Creating Edinburgh: The Interdisciplinary City

In this guest blog post, Dr David Overend, Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at Moray House School of Education and Sport, reflects on the Creating Edinburgh: The Interdisciplinary, an Edinburgh Futures Institute course he has co-created with students and colleagues.


When I created Creating Edinburgh: The interdisciplinary city, the groundwork had already been laid by three student interns (Sanjna Yechareddy, Vivienne Ainger and Vanessa Ombura), who had worked with Professors Sarah Cunningham-Burley and Sian Bayne to research options for designing an online, interdisciplinary course on Engaging with Edinburgh  I followed some of their paths, exploring different versions of the city and identifying those places where multiple ideas, stories and lives coalesced, creating something new in the moment of encounter. This work led to numerous meetings, both with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and with some of the people and groups who live and work in Edinburgh. The collaborations that emerged have been integral to the design and development of the course. It is a truly interdisciplinary effort and I am grateful to everyone who has co-created it with me. Importantly, this has also included the students who have enthusiastically and generously created new material, opening up new pathways into the city which can now be followed by others. The result is a collection of ‘field topics’. Each has an introduction to a specific site and a particular route through the city. For a course that has co-creation and collaboration at its heart, it felt important to reach out further, making the resources available more widely. The latest stage to the project has therefore been to create an Open Educational Resource. Working with Lorna Campbell and her colleague Charlie Farley, we have made sure that everything is licensed and attributed correctly and suitable for sharing as a public resource. Students have been closely involved in this process, with OER tutorials and support available to ensure that the content that has been created for assessment can also be shared. Students have responded so well to this, as the stakes have been productively raised and everyone is now aware that the final submission will actually be used by others, rather than marked and then forgotten about. Engaging in this process has created a sense of everybody on the course – students, tutors and professional services staff – all working together towards a new creation that will be widely accessible. It has been a perfect evolution of a course that will continue to reach beyond itself, changing and adapting to the dynamic, complex city that it sets out to explore.

You can access the Creating Edinburgh interdisciplinary OERs here:

Header image cropped from a concrete buildings under a cloudy sky by Szymon Shields, free to use image on Pexels.