The main aim for our project is to develop an interdisciplinary research partnership of African and European researchers and African community members, with the long-term goal of creating innovative, participatory solutions to air pollution and its effects on human health in low-resource settings in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, we know working together with people from different disciplinary backgrounds and with different life experiences can be challenging. At our workshop in Mukuru informal settlement in Nairobi in January 2018, we decided to address this head on. Researchers and community members worked together in groups to discuss the challenges they had experienced in working in an interdisciplinary way…and there were lots!
Bearing in mind these challenges, we then asked participants to think about how we want to work together differently in the AIR Network. Participants brainstormed the personal attributes of a ‘good interdisciplinary team member’, which we compiled and agreed on as a group. These form the basis of the AIR Network’s interdisciplinary working agreement, and includes having patience, respecting others, listening, being generous, and having a sense of humour.
When the going gets tough in our project, we will use the agreement to remind ourselves of how we all agreed to work together. We’ll let you know how well it works!
Post by Heather Price, Stirling University