Transdisciplinary Research: A collaboration Process

This research project forms part of a series of subprojects associated with The Living Pavilion, a temporary festival that aims to illuminate Indigenous and ecological knowledge of past and present, foster collaboration across disciplines, and share and celebrate the uniqueness and potential of ‘place’.

Research team

Dr Tanja Beer, Dr Dominique Hes, Cristina Hernandez-Santin

Project objective

To document and comment on the process for transdisciplinary practice. The methodology applied will be shared.

Key research question

  • What were the most effective strategies for transdisciplinary practice?


The benefits of transdisciplinary collaboration have been well documented. It allows for different perspectives and disciplines to enrich a project and it helps us learn and develop new skills including theories of different fields and methodologies to inform research and practice. However, it is also a process that takes longer hours and discussions to find ways of working together that will be mutually beneficial.

An invisible balance is drawn, an internal cost-benefit analysis between the amount of time it will take us to collaborate with others vs. how much the project will be enriched through this same collaboration.

This project had a comprehensive strategy for research collaboration effectively integrating multiple disciplines including urban ecology, microclimate, social research, and placemaking amongst others. The team worked across one year to develop the research process effectively identifying an umbrella project informed by nine semi-independent projects where each academic team could retain their independence while still collaborating with the whole (to learn more, please visit our Research Methods section) . Furthermore, there were a series of meetings throughout the research planning period developing a single social research instrument and we implemented a Student Ambassador Program to conduct survey effort and site observations throughout the 2.5 weeks of the festival.

Why is this research important

This project documents the actions taken through this process as well as providing insights into what worked and what didn’t work. It provides a framework for transdisciplinary research based on common ground while retaining independence. It allows each person to work within their area of knowledge while providing opportunities for discussion and enrichment throughout the whole process.