Tecnologie e Società


Pedagogical Faultlines
Geert Lovink


International Workshop on Alternatives in Education

On 21 and 22 September 2007, a workshop will be organized by Waag Society, Sarai (India) and the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam.

URL: (Dutch and English version available).

You can find more background in this email below. The full program will be available early July.

Four themes will be tackled at the conference:

Extra-institutional Pedagogy
New Sources of Knowledge
Social Knowledge and Professional Practice
Multi-site Practices

The conference is meant for advanced people from the educational field. They will participate in the 2-day conference/workshop.

Regarding the 2-day event the different speakers from India, Brazil and the Netherlands can fill in their session. We are thinking of a different way of approaching the event than the usual concept: a speech and at the end questions. It would be interesting to make it more participative and interactive, since we are here to discuss different, experimental, innovative, creative ways of conveying knowledge, thus we should also try it here. An idea is to request the different speakers new ways to convey their messages.

One idea is to start of with a general introduction concerning the topic of the session; next the various speakers could prepare an interactive session regarding their educational field.For example it would be interesting how CRIT [Collective Research Initiatives Trust] actually teaches students about architecture, but how can you teach cities? How do you ask youth from the Bijlmer to tell something about their lives, try to put yourself in their position and tell your own life story?

It would be even more interesting if we could have interactive sessions with participants and the concerning students, to see what they learn, how they learn. Speakers could try to bring audiovisuals, or maybe even a mobile version of their educational toolkit, so that participants can experiment hands on with the various educational methods.

Because of the limited capacity it is recommended that you register in time. Please write to:

A workshop on issues in learning practices and knowledge creation in the contemporary


1) Extra - institutional Pedagogy

Emerging from crisis within formal educational structures, pedagogical practices have been forced to move into more ‘informal networks’, intimating new possibilities of pedagogical forms, structures, resources and practices. These are sites that open up the question around the "professionalisation" of pedagogical purposes and also the nature of the pedagogical intervention, where the role of the teacher and the learner are routinely destabilized. Traditionally, the development discourse around knowledge has been in terms of knowledge transfer (from the more knowledgeable to the less knowledgeable) and access (for the ‘knowledge deprived’ to ‘information resources’). This rubric of the programme would suggest instead the need to move away from the paradigm of ‘transfer and access’ towards paying more attention to the processes of generating and sustaining different forms of socially situated creativity and knowledge. The crucial question that lingers within these practices could be framed as - are these sites for ways of living in the world or are these just another adjunct to learning to prepare for the world?

2) New Sources of Knowledge

Over the last decade we have witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the sites and modalities of knowledge production and access. This expansion has gestured towards new questions around the authority of knowledge producers and validity of what would be considered as knowledge. The question of establishing trust in open formats, of intellectual integrity and property, of sharing and plagiarism are all opened up once we enter the world of blogs and wikis, google downloads and non-moderated discussion lists. Similarly hard questions face us when we consider the worlds of ‘traditional knowledge’, once derided by science but increasingly valorized by those in search of alternatives to the contemporary, that may or may not share the modern practices of standardization and validation of knowledge. The traffic of content across languages and cultures through translation, available both in print and through lists and blogs, provides a third context to think about new domains of knowledge, this time in the vernacular worlds that have adapted new media technologies to their own purpose. It is not enough to bring down the canon. The big challenge would be to conceptualize the dialogical nature of these knowledge formations, keeping alive their internal modes of debate, inconsistencies, conflicts, discussions, contradictions and difference.

3) Social Knowledge and Professional Practice

The making of professional practices draws simultaneously upon theoretical and practical knowledge. However, the technical and the social, theoretical and practical coexist not in synchrony but in tension, with pedagogical practices comfortable with one or the other. The choice of the technical seeks a neutral, scientific ground while many accounts opting for social and practice based knowledge often adopt a populist anti-intellectual agenda. The professional seeks to discredit ‘lay knowledges’ while the experiential strives to establish itself as the ground of authenticity, privileging the experience of distinct social groups over any universal conception of ‘truth’. Further, these tensions play themselves out very differently in various institutional geographies. The debates in this realm are simultaneously about power, identity and the nature of modernity in various parts of the globe and together they pose some of the most significant challenges to the making of global democratic futures. This thematic will thus address the tensions between social knowledge and professional practice as these are taught and experienced in particular disciplines and across different institutional sites with a view to linking the question of pedagogy with issues of power and authority, cultural sensibilities and the multiple ways in which we dwell in the contemporary.

4) Multi-site Practices

It is a given that people, concepts and practices travel. Conceptualizing multi-site practices in education oscillates between the ease of global transfer of best practices and the utter impossibility of translations across cultural boundaries. This raises the problem of the travel of situated practices of pedagogy that address similar concerns and common questions enabling provocations and inspirations and thus substituting model building exercises for culturally sensitive pedagogical practices that dialogue through their difference. Multi-site pedagogical practices is not simply an invitation to collecting and adding new sites, of arching the different worlds that exists in any given present, but allowing these various selves to collide with and infiltrate each other, without the privileging of any one self over the other. This disturbing, intimate friction creates new enabling contexts that allow us to imagine the possibility of a critical and reflective practice of development. In other words, what is at stake is the fashioning of new terms of dialogue that allow for mutual learning and sharing across diverse social and spatial locations, experimenting not only with the production of content but also the forms and networks through which these circulate.

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