To have worked on our TAD project – interlacing art, sexuality, and theories on perception – has taught me quite a few lessons on interdisciplinarity. These three domains, indeed, are by essence interdisciplinary by the fact that they intertwine cultural history, theology, sociology, but also psychology and the cognitive sciences; an accurate picture of the perception of sexuality in art at a certain time and place necessarily requiring an engagement with all and in-between all of these disciplinary fields.
This interdisciplinary requirement did not go without issues, to say the least: for a five minute presentation, we had to condense all of this varied material in a few disciplinarily intertwined ideas. This may be the biggest challenge of an interdisciplinary study and a Liberal Arts analysis in general – the one of juggling with this tsunami of information and having the eye to only select and keep the essential ideas or illustrations for your overall argument. This in turn, of course, pre-requires structure, focus and an understanding of what precisely is aimed to be argued.
On another note, to have worked with a group on that task was also deeply enriching. To the trans-disciplinarity of our study was, in a challenging way, added the trans-subjective perspectives that we each had on art (how to analyze it), sexuality (the extent of its freedom) and spectatorial subjectivity (is it absolutely relative or moderately relative in relation to a specific culture?). This invited us to open our minds, be flexible and make concessions – to put into question what previously seemed evident to us. This is a crucial vulnerability to accept, as in the working world, conceptual and intellectual diversity and adversity will always prevail and challenge our preconceptions.
The ultimate difficulty of working as a group, quite obviously, was also to coordinate, organize, and autonomously fulfill our self-made tasks and deadlines. We had to work as a team in making choices and thereafter make a plan as to how and when to get to certain goals. For instance, when we decided that we each had to find a particular case study at the beginning of the semester, before the next time we would meet. In this, the use of social media was very useful – WhatsApp, with its ability to mention specific members of the group or reply directly to messages (as well as send images, voice messages, documents) was a great tool with which we can undeniably work on a group project later on in the professional area. It was also a place in which questions could be asked and brainstormings could be made, without the necessity to meet in persons.
In conclusion, by interlacing teamwork with interdisciplinarity, this final Liberal Arts module clearly taught us two vital skills to use in professional life, both within the scope of our undergraduate teaching and extra to it, within the scope of social and organizational life.