MasterClass 1: Dr Etienne Wenger – follow-up discussion

A word from Professor Alan Tomlinson:

Thanks to all of you who got to Etienne Wenger’s MasterClass on Monday, truly kicking off the ARENA programme.

It would be really interesting to hear how his thinking and his ways of theorising communities of practice and landscapes of learning, and identifying convening/conveyors within the theory, have illuminated particular aspects of individual projects, in relation especially to methodology and your own research designs. Do get your thoughts and comments on this onto the ARENA Forum on the website.

Posted on 02/10/2014 in Arena Research

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Responses (2)

  1. Kimberley Chandler
    02/10/2014 at 10:18 am · Reply

    In the first ARENA Master Class, Dr Etienne Wenger made the distinction between “competence” and “knowledgeability” in relation to “communities of practice”—both of which directly address the question of specialism. A competent practitioner is one who demonstrates the ability or skill to do something well, which can be read in the renewed interest in craftsmanship in recent years; while knowledge-ability—the ability to be knowledgeable—is about adaptability and imagination. A practitioner who demonstrates knowledgeability can sufficiently negotiate the varied landscape of practice, while not necessarily being the most competent. “Knowledgeability is an improvisational dance”, asserts Wenger, which sounds compelling to contemporary practitioners. In a world where makers are often working outside of the confines of their discipline—what Glenn Adamson refers to as the “post-studio environment”—knowledgeability is about a dialogue with practice that is provisional, dynamic, and incredibly inventive.

  2. Professor Alan Tomlinson
    08/10/2014 at 2:53 pm · Reply

    Thanks Kimberley. I like the cross-reference to the “post-studio” environment. It came out of a really interesting, and important, conversation about competence and knowledgeability. Any other comments from participants on particular contexts or topics?



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