Multiple knowledges, what does it mean to us?
The IKM emergent programme is concerned with a number of issues but one of its central premises, and perhaps where it’s biggest added value resides, is the concept of multiple knowledges, and how to take them into account when developing IKM interventions.
On the first day of the annual IKM working groups’ meeting in Cambridge, working group 3 tried to unpack this core concept that will shape IKM Emergent work in the four-year period to come.
As a starting point, our group tried to make sense of signals we had sensed re: the concept of multiple knowledges, i.e. what we understood was the underlying idea behind and what it could mean for IKM Emergent’s work.
Random associations came to our mind: Power relations, power structures, multiple realities, world views i.e. between individuals, group knowledge, community of practice etc. Who is deciding what is knowledge or what is relevant knowledge?
Multiple knowledges, multiple worldviews, how to create space for them in development interventions and how to connect them?
Thanks to our ever inspired Valerie Brown, we continued our discussion based on a series of research activities in several hundreds of Western communities, which identified five different constructions of knowledge:
- Individual knowledge
- Local community knowledge
- Specialised knowledge
- Organisational knowledge (also related to political knowledge);
- Holistic knowledge
These constructs relate to learning styles and provide various systems of rating the relevance of knowledge sources.
From there we tried to identify key dimensions of knowledge which could influence one’s worldview (and as such would hint at the multiple knowledges we are concerned with):