Science - March 23, 2006

Students launch web-magazine

Bunka is the name of a new web-magazine for transdisciplinary discussion. Although the initiators, a group of international students, consider WUR to be interdisciplinary in theory, they felt something was missing. By setting up an interactive web-magazine they hope to create a forum for more exchange of applied knowledge among students of different disciplines.

In the poetry room of ISOW, Antonio explains the concept of Bunka. ‘We wanted to think of a name that would be equally strange in all our languages, so we turned to Japanese. Bunka is the concept for culture in Japanese, but the emphasis is on literary or artistic production, implying the creation and refinement of a sophisticated object. It is the aspects of innovation and culture in the Japanese concept that link up with our objectives.’

Together with José and Marion, two of his fellow initiators, Antonio shares his thoughts on the importance of having a wide range of students involved in setting up this new digital magazine. ‘At present we are an unrelated group of people from all kinds of cultures and disciplines, and this is the time to build up a network where we can share applied knowledge on interdisciplinarity,’ Marion thinks. In addition to being a monthly magazine covering informative issues, the Bunka will offer an informal and interactive discussion space for students of different backgrounds.

‘We felt that especially the informal setting for discussion was missing in Wageningen,’ Marion continues. According to the initiators, a lot of the WUR-related topics are mostly discussed within the formal setting of a lecture room, and in terms of a single discipline. Interdisciplinarity is only dealt with at the abstract and theoretical level. ‘That is why we want to create a forum for more knowledge-sharing on practical problems and solutions, like our experiences with internships and theses.’

Eight international students are involved in setting up this new magazine, ‘But hopefully the initiative will evolve into a wide network of students all over the world, sharing their thoughts on WUR-related topics,’ Antonio explains. ‘It is a step-by-step process, which we hope to further by inviting students to participate now.’

The first issue will be launched on Monday 27 March, and features the dilemmas surrounding transgenetic terminator seeds. It’s an ambitious topic to start with, but as José puts it: ‘It may be a conceptually complex topic, but complex topics are there to be discussed.’ /MV

http://thebunka.blogspot.com

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