All PathwayEventTraining

Working Beyond Disciplines – MA Social Research Students – All Pathways training

By 5th September 2018 November 25th, 2019 No Comments

MA Social Research students only

Date: Wednesday 27 February 2019

Location: INOX Dine, Sheffield Students’ Union, University of Sheffield

The Working Beyond Disciplines training day introduces students to the ‘grand challenges’ within the thematic fields of their Interdisciplinary Training Pathway, and highlights the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to research.  It prepares students for the cutting edge debates they will encounter at doctoral level.

It is compulsory for all ESRC funded MA students registered in September 2018, to attend this training day. It is also open to self-funded MA students registered on the common framework WRDTP MA Social Research programme.

The day shall consist of one morning session for all students, followed by two afternoon pathway specific sessions.

The morning session will consist of a cross-pathway panel which will address the ‘climate emergency’ as a defining contemporary challenge which demands multi- and inter-disciplinary understanding. Scholars from within the pathways and from across the DTP partner universities will explore various perspectives on climate change, drawing upon different disciplinary insights before considering how interdisciplinary approaches might bring something beyond these perspectives. This cross-pathway session will allow for a discussion which relates to broader debates about interdisciplinary research and policy impact, before students convene in their individual pathway groups later in the day.

Programme of the day

10:00-10:15 Arrival/registration/refreshments
10:15-10:30 Welcome and introduction
10:30-12:00 Cross-pathway keynote panel: ‘The Climate Emergency: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Responses’

Panel: Professor Paul Routledge (Leeds); Dr Pauline Deutz (Hull); Dr Julia Affolderbach (Hull); Dr Matt Bishop (Sheffield); Dr Milena Buchs (Leeds)

12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:15-14:15 Pathway session: The pathway sessions will focus on pathway specific ‘grand challenges’, led by pathway teams and/or guest speakers, informed by readings. See further details below from individual pathways.
14:15-14:30 Break
14:30-15:45 Pathway sessions continue
16:00 Buses depart

Pathways Specific Sessions

Please click the tabs below to access information on the afternoon Pathway specific sessions. Further information will be provided as details become available.

The Usable Urban Past?

An interdisciplinary perspective is fundamental to any understanding of the contemporary city, its relations, processes, environment and governance. This session seeks to place historical perspectives at the centre. It will elaborate on what a historical sensitivity might mean for your own research, which might range from the uptake of historical methods (e.g. archival research), to placing your research topic within its wider historical context, to uncovering historical precedents and continuities.

An historical perspective is often marginalised or ignored within some research fields resulting in partial understandings at best. Since the 1970s the social sciences in general have undergone a “retreat into the present” which stands in marked contrast to the work of the early social science pioneers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim – all of whom looked to the past in understanding their own societies.

The aim of the session is to raise awareness of the relevance of history, and get us thinking how a longer- term perspective might be integrated into research projects that often start out from a very different point. Key questions for you to consider prior to this session include:

  • What can a longer-term perspective bring to the study of cities and their environments?
  • What is wrong with a present-centred perspective? What are the pitfalls?
  • How might history be incorporated into your own dissertation or research?
  • Is a “retreat into the present” apparent in your subject/topic/discipline area?
  • How does the Impact agenda influence historical sensitivity within the social sciences?

This session builds on the lead theme of disciplinary/interdisciplinary work in considering how an engagement with the past can potentially be used to re-shape and reformulate our research.

13:00-13.10 Introduction and Reflections on morning session (Nichola Wood)
13.10-13.20 History Matters (Thomas Biskup)
13.20-13.35 The UK housing crisis in longer-term view (Ryan Powell)
13.35-13.50 Urban Marketing: the case of Berlin (Thomas Biskup)
13.10-13.50 Exercise: All students write the theme/topic/issue they are interested in on a post-it and stick it on the wall during the presentations.
13.40-14.15 Group Activity I: Group Discussion. Students form groups of 2s or 3s to discuss a set of 2 to 3 of the questions above in the light of the presentations and prepare
14:15-14.30 BREAK
14:30-15.30 Group Activity II: Student presentations on uses of history: 5-minute group presentations,each followed by a short Q&A
15.30-15.45 Wrap up and Group Discussion on next session

13.00-14.15 Pathway session 1:

Dr Sarah Spooner, ‘Evaluating Environmental Education in Informal Settings’.

In this session, Dr Spooner will be discussing her research looking at the impact of zoo education on public attitudes and behaviours towards conservation. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this research was conducted whilst she was working as a Research Officer for the Centre for the Integration of Research, Conservation and Learning (CIRCLE), a collaboration between the York University Environment Department and Flamingo Land Resort, North Yorkshire.

14.30-15.45 Pathway Session 2:

Taking an Interdisciplinary Approach to meeting the grand challenges in Conservation Education.

In this session students will be encouraged to work in groups to identify and discuss wider challenges and possible interdisciplinary approaches to conservation education.

Suggested reading:

Karine Charry & Beatrice Parguel (2019) Educating children to environmental behaviours with nudges: the effectiveness of social labelling and moderating role of age, Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1551518

Anja Kollmuss & Julian Agyeman (2002) Mind the Gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behaviour?, Environmental Education Research, 8:3, 239-260, DOI: 10.1080/13504620220145401

Greg Mannion (2019) Re-assembling environmental and sustainability education: orientations from new materialism, Environmental Education Research,DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1536926

Mark Rickinson (2001) Learners and Learning in Environmental Education: A critical review of the evidence, Environmental Education Research, 7:3, 207-320,DOI: 10.1080/13504620120065230

The afternoon session will take local flooding in the Yorkshire and Humber region as a case study in order to explore the different ways in which researchers can respond to the effects of climate change on health.

