Transdisciplinary Winter School

Aim of Winter School

Complex global sustainability challenges relating, for example, to problems of increasing poverty; natural resource depletion; energy, water and food (in)security; waste and pollution; climate change; biodiversity loss; rapid urbanisation etc. cannot be understood and addressed using mono-disciplinary approaches only. Sustainability is a transdisciplinary challenge. Participants will be introduced to the process and practices of doing solution-oriented transdisciplinary research in a developing world context on the African continent.

What you will learn

Participants will be introduced to the key principles, phases and steps (the process) and appropriate methods of co-producing knowledge with society / communities. You will, amongst others, learn and reflect upon:

  • how to initiate transdisciplinary research approaches in a developing world context
  • how to define and deal with complex research problems
  • how to formulate theoretical problem statements and research questions in order to contribute to the transition of complex real-world problems and produce new scientific knowledge at the same time
  • how to integrate knowledge from different disciplines and from science and society

Who should attend?

The Summer School is aimed at prospective postgraduate students and supervisors interested in pursuing transdisciplinarity as an appropriate research methodology for their research projects; in particular those who want to learn more about how to initiate and manage transdisciplinary processes when dealing with complex societal problems in the African context.

Learning approach

Class room work, role plays, case studies, personal reflection and participation are combined to provide participants with a unique learning experience. This will equip them with the knowledge of the theory and practice transdisciplinary research approaches, necessary for preparing individual or group case study-oriented research projects.

Readings

A comprehensive reading list will be provided at the Winter School. However, please find attached to this email a few recommended pre-course readings.

Location

The course will be run at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa

 

Narrative Based Research Design Workshop

Aim of Workshop

Complex global sustainability challenges relating, for example, to problems of increasing poverty; natural resource depletion; energy, water and food (in)security; waste and pollution; climate change; biodiversity loss; rapid urbanisation etc. cannot be understood and addressed using mono-disciplinary approaches only. Sustainability is a transdisciplinary challenge. The workshop is designed as a break-away space, targeted specifically at alumni from pervious TDR summer and winter schools who are in the process of embarking on new narrative based research processes or battling to work with narratives in existing processes. The workshop explicitly aims to support researchers in the use of SenseMaker® in their narrative based inquiries.

What you will learn

Participants will be provided with a brief refresher on the TD and narrative based approaches. This will be followed by a short recap of the SenseMaker® software.

From here, we will begin getting down into the nuts and bolts of developing your research design and questionnaires. This will include the following:

  • Refining your research problem statements, questions and objectives in relation to the
  • narrative based approach
  • Installing software systems
  • Questionnaire design for your specific research
  • Developing signifier sets around your research questions
  • Piloting your narrative based questionnaire
  • Practice in the analysis, interpretation and processing of the questionnaire data

Who should attend

The workshop is aimed specifically at postgraduate students, supervisors and faculty who have already attended one of the Summer or Winter Schools in Transdisciplinary

Research Methods over the past 3 years. Interested participants should have a background

understanding of the TD research approach and a basic understanding of narrative based methods which have been covered in the previous Summer and Winter Schools.

You should attend if you are in the early stages of developing a research proposal and would like to apply a narrative based approach to this using SenseMaker®.

Learning approach

Class room work, role plays, case studies, personal reflection and participation are combined to provide participants with a unique learning experience.

The majority of the course will be practically orientated towards developing individual projects.

Participants will be required to focus on their specific research process and spend time

developing these with the support of course faculty and classmates.

Readings

A comprehensive reading list will be provided at the Winter School. However, please find

attached to this email a few recommended pre-course readings.

Location

The course will be run at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Lead facilitators

Zhen Goh is a senior consultant at Cognitive Edge based in Singapore. She is leading global expert in the use of SenseMaker® and has many years’ experience in project inception, through the processes of conceptualization and execution, to the final analysis.

John van Breda is a long-time faculty member at the School of Public Leadership and is a founding member of the TsamaHub and the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition.and has been involved in setting up and offering the Winter and Summer Schools over the last five years.

Sustainability focused short courses

Postgraduate students and professionals working in government, corporate or civil society sectors can register for a number of short courses focused on topics such as sustainable development, systems thinking, food security and sustainable agriculture, governance, renewable energy and sustainable cities. The courses are designed to challenge conventional thinking and open minds to new ways of doing and approaching the known, while incorporating the entire space at the Institute as part of the learning experience. The courses are administered by USB-ED, and leading academics in the sustainability field present during all the courses. The courses are presented at the Sustainability Institute, and customised learning programmes can also be developed.