Constructing Sites: Surveying Scenes of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Angela Woods and Des Fitzgerald invite abstracts for Constructing Sites: Surveying Scenes of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

A yellow door with an opening looking out on to construction site
Photo by Paulina Milde-Jachowska on Unsplash

What are the main sites of interdisciplinary collaboration in medical and health research and how, exactly, do they work? A site designates the ground where something is intended to happen. It describes the place – the scene, the setup– where a thing that doesn’t yet exist might come to matter. When we mark something as a site, we reconfigure innocuous background into a scene of real potency and risk. Sites in this sense are situations. They mark meetings of space and time in which something happened (or didn’t). Many sites are well-marked, widely known and temporally enduring. Others, being fleeting or now foreclosed, will require more imaginative reconstruction.

Constructing Sites is an edited collection about the sites of interdisciplinary collaboration. We use the notion of sites to mark out those backgrounds, places, moments and objects where the knotty work of collaboration happens. A site might be a conference panel or a seminar; it might be an ethics form or a zoom meeting room; it might be a grant proposal or an interview committee; a site might be a general kind of place, or one specific place. An email to a lab can be a site. A cite could be a site. What is critical is that a site foregrounds an interest in practical and creative application over strongly theoretical reflections; we want to know what can happen, practically, in and through particular sites – and what might be learned.

This is a call for abstracts for 3000-word contributions on the sites of interdisciplinary collaboration.

The focus is on medical and health research, but with an eye to wider transferability.  Sites might include (but are not limited to): the conference panel; the outlook calendar; the grant proposal; the laboratory or “field” site; the canteen; the journal article; the library; the PI’s office; the waiting room; the community centre; the bibliography; the hospital corridor; the corridor outside my office; the proverbial water cooler; the actual water cooler. And so on. 

We invite abstracts from collaborators of all career stages, disciplines, professions and orientations – in projects involving health and human experience. The volume will engage and reflect an international readership, and we are especially keen to see contributions on sites in or connected to Asia, Africa and South America. We are interested in perspectives from experts by experience, staff in voluntary sector and community organisations, artists, health professionals, research managers and administrators – as well as researchers from across academic and other spaces. While not prescriptive about form, we envision contributions structured around real-life experiences in and through sites, with a clear focus on the outcomes, and on the applicability of those outcomes to wide audiences.

Constructing Sites is an editorial collaboration between and Angela Woods, Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University, and Des Fitzgerald, Radical Humanities Laboratory, University College Cork. We’ve been approached by Bloomsbury to edit a volume that looks at research collaboration. The audience for the volume is that large swathe of researchers, across fields and disciplines, looking for practical advice – with clear takeaways – on how and where interdisciplinarity can be made to function.

Please send your proposed site (this will be the title of the contribution), with a 200-word abstract, and details of all authors to us both via email by Friday June 30 2023.

We will notify acceptance by Friday 31 July 2023. There will then be an in-person workshop on Thursday 11th and Fri 12th January 2024 in Durham for contributors (funding will be available and remote participation also possible). Submission of individual contributions will be due 26 April 2024 with submission of the final manuscript to Bloomsbury by 29 November 2024.

Download the Constructing Sites Call for Contributions.

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