In preparation for the session please read the reports below.

1) The Director of Public Health for Sheffield 2014: Climate Change and Health

2) The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate change (executive Summary).
Note that at the bottom of the webpage this article has some audio and video resources that you might find useful.


Guest Speakers

Dr Peggy (Guillaumette) Haughton, University of Sheffield, Medical School

Dr Wendy Phillips, Consultant Epidemiologist, MBChB MPH, Past Director of South Yorkshire Health Protection Unit.

Dr Rosy McNaught, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control

Please note that in the Well-being, Health and Communities afternoon session there will be one continuing theme and not 2 separate topics discussed. There will be a comfort break in the afternoon.

13:00-14:15 SCJ Pathway session 1

This session will focus on pathway specific ‘grand challenges’, led by the pathway director and deputy directors. Examples of research projects will be discussed, which will highlight some of the challenges and added value of working beyond disciplines.

Discussion topics/ research projects

Nina Caspersen, ‘War and Peace: The Health and Health System Consequences of Conflict in Colombia’.
Lisa Stampnitzky. ‘A personal journey from sociology to politics and international relations’
Edward Newman, ‘Food insecurity and conflict’.

14:30-15:45 – SCJ Pathway session 2.

In this session, students will split into groups in order to consider a range of research challenges – such as counter-terrorism, substance abuse, violent extremism, knife crime – in order to explore how interdisciplinary research questions and approaches might be envisaged. This session will also allow students to consider how their own research interests may be relevant to – or be informed by – interdisciplinary approaches and debates.

Discussion in both sessions will be informed by a number of key readings (available in the VIRE):

Philippe Bourbeau, ‘Introduction’, in Philippe Bourbeau, ed., Security: Dialogue Across Disciplines, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

J. Froestad, C. Shearing, & M. Van der Merwe, ‘Criminology: Re-Imagining Security and Risk’, in Philippe Bourbeau, ed., Security: Dialogue Across Disciplines, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Lisa Stampnitzky and Greggor Mattson. ‘Sociologies of (In)security’, in Philippe Bourbeau, ed., Security: Dialogue Across Disciplines, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

And other texts which may be added.

The Data Communication and Technology (DCT) Sustainable Growth, Management and Economic Productivity (SMP) afternoon session will be divided into two parts.

13:15-14.15 Reflections on working across disciplines within the data, communication and new technologies area

Dr Jo Bates, Senior Lecturer in Information Politics and Policy, University of Sheffield.

Working in the field of Critical Data Studies, Jo's research and collaborations cut across a variety of disciplines within the social and computational sciences, and the arts & humanities. She will share some of her experiences of working between disciplines, offering some thoughts and personal reflections on the concept and practice of discipline, and the opportunities and challenges of working within this space, before opening up for questions and discussion.

14:15-14:30 Break

This session will have two parts.

(i) The session will begin by reflecting on the ‘The Climate Emergency’ session delivered in earlier in the day. Working through small group based discussions, students will explore the main themes and socio-economic problems that have been raised, and how those can be tackled with social science research from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a focus on sustainable growth, management, and economic productivity, and data, communication and technology. This session will be introduced by Dr Julia Affolderbach, Deputy Director the SMP pathway, and facilitated by the rest of the DCT and SMP pathway teams.

(ii) Facilitated by the SMP/DCT pathway teams, students will then work in small groups to discuss how interdisciplinarity might form part of their future research plans.

Background reading

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an important report in October of 2018 that indicated the need to keep global warming to a 1.5C. [The whole report is available here: ]

As background you should should read a useful Frequently Asked Questions based on the report, that is available here:

Bates J & Goodale P (2017) Making Data Flow for the Climate Risk Market. Television and New Media, 18(8), 753-768.  View this article in WRRO

For the afternoon breakout session on day two, we will be discussing interdisciplinary working: i.e. applying this to some real-world problems and also your own research. Part of this will be focused on the grand challenge of “populism”. We have put together a bunch of articles; academic pieces, newspaper articles, essays etc. with different disciplinary inspirations – to get you thinking about the issue. The links are below:
There are also some good videos available at the following links: The Economist – Populism is Reshaping our WorldCas Mudde – Why Study Populism?, and the LRB’s Talking Politics podcast on David Runciman’s How Democracy Ends. Check also the ‘New Populism Project’ in The Guardian.
We don’t expect you to read absolutely everything, so please feel free to skim the material, dip in and out, or indeed look for other stuff on populism. But please do spend at least a couple of hours engaging with as much of it as you can to help make the discussion as vibrant as possible on the day. The key thing to think about is: how do different disciplines view the problem of populism, how do they approach it intellectually and practically, and how can this both improve our understanding of it and lead to real-world change?

Attendees can also check out a preview of the day by viewing the afternoon’s presentation below:

Travel Arrangements

University of Leeds: A free coach has been arranged for University of Leeds students.

Depart: outside the Parkinson Building, please arrive by 8.10am for an 8.15am departure.The coach will pick up from Durham Road, University of Sheffield at 4.00pm and drop you back at the Parkinson Building.

University of York: A free coach has been arrange for University of York students.

Depart: outside the Chemistry Hub, Science Park, please arrive by 8.20am for an 8.30am departure. The coach will pick up from Durham Road, University of Sheffield at 3.45pm and drop you back at the Chemistry Hub.

University of Hull and Manchester Metropolitan University:

Students should make their own travel arrangements and can claim reasonable travel expenses upon presentation of original receipts/tickets (no photocopies or credit card statements will be accepted) and completion of the relevant expenses claim form/process via your Department/School.

The Working Beyond Disciplines training day is a compulsory event for all MA Social Research Students in receipt of ESRC funding. If you have any difficulties attending this event please contact
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