UCL Research Domains


Together We Create - Episode 1

Introducing Together We Create

This episode introduces the Together We Create series which explores the collaborative social research being undertaken by Early Career Researchers at UCL.


Lili Golmohammadi  00:03

Hello and welcome to Together We Create, a podcast about collaborative social research. 


Lili Golmohammadi  00:09

My name is Lili Gomohammadi, I'm a collaborative researcher working across design technology and social research and a final year PhD student at UCL. In each episode, I'll be talking to an early career researcher at UCL to find out more about how and why social researchers collaborate with engineers, scientists, health practitioners and designers and hearing about their research stories and top tips, as we discuss the benefits and challenges of taking a multidisciplinary approach.


Lili Golmohammadi  00:45

Before you get stuck into the series, I'd like to give you a short introduction to explain how the podcast came about. I also want to share some of my favorite moments, including a few that didn't make it into the finished episodes.


Theme music  00:57


Lili Golmohammadi  01:03

So Together We Create is a podcast from UCL's Collaborative Social Science Domain. We're a research community that fosters collaboration between the social sciences and the humanities and the natural and applied sciences. Through the Domain researchers from across UCL are brought together through networks and activities to help encourage methodological innovation, interdisciplinary collaborations, public engagement, and research impacts. 


Lili Golmohammadi  01:30

The Domain's chaired by Professor Carey Jewitt from the UCL Knowledge Lab, who also helped create this podcast series. We made together we create to share some of the incredible research enabled by collaboration with the social sciences, and to learn from some of our early career research and network members. 


Lili Golmohammadi  01:49

I joined the Domain because I'm passionate about collaborative research. I love the way it helps you to see the world in new ways and approach problems differently. It's been really exciting making this podcast because I've got to hear from different researchers who also care deeply about multidisciplinary research and have experienced firsthand how valuable it can be. 


Lili Golmohammadi  02:10

In each episode, I've spoken to a researcher about their projects. These range from coding communities to disaster recovery, to marine sustainability. These projects have taken place around the world and relied on a wide range of research techniques and disciplines. Despite this, many of our guests had common experiences of interdisciplinary work. They talked about the difficulties of combining different research approaches and fields, of overcoming language barriers, and finding the right audience for your work when it doesn't fit so neatly into a pre-existing discipline. 


Lili Golmohammadi  02:45

We also had conversations about thinking collaboratively and really pushing yourself to consider how you might learn from another field, and how this can make you a better researcher. We've also spoken about how collaborative research is, in many ways its own discipline with its own approaches and methodologies. Becoming a good collaborative researcher takes time patience, and openness. Our conversations show how doing this will help you to see your research and the world in a different way. 


Lili Golmohammadi  03:18

Making these podcasts has definitely inspired me as a collaborative researcher. Hopefully, by listening to the series, you too will be inspired perhaps to join our domain and start collaborating with other researchers from outside your discipline. To help you get started, all of our guests have offered advice and shared some of the things they've learned from their research. They had so many great tips that we couldn't fit them all into the series, so here's some bonus advice and reflections...


Michel Wahome  03:48

Um, top tip...


Gui Heurich  03:51

I guess one, one big one was that I have started all of this research in the middle of the pandemic, really, that kind of opened up the possibility of interviewing a lot of people from the Ruby community around the world, which might not have been at the center of the research as it was.


Michel Wahome  04:08

I think it can be tempting to say, "let's go find people who do the other opposite thing from us." And then that will be the most generative collaboration. But I'd say start closer to home and then expand because the relationships are what will determine the nature of the collaboration and how well it works. And so you don't want to be spending two years on building a relationship, which can happen and then two years later is when you actually start talking in a real way instead, you know, before that you will have been being polite and holding back. Those have been my observations, is that people who even know each other through circles are more likely to be like, you know, what do you think and that sort of thing and and trust that it's not going to be misinterpreted and misunderstood.


Seray Ibrahim  05:09

Yeah, I'm not sure. I mean, I think for me, it's important to think outside the box with who to talk with, and, and make use of opportunities that are out there. I mean, like the Collaborative Social Science Domain at UCL, as we know, is this sort of really big thriving early career researcher community. And that's, that's a really nice way. And, you know, through that I just having sort of access some events with that, you know, there was there was some really nice opportunities to actually get to, to understand that there are other people around, at UCL in particular, who are doing different things who have really different expertise, who are open to having a chat as well.


Theme music  05:48


Gui Heurich  05:57

Go and try to learn what it is that you need to learn, of course, that that is different depending on the area that you are going to, to explore. So if you I don't know, if you're trying to look into nuclear physics it's probably very hard to just go and learn nuclear physics before you start doing that project on that. That's fair enough. But I guess, for programming and for other things, it does make sense to kind of try and go and learn what were you trying to look at.


Alejandra Albuerne  06:27

Because it I mean, in terms of research skills themselves, I do think that, to work collaboratively, you don't necessarily need to be proficient in the research skills that those from other disciplines that you're working with use. But I do think it's interesting to understand them in general terms, to understand what you can obtain from using those methods. So a little bit of exposure to other research methods that are not the ones from your own discipline can be very helpful, I think. And then in terms of being able to work with other disciplines, you have to have this open attitude towards other people's ideas and other people's approaches, and be ready to learn from them to make the most of them as well. And I think there's only things to gain. There's rarely anything to lose.


Theme music  07:28


Olga Perski  07:35

Well, so I think my top tip would be to dare to be different. So I also think that it can often feel that there isn't necessarily kind of a natural academic home for people like me, or there might not be funding sources, or kind of fellowships that are set up for kind of people who have this kind of range of skills or interests. But I think it is important to kind of not be scared of being a bit different because I do think that in the long term, interdisciplinary research is required for kind of for solving the biggest issues of our times. Whether that's to do with climate change, or kind of the health and well being of of the public, so I would encourage people to kind of try to be comfortable with who they are as interdisciplinary scientists.


Theme music  08:28


Lili Golmohammadi  08:40

You can listen to all of the episodes on our website now. While you're there why not check out the Collaborative Social Science Domain, our Early Career Researcher Network, upcoming events and follow us on Twitter. If you're interested in learning more about any of our guests or their work, we've provided links to their projects in the show notes of each episode. 


Lili Golmohammadi  09:01

Happy listening!


Lili Golmohammadi  09:06

You've been listening to Together We Create. This episode was presented by myself Lili Golmohammadi and produced by Cerys Bradley it features Seray Ibrahim, Gui Heurich, Olga Perski, Michel Wahome and Alejandra Albuerne. This podcast is brought to you by the UCL Collaborative Social Science Domain.