Inter/transdisciplinarity

Mixing academia and real life…

By María Dolores Sánchez Galera

During the four days of the INTREPID training school, starting from the networking dinner, trainees had the possibility of meeting people working on areas beyond their disciplines (or working areas). This has been really enriching and it has encouraged people to extremely active participation. The topic of sustainability and climate change was the covering umbrella of all of us coming from different backgrounds. Within such context the best skills for communication within the group came out and this is something I noticed that happened from the start. This is an amazing achievement behind the INTREPID training school. Even if it was going to be the only enriching element of the meeting it would have been worthwhile, but there have been many others.

The training school built on the theoretical basis of the transdisciplinary approach, and also a methodology was put forward with frontal presentations. Many interrelated topics were presented and gave us the bases for discussions and exchange of views departing from our different backgrounds. The main activities were developed by working groups and joint activities with open discussions about lessons learned, own experiences in relation to our interdisciplinary work and our case studies in relation to sustainability and climate change under the auspices of a transdisciplinary approach that could help us analyse things in a different perspective. So, in a way trainees themselves built the real transdisciplinary approach by producing and analysing problems together. I genuinely think that we all made an effort to approach the topics, including our case studies with a different mind-framework even if some of the topics were completely new to us. I personally felt engaged and motivated to follow up and give my contribution as I think my colleagues did.

Personally I was really enriched by the local council presentations, their action program their day-to-day activities and their active participation on the process of rendering the city of Barcelona a more sustainable city. Mixing academia and real life was the best part of the training school. The heart of the intrepid transdisciplinary approach came from that. Barcelona has probably been a fantastic scenario for this. The locals coming from the council and presenting their work, their projects and their action program to combat climate change and re-inforce a sustainable transition in such a cosmopolitan city were a wonderful way to put into practice the essence of the theoretical approaches.

I had the opportunity to meet fantastic people working in areas far from my discipline that I would have probably never met, and even build on the possibility of working together in the future. It has all in all been an enriching experience and has open the road for me to approach some part of my work differently. I think we all take something in a different manner. We were people in different stages of our careers, so I guess lessons learned can be of many types, but I have seen a common motivation to build on further stages of transdisciplinary work, and a real drive to communicate and build a common ‘argument’. A different approach has been opened to me and I may take the chance to follow this road in future work challenges.

María Dolores Sánchez Galera Poster