The major challenges and threats that confront societies in our rapidly changing 21st-Century world, from climate change to pandemics; from financial systems to public services; are all complex in nature. Solutions are needed that are not confined to one discipline but require interdisciplinary thinking and working. Jobs in the 21st Century are becoming project-driven rather than discipline-driven, requiring the collaborative engagement of generalists and specialists.
A systemic response is required. This is why the RSE, under the auspices of its Education Committee, chose to organise its first education conference on 30 January 2019 on the subject of interdisciplinary learning (IDL), bringing together policy makers and influencers, teachers, lecturers, learners and employers. The conference combined insights from leading international figures and practical wisdom and experience from nearer home.
The conference outputs and outcomes, set out below, report on the conference proceedings and provide a range of practical exemplifications and deeper understandings of IDL and its impacts. They also capture practitioners’ and learners’ views on and, experiences of, IDL. These outputs and outcomes will be of interest to practitioners working across the education sectors and to policy makers and influencers. The outcomes also provide guidelines and a starting point for the next steps in IDL implementation in Scottish education, including an advice paper on IDL being developed by the Education Committee, to take forward the learning and reflections from the conference.
The conference was followed by a lecture by one of the conference speakers, Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Development, University of Oxford, Our Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance.