Interdisciplinarity, group responsibility and conflict as resources for learning

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In the autumn of 2011, the course “The City: Boundary Transgressions and Visual Expressions” was given for the first time. Formally placed at the Division of Art History and Visual Studies, the course was a collaboration with the Division of Social Anthropology and was directed towards students from a range of disciplines within the fields of the humanities and social sciences.

The course included an excursion to a European city (e.g. Paris, Berlin) during which the students conducted minor field studies in interdisciplinary groups.

The present text presents and discusses some of the experiences derived from the course in relation to the themes of interdisciplinarity, conflict and group responsibility as learning resources.

The main ideas behind the interdisciplinary group work as a central TLA was to give the students first-hand experience with different scientific methods and stances and to contextualize and emphasize the tradition that each student is embedded in. The response was generally positive. Students found it educational to use methods from different fields to gain a holistic understanding of their object of study. However, the course evaluations also show that the organization of the interdisciplinary group work can be challenging.

Rather than seeing the conflicts that arise among students as a problem, in this paper we suggest to see them as resources and opportunities for learning. Consequently, while the course team has been available for consultation, the students have been expected to solve confrontations among themselves. This process of handling differences of opinion, work routines, etc. prepares the students for professional life both inside and outside of academia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHögskolepedagogisk reflektion och praktik : proceedings från humanistiska och teologiska fakulteternas pedagogiska inspirationskonferens 2012
EditorsAlexander Maurits, Katarina Mårtensson
PublisherLunds universitet, Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Art History
  • Social Anthropology


  • excursion
  • learning by doing
  • methodology
  • group work
  • conflict
  • field study
  • method
  • interdisciplinary
  • interdisciplinarity
  • group responsibility
  • social anthropology
  • socialantropologi
  • visual studies
  • urban studies
  • didactics


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