Monday, February 7, 2011

When worlds of knowledge collide...

Knowledge is not a clear-cut thing. Knowledge is messy. Knowledge doesn't neatly correspond to pre-established categories, such as Economics, Film Studies or Architecture. If you're wondering how the global financial crisis' impact on filmic texts can be traced in the very latest architectural projects, that's more like it. But it's impossible to do that without also evoking the construction industry, the politics of fashion, and the business of art direction.
Since we study knowledge in categories in university, we must seek to intertwine them, make them bleed together, have them fuse irreversibly to create gorgeous mutant forms. We must look at the representation of Physics in English literature - preferably in the works of someone like Jane Austen. We must look at the ways Law and Gender Studies intersect - and deduce that the (Australian) government isn't doing everything it can to stop workplace discrimination. We must explore the links between Theology and Medicine, then combine that with Interior Design and Information Technology. And then how does it all relate to Dance?
Don't accept knowledge that comes in boxes, no matter how revered those boxes are. Prestigious universities dangerously cling to the tradition that sees knowledge absorbed into the rigid categories they have created for it.
Instead of taking pride in how exclusively you can devote yourself to a single study stream, why not come up with the most likely of associations between the things you can conceptualise of in this life, and explore the links between them? To choose this path is to go where nobody else has gone before.

This post was kicked off by a Tweet from Christoper Hire, head of the innovation agency 2thinknow. He wrote that cross-[specialisation] is where innovation occurs.

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