The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What is the value of "Interdisciplinarity"?

"Interdisciplinarity", according to Rob Colls, has been somewhat misused. It isn't about falsely fixing together departments and subjects for the sake of it. It's about the way you live your life. Your life is interdisciplinary, but you don't think about it. You don't differentiate between physics and literature in day to day existence. That's how you have to come to understand it. Interdisciplinarity happens in your head, not in faculties. It's in the familiar made extraordinary. So, Rob recommends, don't talk about it, DO it.

Things to think about, I think. Come to your subject with a broad mindset. Don't ignore any possibilities. For us at the Attic, that is something vitally important, Museum Studies being what it is. We work in a medium that is interdisciplinary. We work with Natural History and Human History, and Sociology and Anthropology. And sometimes, we don't think about it - and sometimes, we think about it too much.

1 comment:

Sandro said...

'Interdisciplinarity' is such an interesting area of academic work. Last year I took a class called 'Interdisciplinary Humanities Research' at the Australian National University, and found it extremely rewarding. Kylie Message, who convened the class, drew on the class when reviewing a book in the July 2009 issue of 'museum and society', and a certainly recommend reading that review for some insights.