Interdisciplinary possibilities, practices and challenges – an exploratory seminar series


The aim of the seminar series is to expand our collaborative understanding of different aspects of performing interdisciplinary research. The series is meant to be a collectively maintained venue for discussing the practices, challenges, and opportunities with cross-disciplinary research endeavours.


The series has several running themes where you can choose to follow all of the seminars or follow a theme of your choice.

  • Practices and skills: seminars designed to discuss various skill-sets and practices specific to working in interdisciplinary contexts. Topics include collaborative writing, seminar cultures, publishing strategies, developing research ideas and grant applications etc.
  • Career: seminaries designed for early-career researchers who are already working across disciplines or who are interested in initiating interdisciplinary research. Topics include careers paths, challenges in switching disciplines, professional identity and self-imagery etc.
  • Leadership: seminars designed for principal investigators, project leaders and participants in interdisciplinary collaborative projects. Topics include challenges and practices in leading a cross-disciplinary research group, designing and developing group cohesion etc.

Seminars Autumn 2021

Welcome to CIRCUS’ seminar series on interdisciplinary possibilities, practices and challenges. We are planning to host the first seminar of the semester on Zoom. The link to the Zoom room will be sent to registered participants. The second seminar in November will be held at the Old Observatory, restrictions permitted. That means that we will have a limited number of seats. More information on how to register will follow in September.

September 28, 13:15-15:00: Leadership – Lessons from Editing Cross-Disciplinary Scholarly Collections (in English)
This seminar centres on the practice of putting together edited collections that bring together scholars from a few or several different disciplines. The edited collection is sometimes being frowned upon in terms of merits. Yet, the collaborative practice of making a cross-disciplinary edited volume can provide many valuable results and lessons. It can be important for fostering new and inspiring conversations and research trajectories. Moreover, the editorial crafting of something concrete and held together like an edited volume provides ample valuable lessons for leading other inter- or multi- disciplinary scholarly endeavours. The seminar will thus provide several insights into the editorial craft and why it may be something worthwhile to try for your own development as well as for broader scholarly benefits. We will also look at how lessons learned from such practices can be valuable when being in other cross-disciplinary situations.

November 26, 13:15-15:00: Career – Academic Housekeeping and its Effect on Interdisciplinary Early-Career Development (in English).
This seminar deals with the theme of academic housekeeping, that is, important but ‘menial’ tasks that keep a research environment strong but that are not necessarily credited as formal academic merits. Examples include reading manuscripts for colleagues, organising social events, emotional mentoring of peers, and taking part in committees on equality and work environment issues. Taking the time to perform academic housework can have negative effects on a person’s career advancement in academic cultures of ‘publish or perish’ where only certain valuable contributions are counted. If you work in an interdisciplinary research setting the issue of uncounted valuable contributions might be further alleviated given the time and effort required to negotiate and administer cross-cutting collaborations. In this seminar, we discuss who performs academic housekeeping in our research environments with a focus on its effect on early-career development and in particular if or how interdisciplinary oriented scholars are particularly affected. We will look at current research on the allocation of academic housekeeping and discuss ways to increase solidarity between staff and how to turn academic housekeeping into visible labour.

Past seminars in the series

Seminars Spring 2021

We will host the Spring seminars entirely on zoom until further notice. A link will be sent to registered participants ahead of the seminar. 

February 17, 13:15-15:00: Career - Interdisciplinarity and the craft of writing and publishing (in English) In this seminar we explore interdisciplinarity through the lens of writing and publishing. We discuss the issues of where (and what) to publish and how we write (and cite) ourselves into a scholarly conversation. These issues are always crucial parts of doing academic work. Yet, they take on an additional salience when you want to traverse disciplinary boundaries. The seminar particularly focuses on how these the challenges play out for junior faculty venturing into interdisciplinary terrains. Before the seminar, we read a couple of texts related to interdisciplinary writing and publishing. The texts will be distributed beforehand to those who register for the seminar.

March 9, 13:15-15:00: Practices and skills - Interdisciplinarity and the academic seminar (in English) The academic seminar is a key activity in scholarly life. The seminar is a central venue for discussing ideas and drafts in the pursuit of maintaining and improving quality. It is also a setting where more junior scholars are socialised into the academic profession. The seminar is, finally, a setting where identities are forged and performed. This seminar reflects on the seminar as a key practice in academia. In particular, the focus is on how to think about inter- or multidisciplinary seminars where all the above aspects may be further compounded by having to bridge different disciplinary modi operandi. Do such cross-cutting seminars provide particular challenges and are there measures you can take to facilitate them becoming productive?

April 15, 13:15-15:00:  Leadership – Building and Forging an Inter- or Multi-Disciplinary Team (in English) How do you find researchers for a new inter- or multi- disciplinary endeavour? What are you to look for in potential partners possibly steeped in disciplinary quirks quite different from your own? And, how do you bring the team together? The seminar works with these questions, mixing introductions from a few seasoned colleagues with the sharing of experiences among the participants.

May 18, 13:15-15:00: Career – Navigating multidisciplinary domains: networking and socialising as a junior researcher (in English) A key part of academic life is to be in repeated contact and conversation with others. But how do you go about creating a vibrant research setting for yourself as an interdisciplinary scholar, especially when you perhaps cannot ease into the social fabric of your older peers? In this seminar, we explore facets of networking and socialising, from attending conferences and seminars to finding a mentor. What challenges do we encounter when we socialise and network across disciplines? We share helpful tips and tricks for seeking out new academic friendships. If we want to, we can also share some insights on pitfalls and less successful strategies for navigating multidisciplinary domains. 

Format: Shorter presentations with ample room for discussion. We will during the corona pandemic work with a mixed format with distanced seating in the meeting room and the possibility to participate via zoom. 

Language: Invitations and possible readings will predominately be in English to not exclude researchers who do not speak Swedish. That said, we do recognise the value to also sustain conversations on research in Swedish

Seminars Autumn 2020

September 30, 13.15-15.00: The many faces of cross-disciplinarity and what it might mean. The first seminar centres on the many forms that cross-disciplinary collaborations can take. We will explore the multi-facetness of multi-disciplinarity and what the different forms might mean for the organisation of collaborations as well as what they might mean for the knowledge produced. The seminar further looks ahead to the upcoming seminars during the autumn and beyond.

November 12, 13.15-15.00: Performing research leadership in interdisciplinary settings. Are there particular challenges to establishing and developing research collectives that span different disciplinary backgrounds? How can research leaders foster settings that both caters to the needs of the project and a presumably more diverse set of research and career orientations among the participants? The seminar tackles these questions and also discuss how these issues might be made further pressing in a setting where recurrent meetings is more difficult during the pandemic.

December 8, 13.15-15.00: Career: Being and becoming an interdisciplinary researcher – lessons from working towards the PhD degree and beyond. What are the specific challenges and opportunities in being an early-career interdisciplinary scholar? In this seminar, we meet PhD students and recent graduates who share their personal experiences with working in cross-disciplinary settings or with interdisciplinary research topics. The participants are encouraged to reflect on future seminar topics that you would like to discuss.

Senast uppdaterad: 2021-07-06