In a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world we need all our senses to work and “think”, to live, together. Is this a new concept? Not really. This is what we always have been doing in the practices of scientific research, engineering and policy making. Despite the fact that these practices are mostly recognised as technocratic, planned and deterministic, still, dreams, beliefs and emotions that bring people and their thoughts and ideas together never left that make-able building. That’s what we see when we conduct research and design collaboratively between professionals in processes of innovation. After all, professionals are human beings, not a role.
However, we are forced to split our brains in much of our educational systems and professional practices, since we think we need to convince the other by sheer concrete knowledge and facts instead of starting a real dialogue, which to me is an inquiry into ideas. And for this hearts-on, minds-on and even hands-on approach, we need all our senses. Till recently we even disregarded craftsmanship as an inferior way of reasoning. But look at a wonderfully made piece of furniture and you can see how physics, chemistry, behaviour, beliefs and aesthetics come together. Touch it, and you know it. Try to create transdisciplinary collaboration between people through art, design and entrepreneurship, and you know it — felt knowledge as I learned in Athens.
Working with all the different tutors in Greece, I recognised the eagerness in endeavouring to bring together ideas, dreams, knowledge and beliefs. Using this whole repertoire on top of dialogue, shared knowledge, hope, fear, disappointment and joy — the use of artefacts and tools to work around the problem at stake — this is the future of education. I felt inspired by these minds-on, hearts-on and hands-on practices.
The whole idea of SciCulture was rather abstract to me before heading to Athens. But now I see the ‘field lab’ that we all brought together, one in which I’m excited to practice what we preach and combine art, science, entrepreneurship, engineering and craftsmanship. It would be a pity if we approach the analysis and the synthesis towards SciCulture’s next stage in Bergen, Norway from just a science, or art, or design, or entrepreneurship view only. I look forward to, as the students showed us, work around the challenge with all we have and determine which 45% of the present we keep and which 55% of the future of transdisciplinary learning we need to create. Let all SciCulture Ambassadors that we have met, and are going to meet, decide in the end whether we’ve succeeded.
They touched it, and they know it.
This post was written by Maarten van der Sanden from TU Delft, Netherlands.