By Sundas Mahar and Dr Mia Perry,

It is hard to publish interdisciplinary research, especially with limited time, limited resources, and audiences that may be far removed from the communities you work with. Much interdisciplinary and important experimental work goes on outside of the awareness of mainstream international academic audiences because academic publishing is a specialised skill set, structured in ways that don’t easily allow for new voices or new ways of communicating. The Art of Transdisciplinary Research Communications: Sustainable Futures in Writing is a year-long project (funded by The British Academy) of writing, creation, collaboration and mentorship aimed to address this challenge.

The project is designed to support early career social science and arts researchers in sustainability, from Africa, South America, and South Asia to develop their work for international publication and dissemination. SF Network members, Dr Zoe Strachan and Mia Perry from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and Professor George Olusola Ajibade from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, lead this project with critical support from SF Network Manager, Vanessa Duclos, Research Assistant, Sundas Mahar, and an expert team of writing mentors from across the network.

The workshops could not accommodate the demand of applications, so fifteen early career writers were selected to take part in this first iteration of Sustainable Futures in Writing. The first of three online workshops took place in October 2021. The cohort of writers shared projects, plans, and fears; we explored author voices, writing practices, and journal processes. After this initial phase of work, the writers produced their first blog posts about their writing topic and plans which can be found here.

Hurrah, I am encouraged to write and be a good writer” (Grace Awosanmi)

In the second workshop in mid-November 2021, the cohort met journal editors and creative writers from various contexts. We explored the range of knowledge exchange activities that impact audience engagement, and we considered issues related to writing with and for social justice and equity. Writers began to work through peer critique sessions and established personal goals and plans for the progress of their projects.

“This is a collaboration of people who wanted to change the world and make it a better place to live” (Abhinand Kishore)

Throughout the project, the writers have kept in touch with a designated mentor, had one-to-one meetings, and ongoing support on their journey.  We are now heading towards our third and final series of workshops in which we will be working with complete (or nearly complete) drafts of work, journal submission requirements, and dissemination plans. Watch this space for announcements about a public presentation and celebration of this work, and hopefully not long after that, the publications themselves!