Urban Futures Open Research School course

When writing matters: Exploring writing as inquiry

PhD course, fall 2019 at Urban Futures Open Research School, 4,5 ECTS Organised by Mistra Urban Futures/ Chalmers

Transdisciplinary co-production has emerged as a research approach to reach knowledge about how to identify, deal with and solve complex societal issues. This entails integrating different research actors and knowledge from both society and academia, into the same creative process. The Urban Futures Open Research School has during 2017–19 delivered a set of successful PhD courses as introductions to methods and capacities for transdisciplinary co-produced research. This course takes its starting point in previous experiences, namely in the inquiry of different methods and processes for collaborative writing, with the aim to further explore how writing matters in transdisciplinary research projects.

Writing is without doubt a key practice in scholarly work. Nevertheless, in traditional research approaches, writing has primarily been approached as a representational tool, used to communicate the results once the analysis is completed. Thus, writing becomes a retrospective exercise and ‘an add-on to research and scholarship instead of an integral part of it’ (Badley 2009: 209). In envisioning that writing can be something more than a mechanical reporting on what we already know, Richardson and St. Pierre (2005:971–972) asked: ‘What else might writing do except mean?’. In other words, writing as a  method of inquiry. The purpose of this course is to explore writing, as a way of carrying out transdisciplinary research  involving both academia and practice. However, we are not only working on writing as a method, but also on how we can understand writing as a collaborative process; “collaborative writing as inquiry”.

The course will intensely explore ’the text’, not only as writing exercises, but also as collective reading exercises, to deeply engage with texts of different kinds. Througout the course, we will focus on the process of writing and how you can develop your own writing practices. The course will be conducted in a workshop mode and aim for an intimate setting of both academic researchers, PhD students and experienced practitioners with an interest in understanding the capacity of writing, of evolving one’s own writing knowledge, and of writing together. The course also invites participants of previous courses at the Urban Futures Open Research School.


This course is offered for you who are dealing with so called 'wicked urban problems' in your daily practice or who aim to address such current and future urban challenges in your PhD research, and who see the urgency for a transdisciplinary approach in your practice. We will start with a half-day ‘crash course’ introduction to transdisciplinary research, but will from there move onwards into writing through individual and joint exercises. A joint examination assignment will conclude the course.


In order to be eligible for the course the applicant must fulfil and prove the general entry requirements for postgraduate studies i.e. master's degree or equivalent. Each applicant should also send in a short letter of motivation, describing his/hers interest for transdisciplinary co-production and writing. A CV is also required.


The course will be performed at the 'language spoken in the room', i.e Swedish or English depending on the participation at each moment.


21st of October 2019.


Download the Course Plan here. 


Send your application to: researchschool.uf@chalmers.se


For further questions, contact Henrietta Palmer, Deputy Scientific Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Henrietta.palmer@chalmers.se


  • Course Plan - When writing matters: Exploring writing as inquiry