadlines, future phases, professional dignity and goodwill.

Ruecker draws on a project he was a part of, in collaboration with the Design Concepts Lab, in post-conflict zones in Guaviare, Colombia to exemplify his work with interdisciplinary research. This case study focused on how design could contribute to peace and reconciliation by bringing together different people around shared design tasks, including envisioning preferred futures.

To watch Stan Ruecker's presentation click here.

For more information on Stan Ruecker and the Design Concepts Lab click here

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