[ISEA2020] Paper: Manuelle Freire — On places, spaces and objects of interdisciplinary scholarship: The case of Useful Fictions


Keywords: Material conditions, Relational spaces, Collaboration, Interdisciplinary research-creation, Systemic conditions of research

In the contemporary institutions of knowledge, different disciplines are associated with specific spaces, objects and instruments. This article rethinks the spaces of academia and the material conditions in which and with which knowledge is generated. Based on a weeklong practice-based workshop and symposium titled Useful Fictions, I argue that the relational effects of objects, instruments and spaces are the mesh for interdisciplinary collaboration, and essential to bridging disciplinary divides. Therefore, spatial and material conditions of research must remain central to the processes of planning and developing interdisciplinary research and creation. I draw four considerations to more efficiently prepare teams for collaborative research across arts and sciences: Understand the institutional context where collaborations take place, and participants’ familiarity and perceptions of the environment including the objects and instruments at hand, Define the scope and scale of the project in accordance with the range of expertise of collaborators, Reset participants’ disciplinary lenses, Privilege reflective practice and dissemination methods that are anchored in the objects used and produced.

  • Manuelle Freire, PhD was, at the time of writing this article in 2019, Associate Researcher at EnsadLab – Laboratoire de recherche de l’école nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs (Paris, France). Research areas include: Media Art Education; the intersections of Arts and Sciences in collaborative research and creation; Sociologies of Knowledge, Histories of Arts and Sciences, case studies, policies and programs; Interdisciplinary research and research-creation methodologies. She is also general director of ELEKTRA/Digital Art Biennial of Montreal, Canada, and since Part-Time Faculty at Concordia University, Department of Art Education.