Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference 2019

Call for proposals

Deadline for submission has passed. It is no longer possible to submit proposals for this year's conference. At the beginning of June we will announce by email which proposals have been approved or rejected, and show you a preliminary (subject to change) program on this website.


In 2019, the  theme of the Association of Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) annual conference will be Interdisciplinarity in Global Contexts. Since a defining feature of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity is not to abstract or isolate problems but rather to approach them in their real-world contexts, this conference theme asks participants to consider the global and local contexts of interdisciplinary education and research. Obviously, contexts differ in scale and can be defined at microscopic or macroscopic levels: chemical properties are influenced by molecular configurations, for example, organic functions by bodily states, individuals by their societal environments, public health by geographical and climatic conditions, and cities by their world-wide connections. Adding to this complexity are various dynamic interactions across these dimensions, further making an interdisciplinary perspective necessary.

As addressing global contexts will require rich collaborations, the conference program committee aims to organize three days of innovative and interactive sessions. Each day will open and close with plenary talks and panels, creating a community of engaged conference participants. Sessions will consist of roundtable discussions, solution room questions, workshops, poster presentations and other formats figuring on the program – enabling not only senior scholars but also early career academics as well as students and professionals form outside the academy to contribute.


We have invited contributions from attendees in all categories – from a diversity of fields, countries, and research or educational cultures, addressing different aspects of the conference theme. The program committee supports innovative formats that will encourage audience involvement and lively dialogue. The conference theme Interdisciplinarity in Global Contexts has been broken down into the four subthemes elaborated below. In submitting a proposal, we asked you to indicate how your submission aligns with one or more of the following themes. You have chosen one primary theme and indicated how one or more of the questions specified, are relevant to your contribution. You have categorized your proposal by choosing one of the subthemes below.

Call for proposal is now closed

Once you have submitted your proposal you will have received an email acknowledgement of your submission. The program committee will be working on a program until the end of May. At the beginning of June we will start sending out approvals or rejections by email.

Four Subthemes

Theme 1: Adressing local and global contexts in research and education

Global contexts are not the same everywhere: the specifics of local geography, history, and demographics always make these contexts into “glocal” ones. Such “glocalization” gives rise to research and teaching topics like:

  • How are humans always citizens of both local and global communities?
  • How can we incorporate local and global perspectives in research and teaching?
  • How can local communities influence processes of globalization?
  • In what ways should “glocalization” effect interdisciplinarity research and education?


Theme 2: People, concepts, and methods crossing borders

Just like global contexts, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education and research require participants to cross borders, familiarize themselves with new perspectives, and reorient themselves.  Ideas do not carry passports nor are they confined to distinct disciplines. Border-crossing will therefore be a returning theme during the conference, with sessions that focus on:

  • What is the impact of contemporary processes of nomadism, migration, travel, and nationalism in- and outside academia?
  • What does it mean to collaborate across disciplines, cultures, and perspectives?
  • How do we draw upon the experiences and insights of persons and groups that are often neglected?
  • How can we ensure effective knowledge transfer among universities, communities, firms and government?
  • What does it take to prepare future academics and professionals for international and intercultural engagements?

Theme 3: Methodologies of interdisciplinary education and research

“Glocalization” has led to differences in methods and practices, in norms and expectations of interdisciplinary studies. We expect to bring together scholars in the field of interdisciplinary education and research from different continents and spheres, ensuring a methodological diversity during the conference.

  • What background, principles, and methods of interdisciplinary research are in use?
  • How can interdisciplinary research inform approaches to teaching and learning, and vice versa?
  • How does Interdisciplinarity relates to the rise of liberal education in Europe?
  • How can we learn at interfaces among contexts, sections, and/or domains?

Theme 4: adjusting interdisciplinarity towards future challenges

Due to “glocalization” and multi-dimensional border-crossing interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary alike,  teaching and research should prepare us for unpredictable futures. It is crucial to understand how interdisciplinary collaboration can succeed.

  • How can we advance the role of interdisciplinary education and research in the pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?
  • How can we integrate and expand existing knowledge across disciplinary fields in the arts, humanities, and sciences?
  • What best practices might help to enhance the innovative character and creativity of individuals and collaborative teams?
  • How do we ensure that academics do not overlook the complex interrelationships of their work with global ecologies, economics, and societies?
  • How can we enhance the resilience of communities and societies in the face of rapid changes?

In line with the practice at other AIS conferences, the program committee will also welcome more general presentations that advance the AIS mission, which is ‘to promote the interchange of ideas among scholars and administrators in all of the arts and sciences on intellectual and organizational issues related to interdisciplinary education and research.’

Conference Session Types

Panel discussion

Each panel discussion will consist of about four panel members (presenters) to explore common ground among papers. Each panel will last 90 minutes, unfolding in an interactive discussion format in which  each presenter will give a brief presentation followed by an in-depth Q & A discussion of at least 45 min involving  all presenters and audience members and led by a moderator. Panelists will preferably represent different networks, regions, and institutions, and discuss different perspectives on/or aspects of the topic.


A limited number of 90 minute workshops will be available during the conference. A workshop provides participants with a deep examination of a specific topic or question, led by a facilitator with extensive experience in the field. Workshops are highly interactive and give participants the chance to discuss in depth their own experiences and points of view. Please note that the facilitator’s introduction to the discussion is limited to a certain length of time (15 minutes maximum). You can propose a workshop in collaboration with a colleague working in the same field.

The solution room

The solution room allows attendees to meet colleagues with similar interests and to engage in in-depth discussions. In this format you will have 60 minutes to speak with 8-10 colleagues to find a solution for your questions, challenges or requests. Lightly facilitated, groups can select one of several available collaborative tools such as Design thinking, Metaphoric Thinking, Brainwriting, or the Walt Disney Strategy.

Poster presentation in a poster parcours

Posters will be on exhibit during the entire course of the AIS@2019 conference and willalso be presented in "speedtalks" within a poster parcours on Friday, October25th and Saturday, October 26th.

Paper presentation in a themed session

The paper presentations (15 minutes) will be grouped by topic or theme into sessions that include several related presentations. The presentations will provide the framework for the subsequent shared discussion, led by a moderator. (Please note that if your paper is a best practice or concrete example of an interdisciplinary course or research project you may be invited by the program committee to present your material in a  poster presentation.)

Special meetings

If you want to organise meetings of networks, associations, or other target groups (e.g. graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows, or other groups of researchers and educators), please contact the AIS2019 office ( ). Special meetings can be held Thursday, October 24th and Friday, October 25th, 2019 between 5.15 and 7 pm. We will provide the infrastructure and announce your meeting in the conference program.

Training workshops

If you want to offer a 180-minute training workshop on a particular method, tool, approach, or topic, please contact the AIS2019 office ( ). A limited number of training workshops can be held Wednesday, October 23rd from 9-12 am. Participants will register separately for these workshops.


If you have a different format than the above, like a performance or exhibit, please contact the AIS2019 office ( for more information.

Travel Funding for graduate and doctoral students

If you are a current graduate or doctoral student (verification of student status is required), you are eligible for up to $200 in travel funds from the AIS! Up to 10 such awards may be granted on a first come, first served basis.  Please contact the AIS Office Manager Shaunda Mankowski ( for more information as soon as you have received your notice of acceptance of your proposal.

Published by  Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies

7 May 2019