Perspectives on Knowledge

5th June 2018, words by Cathy Stancer

Introducing a week of perspectives on knowledge

We published the most recent version of our approach to change recently, and last week, our CEO, Julian Corner blogged about what this means to us in our work.

Knowledge and evidence are clearly parts of the professionalised structures he describes and undoubtedly help to feed the need we all feel, as he puts it, for certainty and order.

Where other aspects of systems are starting to be opened up to critical analysis, we are arguably mostly unconscious of the implications of the way knowledge works. We don’t often interrogate the assumptions which underpin the ways knowledge is generated and used.

This week we’ll be sharing some views from colleagues, partners and fellow travellers on different aspects of the ‘knowledge system’, including on the practical uses of work that we have got underway in the form of Hard Edges (working title) Scotland.

From our own point of view, we welcome all these perspectives – no one approach is right or wrong. The golden thread here for us is the need for consciousness and reflection about the ways knowledge is generated and used. What is it doing in the world and is it moving us towards a more effective system, characterised for us by the system behaviours we’ve set out?

We will be holding a series of conversations over the summer and autumn through which we want to find collaborative ways to build the health of the knowledge system. We’ll be considering whether it is possible to develop non-reductive, participatory evidence resources which support those in charities and public systems to work more effectively on issues of multiple exclusion. We’ll be considering how to approach evaluation in complexity (particularly in place-based work). We’ll also be wading out into deep waters looking at alternative ethical and spiritual frameworks for our knowledge. What would happen if the assumptions underpinning our knowledge were those of interconnectedness and mutual dependency?

We welcome thoughts and ideas on any of these topics. For the moment, the best place to communicate with us is via twitter or to email myself and my colleague directly.

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