Reshaping Interdisciplinary Education

Reshaping Interdisciplinary Education 2011: Facilitation of Dialogic Spaces across Disciplinary Boundaries

May 13, 2011: Faculty of Education, Community Room

University of Western Ontario

Graduate education at the doctoral level can be a solitary experience. This sense of solitude can be further compounded when a student selects a research path that does not seem to conform to traditional, discipline-demanded topics or methodologies. Over the summer of 2009, through a series of meetings, four doctoral students and one professor began forming a relationship that has started to lay the foundation for what they believe will turn out to be a robust think-tank of interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. The doctoral students (representing the disciplines of business, health professional education, nursing, and education) came together out of a common interest in an innovative methodology, Actor-Network Theory (ANT) (Latour, 2005). Through this ongoing interaction, they began occasioning what they came to label as an interdisciplinary dialogic space (Saeed, 2010).

About the unconference
A collective interest in a framework not only assisted in the alignment of research interests, but also facilitated in developing momentum to formalize the group’s efforts into a larger, more strategic interdisciplinary movement. This day long unconference, which is participant-driven event, is a step in this direction, and the organizers invite all who are interested in reshaping education across disciplinary boundaries. Being inclusive, this is not an exclusively ANT-centered event and the organizers invite all voices and perspectives. Admission is free.

Please contact Richard Booth ( if you intend to attend or have any questions regarding this event.


9:00 – 9:30 am: Presentation

“The Phoenix Project: On Creating Interdisciplinary Dialogic Spaces with ANT”

Julia Bickford, Richard Booth, Farrukh Chishtie, Allan Pitman and Akbar Saeed

This group presentation will focus on various experiences and challenges faced in pursuing interdisciplinary research in a graduate program.

9:30 – 10:15 am: Co-creation of unconference agenda

Facilitators will explain background behind the unconference, which involves the co-creation of agenda initiated by participants and then carried out in two breakout sessions. Topics deemed important for these sessions, is distributed towards smaller groups led by facilitators, according to mutually decided relevant ideas and topics in this participatory process.

10:15 – 10:30 am: Refreshment Break

10:30 – noon: Session 1

Individuals will attend the smaller break out room, or, generate clusters of people in an area to ‘discuss’ the topic at hand.

12:15 – 1 pm: Lunch

1 – 2:00 pm: Session 2

Individuals meet their groups and further discuss their chosen topics in the smaller break out group or arranged space. The facilitators of each group summarize the discussions for the concluding session.

2 – 3:00 pm: Conclusion

Conference facilitators rally all participants together. Smaller group facilitators or any conference participants who would like outlining some of their salient learning of the day address the entire audience.


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