Jane Gilbert’s, ‘Catching the Knowledge Wave’


Knowledge society: the social, economic and political changes that are taking place as countries move from the industrial to the post-industrial age

  • based on developing and exploiting new forms of knowledge
  • shows increase in the creative, technology or service based industries
  • linked with developments in information and communications technologies while people’s understanding of time, space and place are changing
  • new forms of info, new ways of presenting info and new forms of money emerge
  • more complex forms of personal identity
  • in economic terms new work order based on fast capitalism and new forms of production and new management systems. this changes the meaning of knowledge, innovation and learning. knowledge is now innovation, innovation is quality and quality control is knowledge management. knowledge, in the Knowledge Society, has a different meaning from the one it has in educational contexts.

Castells: knowledge is not a thing; it is energy; it is defined by its effectiveness in action and the results it achieves; it’s what causes things to happen; it is sth produced collaboratively by teams of people; it is constantly changing. [The Network Society]

Lyotard: he too advocated for knowledge as energy or ability to do things (performativity); used in an as-and-when-needed basis; many reasons, many truths, many knowledges are possible and desirable; traditional disciplinary boundaries will dissolve; new conceptions of learning will develop; people will develop and understanding of an organized stock of public and professional knowledge to pursue performativity, to apply it to new situations. [The Postmodern Condition]


  • process, not a thing
  • does things
  • happens in teams
  • can’t be divided into disciplines
  • develops in an as-and-when-needed basis
  • develops to be replaced, not stored


  • involves generating new knowledge, not storing
  • is a group activity
  • happens is real-world
  • should be just-in-time not just-in-case
  • needs to be a la carte

Minds are not containers, but resources that can be connected to other resources for the purpose of generating new knowledge

To summarize then, developing a Knowledge Society education system involves approaches that can:
Develop new knowledge – through real research, not teacher-initiated projects. Knowledge Age schools need to be producers – not consumers – of knowledge;
Develop multi-modal literacy (understanding and using non-print modes of making meaning – images, sounds, gestures/body language and so on);
Foreground the relationships, connections and interactions between different knowledge systems and different modes of representation;
Emphasize difference and diversity, not sameness and/or one-size-fits-all approaches;
Foreground process not product;
Help learners build a sense of themselves as active knowledge- builders – as having a unique niche, role and/or point of difference/contribution to make.



Jane Gilbert, 2010. Catching the Knowledge Wave. In Education Canada Vol 47 (3) www.cea-ace.ca,  ISSN 0013-1253

Image available here

information v informational society


  • information society: focuses on the role of info in society, communication of knowledge as it has always existed
  • informational society: indicates the attribute of a specific form of social organization in which information generation, processing and transmission become the fundamental sources of productivity and power because of new technological conditions emerging in this historical period /in parallel to industry and industrial where industrial stands for a society whose ind organization permeate all spheres of activity/ one of its key features is the networking logic of its basic structure which explains the basic concept ‘network society’, however, the rem doesn’t exhaust all the meaning of informational society



Castells, Manuel (1996, second edition, 2009). The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I. Malden, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22140-1, pp.21-24

Image available here

Mode 2: Transdisciplinar Knowledge


  • problem solving carried out following the codes of practice relevant to a particular discipline: the context is defined in relation to the cognitive and social norms that govern basic research
  • problem solving organized around a particular application (mode 2): knowledge results from a broader range of considerations, it is produced under an aspect of continuous negotiation and it will not be produced unless and until the interests of the various actors are included, it is also socially distributed.

Transdisciplinarity has four features:

  • it develops a distinct but evolving framework to guide problem-solving efforts. This framework is generated and sustained within the context of application, not extrinsic to it.
  • the solution comprises both empirical and theoretical components and it is an undeniable contribution to knowledge but not necessarily disciplinary knowledge
  • the results are communicated to those who have participated, in the course of that participation. the diffusion of the results is initially accomplished in the process of their production, subsequent diffusion occurs as original practitioners move to new problem contexts not by reporting
  • it is dynamic, on the move, it is difficult to predict the future applications of the knowledge produced



Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P., Trow, M., 2005. The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. London; Thousand Oaks; New Delhi: Sage Publications, First published in 1994. ISBN 0-8039-7793-X, pp. 3-6

Image available here 

Changing Relations between Science and Society


  • The Risk Society Thesis (Beck): a variant of post-industrialism, outgrowth of nuclear energy, production from ‘goods’ to ‘bads’, the manufacturing of uncertainties, need for reflexivity about the limits of science
  • Post-Normal Science (Ravetz): science and politics distinction is no longer valid, related to change from government to governance, rise of new fields of management, an inherent complexity in understanding risks, a need for policy-oriented risk assessment
  • New Mode of Knowledge Production (Gibbons et al): change in range and scope, market orientation, corporate control. university-industry collaboration, the state as strategist, blurring discursive boundaries, breaking down institutional borders, mixing skills and knowledge. Transdisciplinarity (mode 2): knowledge emerges from a particular context of application with its own distinct theoretical structures and research methods which may not be locatable in the prevailing disciplinary map.
  • From Science to Research-Constructivism (Latour)


References and Image: Andrew Jamison, Changing Contexts of Science. Slideshare Presentation

academic V applied knowledge


It is a second-order form of knowledge seeking abstractions and generalizations based on reasoning and evidence. It has four major components:

  • transparency: the source can be traced and verified
  • codification: the knowledge can be consistently represented in some form that enables interpretation by someone other than the originator
  • reproduction: knowledge can be reproduced or have multiple copies
  • communicability: knowledge must be in a form that can be communicated and challenged by others

applied knowledge is knowing how to do things, and hence by definition tends to be multi-disciplinary while academic knowledge is knowledge that goes beyond the here and now knowledge of everyday experience to a higher plane of
understanding (Gilbert)

It is equally important also to enable students to develop the ability to know how to find, analyze, organize and apply information/content within their professional and personal activities, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to be flexible and adaptable in developing new knowledge and skills. All this is needed because of the explosion in the quantity of knowledge in any professional field that makes it impossible to memorize or even be aware of all the developments that are happening in the field, and the need to keep up-to-date within the field after graduating.



Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning Vancouver BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-9952692-0-0., pp. 59-64

Image: Eden Morfaux, ‘Etude d’après Saint Jérôme dans son étude, Antonello da Messina, 1475’, 2008, available here

A history of doctoral studies in Scandinavia


until the 1970’s: research education revolved around phd projects in which students derived their subject of research from their professional or pedagogical practice. the motivation was to conclude a professional career by reflecting one’s own interests. supervisors were most often non scholars, but highly esteemed practitioners with very little experience of research. the format was master-apprentice/ research was a marginal phenomenon while practice was dominant. 

beginning of the 1970’s: pressure was put for the development of a more academic profile in educational programs. sciences with more theoretically developed foundations, offered models that could influence arch programs. “normal research” was imitated. arch and urban design studies were considered as applied science and phd students of that time were asked to renounce their prof backgrounds as designers.arch research lacked awareness of its own intellectual identity in the dialogue between arch and various other disciplines. academics discussed the idea of developing a field-specific academic identity and epistemological basis more founded on the specific knowledge modes of arch. up until the 90’s the formats were two: the apprentice-master relationship and those who tried to extend curricula with new ambitions of introducing knowledge based on research

early 1990’s: the challenge was to legitimize the phd as ‘academic enough’, attempts were made to formulate frameworks for what practice-embedded issues were legitimate topics for research. critique on modernism brought influences from other fields outside arch

late 1990’s: the ‘from outside’ tendency was criticized. in 1992 a Nordic network of collaboration was established to determine national contexts, possible contents and methods of research in the fields of making knowledge. since then research education at several Scandinavian schools of architecture has been focusing on developing field-specific design scholarship

1996: TU Delft organized the conference entitled ‘Doctorates in Design and Architecture’. it was noted that both the academic and professional worlds were too conventional in their view of design and too limited by traditional preconceptions of the divisions between science and art

1997: Christopher Frayling led a group and issued a report entitled ‘Practice-Based Doctorates in the Creative and Performing Arts and Design‘. They concluded
that “there is already a continuum from scientific research to creative practice”

2000: TU Delft organized the second international conference entitled ‘Research by Design’. it was a milestone as it elucidated the issues of scientific research, design and research by design. the profiles of architecture and design faculties began to be more nuanced than the traditional division between practitioners and theoreticians. The format still relied on the master-apprentice relation between teacher-practitioners and students, but those educators who were interested in research no longer appeared to represent an opposite pole in education, as their understanding of research came ever closer to practice amidst increasing attempts to develop field-specific scholarship

after 2000’s: research was directed to fields of research that were either SUPRA-DISCIPLINARY or SUB-DISCIPLINARY. It was through the now-canonical work “The New Production of Knowledge” by Michael Gibbons et al. that the notion of transdisciplinarity became widely spread. This transdisciplinary knowledge production also used methods and tools from practice, not least including design thinking and tools, and the authors called this mode of knowledge production Mode 2 in relation to the traditional, academic Mode 1. The founders of the Mode 1 / Mode 2 movement emphasize that in order to master the tasks of Mode 2, one has to get through an apprenticeship in Mode 1. the concept of transdisciplinarity also began to be discussed in the international field of architectural theory.

2003: Bologna-Berlin policies recognized doctoral studies as the third cycle in European higher education

2013: three conferences were held at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture. the latest in 2013 was entitled ‘Knowing (by) Designing‘. The proceedings of this series of conferences from 1996 to 2013 can be regarded as documenting the growing awareness among practitioners, teachers, and researchers that field-specific design scholarship should more self-consciously and more courageously seek its own, more field-specific mode.

2010’s: From dyadic to triadic identities and exchanges between education, practice, and research. research program under the name of Architecture in the Making aims to develop theories and methods from the perspective of, and in collaboration with, arch practice to strengthen arch research. Research within this environment includes doctoral projects, post-doc projects, and projects for senior researchers.



Halina Dunin-Woyseth, Fredrik Nilsson, 2014.  Design Education, Practice, and Research: On Building a Field of Inquiry. In STUDIES IN MATERIAL THINKING, Vol 11, Paper 01, ISSN: 1177-6234

Image available here

Frayling’s stereotypes

The popular images/stereotypes of:

  • the fine artist as an expressive lunatic when artists have worked as often in the cognitive idiom as the expressive, also some art counts as research while some art doesn’t
  • the designer as style warrior, superficial, trendy, obsessed with surfaces and signs
  • the scientist as a critical rationalist, engaged in fundamental research. in popular culture they are saints or sinners. Feyerabend and Collins have stressed that in science there may be conjectures but many of them are unconscious, they involve a significant measure of subjectivity
  • the practitioner as if action that follows reflection or reflection that follows action can be put in a box named practice

when doing science is much more like doing design. David Gooding stressed the links between experimental scientists and creative artists.



Christofer Frayling, 1993. Research in Art and Design. In Royal College of Art Research Papers, Vol 1, No 1, 1993/4