Common Ground: Teaching and Learning Across the Arts and Sciences in Postgraduate Education

By Sophy Smith.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the battle to tackle the grand challenges facing society, specific discipline-related knowledge is no longer sufficient, and learners require skills in working across arts and science. As well as skills in creative development and critical thinking, graduates also need higher-level technical, analytical and problem-solving skills, which can be developed through a range of working methods and practices, research and development strategies, and knowledge and understanding from across discipline areas. By crossing traditional discipline boundaries and developing new modes of collaboration and cooperation, we can enable learners to face the diversities of current and future challenges. For many students, the transition to becoming able to work across the arts and sciences is a challenging one, often necessitating additional support. The greatest challenge they face is not necessarily in gaining the knowledge and skills from different discipline areas, but understanding and reconciling the different cultures and attitudes of the different discipline areas. This paper is intended as a practical insight into teaching and learning across the boundaries of art and science. Drawing on practice and theory, this paper uses the transdisciplinary Masters in Creative Technologies (based at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University) as a case study. It offers a framework for teaching and learning across the arts and sciences, discussing issues including characteristics of cross-discipline research, working processes (how each discipline makes work), communication (finding a shared language) and outcomes (measuring success and assessing creativity across the disciplines). This paper is based on the author’s extensive practical experience of a variety of arts and science-based projects including the facilitation of transdisciplinary projects and transdisciplinary curriculum development. It will be of interest to anyone interested in developing innovative learning experiences that cross the arts and sciences, as well as those facilitating arts and science projects.

Keywords: Art and Science, Innovation, Creativity, Crossdisciplinary, Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Transdisciplinary, Teaching and Learning, Pedagogy, Collaboration, Cooperation

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.93-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 646.569KB).

Dr. Sophy Smith

Programme Leader, Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, Leicestershire, UK

Dr. Sophy Smith is Principle Lecturer at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University. As part of this post, she wrote and now leads the innovative Masters in Creative Technologies (MA/MSc), a transdisciplinary programme where students work across the discipline boundaries of Art and Design, Humanities, e-sciences and Technology. Sophy also runs workshops on transdisciplinary research projects as well as workshops focused on assessing creativity across the arts and sciences. Her current research focuses on inter/multi/transdisciplinary collaboration, primarily, but not restricted to professional arts practice and social media. Sophy’s PhD was awarded for her research into the collaborative compositional processes of hip-hop turntable musicians and she also works extensively as a composer and performer on professional collaborative arts projects.


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