KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Rebecca Freeth
KLI Colloquia
Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Challenges and Capacities
Rebecca FREETH (IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam)
2019-10-01 17:00 - 2019-10-01 18:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Interdisciplinary collaboration requires researchers to navigate multiple challenges of teamwork. Such challenges have both epistemic and interpersonal qualities. While researchers may enter collaborations with considerable expertise in their own field, they may find themselves under-prepared to address the collaborative challenges they encounter.

During my recent doctoral research, I developed a methodology called formative accompanying research (FAR). Using FAR, I tracked an interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of sustainability science. This has deepened my understanding of dynamics of collaboration in research teams. It has also provided considerable insight into navigating positionality and relationality as a boundary-crossing researcher.

This presentation will introduce the FAR methodology for studying collaboration, identify common challenges in collaboration and propose capacities that can be cultivated to address these challenges. How can difficult experiences of collaborating deliberately be used as opportunities to learn to collaborate? The role of discomfort in collaboration will be introduced as a prompt for learning to collaborate while collaborating.

I will illustrate the conceptual input with illustrations from recent experiences in the interdisciplinary project Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation. A brief exploration of this case will give rise to key insights that may be recognisable in other cases with which participants are familiar. It is intended that this will lead to a discussion with participants about their own experiences of collaboration challenges and strategies for enhancing collaboration.


Biographical note:

Rebecca Freeth is a dialogue facilitator, researcher and writer. The joys and challenges of meaningful collaboration have been a source of interest and practice for many years. She has initiated and supported long-term multi-sector dialogue and action projects and also specializes in working collaborating towards uncertain futures. Much of her work has been located in post-apartheid South Africa, which is her primary home. She teaches on numerous university courses for under- and postgraduate students, as well as a ‘systems thinking for social change’ summer school. Her recently completed doctoral research, in which she tracked an interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of sustainability science for three years, has deepened her understanding of dynamics of collaboration in research teams. Rebecca is currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Science (IASS), in Potsdam Germany.