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Action Research - developing insights on artful knowing in everyday life

How can an imaginative, creative approach meet organisational challenges? Rob Warwick and James Traeger explore artful ways of knowing and action research.
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How can an imaginative, creative approach to work help us to meet organisational challenges? Dr Rob Warwick, Reader in Management and Organisational Learning at the University of Chichester and Dr James Traeger, Mayvin Director explore artful ways of knowing.

If we are to find solutions to difficult problems we need to pay attention to different and artful ways of knowing. These are forms of knowledge that draw attention to the fact that we are all creative people able to see and live in the world in imaginative ways. This is despite what school and formal education might have done to us in forcing us to think in linear and scientific ways.

However, it is more than this; it is social too. For example, what conversations can we have to enable others to see their world differently and how can they do likewise for us? Both of us became intrigued by the artistry of everyday life in our book, Organisation Development – A Bold Explorer’s Guide, in the chapter Artful Practice to Inspire Human Systems we said of art:

"... in this sense is not just the creation of beautiful objects by the talented few; it extends to the way do our daily work, at home and beyond, and what we see in others on the broadest canvases. To meet the challenges of the future new and imaginative ways of working will be essential" (p77).

Recently we became Associate Editors of the Action Research Journal, focusing on organisation development. In order to get to know the journal in a fresh way, we set ourselves a challenge: in going back through the fifteen years of the journal, which six articles have the most relevance to artful knowing?

This is not just about coming up with a list; it is more. What new insights can we generate from one article shining a light on another, perhaps years apart? Most intriguingly, how might different subject areas come together to say something new? A couple of questions: one on what we should be looking for, the second the questions we should be asking, so:

What sort of difference to people’s lives, communities, work and workplaces should we hope to find in this writing?

Taking artful knowing in organisation development as an example, what kind of questions should we be asking? Contact us to join our upcoming zoom call about artful knowing in organisations or tweet us @smilerob @jrtraeger @MayvinLtd

Rob Warwick and James Traeger

Ref: Traeger, J. & Warwick, R (2018) Organisation Development: A Bold Explorer’s Guide, Libri Books.

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