The Hybrid Enabling Mutual Learning Space is both a technical set-up as well as a method of transdisciplinary knowledge integration. It was created and first tested during the colloquium "Economy in Transition: The Future of Work" as part of the Europaforum Wachau event and developed from that initial, positive experience into the defining feature of the 1st Global Transdisciplinarity Conference.
The Technical Setup
The technical set-up of the Hybrid Enabling Mutual Learning Space is a array of two cameras with dedicated operators actively tracking speakers and the audience in the conference room during a hybrid Zoom session. At the same time online participants are displayed parallel to any running presentations or current speakers on the wall of the conference room for all discussants and audience members to see. A network of microphones and a camera focusing on the speakers in the room makes sure that the experience for those participating online is as close to real presence as possible. At the same time contributions by those in the room and virtually present are channelled through the same livestream for audiences online.
The aim of the set-up is to create the next besting thing to a level playing field for those present in person and those participating online by enabling as much personal interaction as possible under the conditions of a hybrid event.
The Transdisciplinary Method
Borrowing from the well established fish-bowl method, the Hybrid Enabling Mutual Learning Space recognises the necessity of a more structured and disciplined moderation of discussion processes in hybrid settings, while at the same time allowing for as much freedom and spontaneity as possible. At the same time the pressing issues of the day have convinced the conveners to step beyond the well trodden paths of academic conferences and make a conference about transdisciplinary knowledge integration into an experiment in transdisciplinary knowledge integration.
To that purpose we have collected tracks focused on issues and subject matters mainly rooted in disciplinary approaches. Participants are given ample time to share, discuss and compare their research within established conference settings on days one and three.
On day two we will invite all participants in the conference to join us in a different exercise. Four two-hour Main Sessions focus on the four main dimensions of Science Society Collaboration that are at the core of what this conference wants to develop further:
- The theoretical basis of Science Society Collaboration and knowledge integration
- The methodological trends and developments in the field
- The societal challenges that call for applications of forms of Science Society Collaboration and knowledge integration.
- The demands on the education system to enable society to more effectively profit from Science Society Collaboration approaches in the future.
The Knowledge Integration Process
- To each Main Session the organisers will invite 6 panellists from the various tracks submitted whose track has something substantial to contribute to the main question and who are veterans of SSC.
- The participants in the tracks invited are required to prepare a position statement on the main question as an opening statement for their representative.
- All other participants (live or online) are invited to join the audience either in the room or via Zoom.
- The moderator will open with a short impulse on the question of the session.
- Each representative will follow with a short (5 min) position statement prepared in advance.
- A moderated round of questions will get everyone in the hybrid space ready for the next step.
- Now panellists and audience members are invited to join into breakout sessions to discuss and further develop the issues raised in the first round of statements.
- After that the plenary will reconvene and one rapporteur chosen from each breakout session will reiterate the results of the discussion.
- The session will be concluded by a summary of the results for the plenary session on day three of the conference.
In order to document the issues, inputs and results the whole process will be flanked by an online whiteboard and queries, accessible to both live and online participants over the whole course of the session and beyond.
Danube University Krems and the 1st Global Transdisciplinarity Conference have chosen hybridity not only as an alternative means to holding this conference under the impact of the pandemic still with us. One of the major learnings of the turn of events forced upon us all since 2020 was that technologies used as crutches in times of crisis have a potential for enabling interactions impossible under the previous regime.
Telepresence, livestreams and virtual meeting tools enable people otherwise excluded from participation in traditional academic events to have a voice and be included in the discourse. Valuable contributions otherwise lost due to financial, political or personal barriers get their chance to be part of the debate.
In this spirit of inclusiveness and openness that informs our decision to hold this event in hybrid form, we are well aware that the digital divide is a reality affecting many on this planet and therefore we would like to extend all support and assistance we can muster in order to include those affected.
If you would like to participate online but face technical or other issues, please contact the conference office for support.