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Embracing Diversity and Collaboration: A Journey of Personal and Professional growth.

Updated: Feb 14

by Dr Jacob Obodai, Post Doc Researcher from the UK Team.


An Enriching journey of interdisciplinarity and inclusivity.


In the fortunate collaboration with a diverse and interdisciplinary team, our project, funded by ESRC and delivered through the Trans-Atlantic Platform, has been an enriching experience. The team includes scholars from various disciplines such as political science, public administration, economics, social sciences, business administration and human geography.

 

What makes this collaboration even more special is the diverse backgrounds in terms of race, nationality, ethnicity, and gender, creating a mosaic of perspectives. As the only Black African member in our 11-member team spread across the UK, US, Canada, and Poland, I have navigated this diversity with respect for individual differences while celebrating my own identity. Being the sole team member of my background, I make sure to treat every contribution from my colleagues equally and inclusively. Despite potential challenges, I have embraced guidance with an open mind, avoiding any bias towards my identity.


The interdisciplinary nature of our project has proven to be a profoundly enriching journey both personally and professionally. The collaboration has allowed us to harness the unique values each team member brings to the table, creating a rich array of experiences. Our decision-making processes, driven by collaboration, have fostered a highly rewarding environment.

 

New Orleans: face to face project meeting and bonding.


One exciting chapter of this journey was our face-to-face meeting in New Orleans, bringing together colleagues who had collaborated virtually for nearly a year. The shock of seeing people in person and discovering the warm personalities hidden behind computer screens was an indescribable feeling. Bonding over meals and coffee not only strengthened the synergy of thoughts and ideas among outside team members but also within our immediate team. Leading training workshops as part of knowledge exchange facilitated by the project team was an awesome experience, providing opportunities to reach a wider audience and build new networks.


The team enjoying some coffee and beignets in New Orleans, January 2024


The use of technology, such as Zoom meetings and Slack, has been instrumental in working across different countries and disciplines. However, the face-to-face meeting offered a unique opportunity for extended discussions, planning, and strategizing for the next phases of the project. It allowed us to hear the divergent and convergent views of the project team, accompanied by their body language and physical gestures – a fun and enriching process.

 

My reflection

In reflection, a large interdisciplinary team across different countries can greatly benefit from such face-to-face meetings at least once a year. It not only enhances team dynamics but also strengthens the networks built through virtual collaborations. This journey has been a testament to the power of diversity and collaboration in fostering personal and professional growth.

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Thomas Bryer
Thomas Bryer
02 feb

Jo, thanks for your reflections here! I am particularly excited that I asked some of the folks you trained to train students on my team to conduct the analysis of interview data. We are building both individual and collective capacity to work across methods as we go, and we are developing deeper understanding of the value of different kinds of data. Awesome work!

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