Posted by: clare on: May 26, 2012
I recently visited Lancaster University’s HighWire doctoral students to give a talk. As I remarked beforehand, HighWire brings together students from Management, Design and Computer Science (and more besides, it turned out). After talking it over with Graham Dean (who was kind enough to invite me), I decided the seminar would be a great opportunity to discuss about how we conduct research across disciplines, and indeed bridging industry and academia.
I gave a talk in three parts:
Pleasingly, the HighWire students are a very engaged bunch — it was one of those seminars where there’s active discussion and dialogue, rather than a monologue from the invited speaker — which is much more fun! One of the interesting points for me was that I hadn’t realised I was using the word ‘community’ almost synonymously with ‘discipline’ in some contexts, until it was pointed out to me. This is almost certainly down to my recent thinking about the Web Science community, which is still a core of maybe 100 people — there are few enough Web Scientists that the discipline really has a community of its own. HCI, by contrast, is huuuuuuge (see, for instance, CHI’12, with over 2500 participants), and although it’s rich with sub-communities, it’s too massive a field to have a cohesive community in that traditional sense.
As well as being engaged, the Lancaster students (and staff!) were warm and welcoming — and they work on a beautiful campus. All in all, a great trip.