Interdisciplinary cooperation is one of the values that Bath Spa University prides itself on, so I was delighted to read Nick Jennings of Imperial College London advocating this approach (“Overly specialised graduates risk replacement by machines”, News, 18 August).
Collaborations between subject areas mean that students are exposed to creative practitioners and researchers. One of the most iconic examples of creative collaboration is Apple. When introducing the iPad 2 in 2012, Steve Jobs said that “technology alone is not enough – it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with humanities, that yields results that make our hearts sing”.
Curricula that encourage entrepreneurial thought allow students to enter successful careers within pioneering companies or start their own businesses, adding further diversity to the UK economy.
It is encouraging that more universities and academics from a range of subject backgrounds are starting to see the benefits of interdisciplinarity as a way to, in Jennings’ words, “tackle grander global challenges”. If the STEM sector is looking for inspiration on the best way to do this, they could look to the creative arts, which have long thrived on a diet of shared knowledge and expertise. With the UK creative industries worth £84.1 billion a year to the UK economy, it is clear this approach is working.
Bath Spa University