With nearly 500 registered participants from all around the globe, the first Africa Conference on Transdisciplinarity (ACT-1) conference was a roaring success.
Hosted by the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), the online event themed “Transdisciplinary responses to grand challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond”, tackled transdisciplinary issues in communities, health systems and wellbeing.
The event was targeted at researchers, practitioners, community members, students and anyone interested in transdisciplinarity. It aimed to create conversations between all role players working in a transdisciplinary context to promote insight and understanding, to create support networks, and to share scientific and indigenous knowledge practices on transdisciplinarity on the African continent towards wellbeing for all. Furthermore, it aimed and to establish and launch the Africa Transdisciplinarity Network.
The jam-packed programme included presentations by various keynote speakers. They included Prof Frederick Marais and Prof Meredith Minkler who spoke about transdisciplinary community-based participatory research partnerships for health, and Dr Beth Engelbrecht who focused on the emotional wellbeing of healthcare and workers. Prof Andrew Kemp touched on the innovations, principles and applications of wellbeing, Prof John van Breda spoke about narrative action research for doing transformative transdisciplinary research on public health challenges, and Prof Correy Keyes addressed the importance of distinguishing eudaimonic from hedonic wellbeing.
Other presentations were about public mental health, hypertension, subsistence and smallholder farmers’ pesticide use and exposure for future interventions, and the unique profile and career trajectory of a transdisciplinary health researcher, among others.
“With the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from the participants, this conference will now become an annual event,” says Prof Petra Bester, director of AUTHeR.