“Stepping in and stepping out”: Enabling creative third spaces through transdisciplinary partnerships
Keywords:students as partners, third space, transdisciplinary, liminality, creativity
This article explores how transformative higher education approaches can be fostered through an integration of the concepts of third space, Students as Partners (SaP), and transdisciplinarity in practical contexts. We describe a collaborative enquiry that engaged staff and students in a reflexive dialogue centred on the concepts of mutual learning, liminality, emergence, and creativity as enacted in the curriculum of a transdisciplinary undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. The key insights that emerged through this enquiry were: third spaces in curriculum can be enabled but not constructed, all parties need to embrace uncertainty and a mutual learning mindset, and that “stepping in and out” of such fluid liminal spaces can stimulate creativity. Based on our experience and exploration, we offer some practical recommendations to those seeking to create similar enabling conditions for third spaces in their own undergraduate programs.
Biesta, G. (2013). The beautiful risk of education. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Biesta, G. (2015). What is education for? On good education, teacher judgment, and educational professionalism. European Journal of Education, 50(1), 75-87. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12109
Campbell, J. (1993). The hero with a thousand faces. London: Fontana.
Cook-Sather, A., & Alter, Z. (2011). What is and what can be: How a liminal position can change learning and teaching in higher education. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 42(1), 37-53. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1492.2010.01109.x
Cook-Sather, A., & Felten, P. (2017). Ethics of academic leadership: Guiding learning and teaching. In F. Su & M. Woods (Eds.), Cosmopolitan Perspectives on Becoming an Academic Leader in Higher Education (pp. 175-191). London: Bloomsbury.
Cook-Sather, A., Matthews, K. E., Ntem, A., & Leathwick, S. J. (2018). What we talk about when we talk about Students as Partners. 2(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v2i2.3790
Durkheim, E., Cosman, C., & Cladis, M. S. (2001). The elementary forms of religious life. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Gibbs P. (2015) Introduction. In Gibbs P. (Ed.), Transdisciplinary professional learning and practice (pp. 1-6). Switzerland: Springer.
Gutiérrez, K. D. (2008). Developing a sociocritical literacy in the third space. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(2), 148-164. https://doi.org/10.1598/RRQ.43.2.3
Hasan, H. (2014). Complexity theory. In H. Hasan (Ed.), Being practical with theory: A window into business research (pp. 49-54). Wollongong, Australia: THEORI.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/engagement_through_partnership.pdf
Itzchakov, G., & Kluger, A. N. (2017). Can holding a stick improve listening at work? The effect of Listening Circles on employees’ emotions and cognitions. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(5), 663-676. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2017.1351429
Kahn, P. E. (2014). Theorising student engagement in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 40(6), 1005-1018. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3121
Kerwin, A. (1993). None too solid: Medical ignorance. Science Communication, 15(2), 166-185. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F107554709301500204
Klein, J. T. (2008). Evaluation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research: A literature review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(2S), S116-S123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2008.05.010
Klein, J. T. (2010). A taxonomy of interdisciplinary knowledge. In R. Frodeman, J. T. Klein, & C. Mitcham (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity (pp. 15-30). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Labonté, R. (2011). Reflections on stories and a story/dialogue method in health research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(2), 153-163. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2010.492131
Manderson, D. (1998). Some considerations about transdisciplinarity: A new metaphysics? In Transdisciplinarity: Stimulating synergies, integrating knowledge. UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001146/114694eo.pdf.
Matthews, K. E. (2016). Students as partners as the future of student engagement. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(1), 1-5.
Matthews, K. E., Cook-Sather, A., & Healey, M. (2018). Connecting learning, teaching, and research through student-staff partnerships: Toward universities as egalitarian learning communities. In V. Tong, A. Standen, & M. Sotiriou (Eds.), Shaping higher education with students: Ways to connect research and teaching. London: University College of London Press.
Matthews, K. E., Dwyer, A., Hine, L., & Turner, J. (2018). Conceptions of students as partners. Higher Education, 76(6), 957-971. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0257-y
Max-Neef, M. A. (2005). Foundations of transdisciplinarity. Ecological Economics, 53(1), 5-16.
McAlpine, L., & Hopwood, N. (2009). ‘Third spaces’: A useful developmental lens? International Journal for Academic Development, 14(2), 159-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/13601440902970072
Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S. L., Matthews, K., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic literature review of students as partners in higher education. International Journal for Students As Partners, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v1i1.3119
Nicolescu, B. (2010). Methodology of transdisciplinarity—Levels of reality, logic of the included middle and complexity. Transdisciplinary Journal of Engineering & Science, 1(1), 19-38.
Polk, M., & Knutsson, P. (2008). Participation, value rationality and mutual learning in transdisciplinary knowledge production for sustainable development. Environmental Education Research, 14(6), 643-653. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504620802464841
Scholz, R., & Steiner, G. (2015). The real type and ideal type of transdisciplinary processes: Part I—Theoretical foundations. Sustainability Science, 10(4), 527-544.
Soja, E., & Hooper, B. (1993). The Spaces that difference makes: Some notes on the geographical margins of the new cultural politics. In M. Keith & S. Pile (Eds.), Place and the politics of identity (pp. 183-206). USA and Canada: Routledge.
Solomon, N., Boud, D., & Rooney, D. (2006). The in‐between: Exposing everyday learning at work. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(1), 3-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370500309436
Turner, V. (1967). The forest of symbols: Aspects of Ndembu ritual. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Werder, C., Thomas, C., Ware, L., & Skogsberg, E. (2010). Students in parlor talk on teaching and learning: Conversational scholarship. In C. Werder & M. Otis (Eds.), Engaging student voices in the study of teaching and learning (pp. 16-31). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Whitchurch, C. (2012). The concept of third space. In Reconstructing identities in higher education: The rise of ‘third space’ professionals (pp. 21-45). New York: Taylor and Francis.
Zepke, N. (2017). Student engagement in neo-liberal times: What is missing? Higher Education Research & Development, 37(2), 433-446. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2017.1370440
How to Cite
LicenseAuthors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).