BU showcased the breadth and excellence of its research with a number of public events as part of Interdisciplinary Research Week.
The week focused on collaborative research that stretches beyond individual disciplines, resulting in projects which are inspirational, inclusive and inventive.
A programme of lectures, discussions, demonstrations and film screenings celebrated the interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research taking place at BU.
Dr Stephanie Schwander-Sievers, Dr Melanie Klinkner, Dr Avital Biran and Dr Feng Tian presented their research project, Transforming conflict after war: memory, heritage and digital media. The group hails from three faculties and encompasses four different subject areas; post-conflict transitional justice, social anthropology, tourism and games design.
They have been researching how memorial sites and monuments of societies emerging from conflict are used and understood by different people.
The presentation began with an interactive session, inviting the audience’s thoughts on a monument of a soldier which elicited strong opposing opinions from the people of post-war Kosovo. Using their collective expertise, the group hope to use game design and smart phone technology at war monuments to help visitors understand multiple viewpoints of the conflicts and not just the narrative of the victors.
Dr Schwander-Sievers said there were a number of benefits to researching as an inter-faculty team.
“Working in an interdisciplinary group is both inspiring and a challenge,” she said.
“We might debate over concepts but that same debate leads us to formulate new ideas that we haven’t thought of in our individual disciplinary armchairs.”
Another event, VeggiEat, summarised research by Bournemouth University and its partners into fruit and vegetable consumption, while encouraging participants to eat a greater number of vegetables. Dr Katherine Appleton led a ‘super-tasting’ test as a part of the event, taking different samples of paper and marking its taste, to discover whether participants were ‘supertasters’ or not. The results of the test would have implications as to whether you were more likely to eat vegetables or not.
At the Turning numbers into narratives: an introduction to digital storytelling with data event attendees learnt about different means of storytelling, and how sharing findings or research through visual and innovative ways – such as maps and interactive platforms – can help bring their work to life to create impact and resonates with a wide range of audiences.
The event was held by the DataLabs team at Bournemouth University – a cross-disciplinary project which combines humanities, geography and data analytics to create effective ways of tackling social issues.
Dr Anna Feigenbaum, who uses data visualisation to share her research into teargas use, led the event.
She said: “This week seemed like a great forum to showcase what we can do in collaboration through the DataLab project.
“We wanted the event to introduce people to different possibilities of sharing and developing research through data visualisation and digital storytelling and hopefully find more participants for the project.”
She added that she felt interdisciplinary collaboration was important and helped enrich research, and the world.
“I don’t think that the world’s problems could be solved without interdisciplinary collaboration,” she said.
“It enriches your perspectives and skill set by being able to see problems in new and exciting ways.”
Dr Kip Jones gave a director’s screening of his 2012 film Rufus Stone. The half-hour film explored LGBT culture among the older generation, with a poignant story involving two young lovers who are shunned by their rural community.
Talking about the film afterwards, Kip described how it was made as part of a research project spanning seven years. Utilising a collaborative multi-method approach interviews, focus groups and testimonies were combined to create the story and script.
Other events held as part of Interdisciplinary Research Week included an interactive showcase of the range of initiatives the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI) is working on with the community to support and increase the opportunities to live well with dementia, and a debate about whether the media are responsible for fear in childbirth.
To find out more about the week visit the BU Interdisciplinary Research Week website.