Considerations to beginning a convergence approach of diverse disciplines, generations, and expertise – Part 1

Theme 4. Education
Session Name 4.14 Arctic design: Thinking our way out of the global change
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 10:30 AM - 10:40 AM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Hannah Birge (The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, USA), Laurie-Ann Lines (University of Alberta, Canada), Cindy Jardine (University of the Fraser Valley, Canada), Jessica Ernakovich (University of New Hampshire, USA), Fikret Berkes (University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Canada)
Abstract text

Disciplinary jargon and differences in definitions used in different fields are often barriers to problem solving. To address this problem, the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) has advocated ‘convergence’, the deep integration of multiple disciplines to address scientific and societal challenges. Here we describe a NSF-funded workshop series designed to explore this process. In March 2018, the first workshop united a diverse group of international researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders from the far north and mid-latitudes to discuss developing a complex adaptive systems framework and resilience approaches for the New Arctic. Understanding rapid change in the Arctic requires multiple types of expertise to identify and organize diverse system components and interactions. The exploratory workshop integrated expertise from Indigenous traditional knowledge, ecology, climate science, geosciences, education, psychology, economics, risk communication, and human health. The group established shared communication styles and definitions to guide future workshops and products, for example, exploring resilience as maintaining and creating options and flexibility at all levels from the individual to community to national/international. Participants shared self-reflections on the components of a convergence process. These included: deconstructing disciplinary assumptions, permitting direction and objectives to emerge from the process, sharing domain expertise, having like-minded disciplines supporting explanations and perspective, communicating through examples and stories, understanding basic definitions, connecting with communities and relevant issues, and creating time for trust and relationship building. We will share the importance of establishing a convergence process with both structure and flexibility, and offer arguments for the epistemological value of convergent knowledge generation.

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