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Challenges to Cross Disciplinary Collaboration as applied to Fan Studies

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


As an emerging but still-young field, fan studies draws scholars and expertise from a variety of home disciplines, whose broad range includes but is not limited to cultural and media studies, literature, law, economics, information science, anthropology and design. While this may mean complementary research approaching similar topics from different starting points, it also presents excellent opportunities for novel collaborations. Interdisciplinary research such as this is highly valuable, as cutting edge ‘breakthrough’ research often arises from these boundaries (Carayol and Nguyen Thi, 2004). However, undertaking collaborations across disciplines can be difficult, and faces a range of challenges.
Siedlok and Hibbert (2014) identify four categories of factors which can create
challenges to interdisciplinary collaboration. This paper will discuss ways in which each of these might be encountered in building fan studies collaborations, and consider recommendations to help overcome them. These challenges include: cultural barriers such as differences in language, epistemology and methodology; personal barriers such as time constraints or geographic and disciplinary separation (making it difficult to identify potential collaborators); Institutional barriers such as funding and publication review structures or processes for reward and promotion; and procedural barriers such as infrastructure and lack
of tools for practical collaboration.
Beyond collaborating with scholars from other disciplines, we should also consider
the value of knowledge exchange through collaborating with non-scholars including fans. This may entail similar challenges of language and understanding which must be given consideration at the outset. This will ensure that productive collaboration leads not just to one way ‘knowledge transfer’, or two way ‘knowledge exchange’ but productive ‘creative exchange’ to create new knowledge through synergistic partnership.

Event (Conference)

TitleFan Studies Network Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleFSN2018
LocationCardiff, UK
Degree of recognitionInternational event