/ Research, Doctorate/PhD / James Merron

Report: Graduate workshop 'Transdisciplinary Research in Action'

While the normative assumptions of the transdisciplinary (TD) approach have been extensively discussed in theory, a graduate workshop at the Centre for African Studies Basel set out to formulate particular insights offered by a Southern/decolonial perspective ‘in action’.

James Merron reports on the graduate workshop “Transdisciplinary Research in Action”, which took place at the Center for African Studies Basel on 2 May 2019:

How do we carry out effective transdisciplinary projects with Southern Partners? To address this, we proceeded with the assumption that TD is facilitated when we embrace the challenges posed by a Southern perspective from different disciplinary angles. It was from this basis that the 24 workshop participants – ranging from MA students to postdocs in the social sciences, humanities and health/biomedical sciences - discussed the practical implications for undertaking TD research projects in Southern contexts, as well as approaches to address a particular health question.

This outlook was applied to an international research project on One Health in Guatemala, involving partners from academia, the health care system and civil society, including Maya healers. As a result of our discussions, we identified advantages and disadvantages of TD approaches and reflected on the practical, conceptual and methodological challenges of putting TD approaches to action. Since a one-day workshop has limitations in terms of scope and complexity, we are planning to continue this discussion in the format of a seminar or lecture series to take place at the Center for African Studies Basel in the near future.

“Transdisciplinary Research in Action” would not have been possible without coordination between members of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Institute of Social Anthropology, together with experts from Science Studies and the Transdisciplinary Research Network (td-net) including Monica Berger, Theres Paulsen, Alexandra Hofmänner, James Merron, Piet van Eeuwijk and Brigit Obrist.