By Professor Eve Patten, director of Trinity College Dublin’s Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
When the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute at Trinity College Dublin was invited to contribute to this blog, it gave us a perfect opportunity to share the new toolkit that we and our partners have created for supporting interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS).
As those of you working in the humanities know, the AHSS are often sidelined from major research ventures, and for more than two years now, through our Horizon 2020 SHAPE-ID project, we have addressed this problem. We have now launched the first toolkit on interdisciplinarity that explicitly focuses on the integration of the AHSS with other disciplines and outlines the tremendous benefits of such integration.
The SHAPE-ID toolkit, launched on 10 June 2021, is the outcome of a Horizon 2020 project – SHAPE-ID: Shaping Interdisciplinary Practices in Europe. It is designed to help researchers, universities, funders, policymakers, and societal partners learn more about interdisciplinary research and take concrete steps to improve how they do it.
The toolkit includes curated resources, case studies, reflective tools, and interviews with experts. It covers topics ranging from understanding interdisciplinarity, developing the skills needed to bridge disciplinary divides, and developing an interdisciplinary career, through to supporting, funding, and evaluating collaborative research.
Notably, this is the first toolkit on interdisciplinarity that explicitly focuses on the integration of the AHSS. It builds on the expertise of many different partners: the development project was led by Professor Catherine Lyall and Dr Isabel Fletcher at the University of Edinburgh, with support from the SHAPE-ID team in Trinity College Dublin, ETH Zurich, the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, ISINNOVA, and Dr Jack Spaapen. SHAPE-ID kicked off in early 2019, so the link to the British Academy’s new SHAPE initiative for promoting the value of the AHSS is a happy coincidence!
You can access the toolkit at www.shapeidtoolkit.eu. There is a wealth of resources to unpack, including:
Case studies showcasing AHSS leadership in interdisciplinary research projects, including examples from the Creative Arts; funding initiatives that have supported AHSS capacity building and leadership; and institutional case studies, including the Trinity Long Room Hub’s own journey towards building capacity for interdisciplinarity.
Reflective tools for researchers considering or beginning collaborative research, which can be used individually or as discussion tools to help think about whether this is the right path for you; what you want to gain by collaborating; and who you should work with to achieve your goals.
Top Ten Tips on writing an interdisciplinary proposal, developing an interdisciplinary career, and working in multi-stakeholder collaborations.
Evaluator guides and best practice recommendations for those tasked with evaluating interdisciplinary research proposals or projects.
Our guided tours for researchers and research leaders are a good place to start, and we’ve also created a guide for research development professionals to provide focused access to the resources most relevant for their work. We’re delighted to share the toolkit with you and hope you find it useful. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eve Patten is a professor in the School of English and a fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Her primary research interests are in 19th-century Irish literature and culture, and in 2004 she published Samuel Ferguson and the Culture of Nineteenth-Century Ireland and has since developed this work in several research papers on civic institutions and the middle class in Victorian Dublin.