Beyond Individual Knowledge Creation

Abstract: Collective knowledge production and sharing are fundamental topics to critical discussions on education and creative practices. They often highlight issues of identity erasure and the lack of recognition of certain narratives due to imbalances in power structures. In this piece, projektado collective embarks on these discussions through the perspective of a group that adopts individual anonymity both as a statement and as a method. As a statement, it intends to incite reflections on the glorification of individual production and the hyper-focus on outcome in design practice, research and education. As a method, it allows us to explore collaborative and continuous work through the development of trust, companionship, responsibility and care. This spontaneously recorded conversation emphasises the need to critically approach the debate on identity in knowledge sharing while proposing free dialogue as a method of continual knowledge production.

Keywords: identity, collectivity, design education, anonymity, knowledge creation


In the current panorama of critical debate in the field of creative practices, we see an increasing discussion on the importance of diversifying the actors involved in processes of knowledge creation and sharing. It is frequently pointed out that unexamined assumptions that dominate mainstream knowledge practices in educational, professional, and leisure settings are far deeper and more extensive than they ostensibly seem. Such efforts usually take the form of extending attention to a broader range of identities and underrepresented expertise in mainstream institutions. However, these discussions often fail to connect identity awareness with the practical requirements of building genuine collective practices, leading to a deeper entrenchment of what we consider to be the norm: excessive individualisation of knowledge production and neglect of the procedural, collaborative, and continuous aspects of the work.

Under such circumstances, there is a need for open and collective conversations on how to bring people to work together and to recognise the undervalued aspects of their environments that contribute to their production of knowledge and culturally significant discourses.

In this piece, a few members of projektado collective attempt to open one of these conversations by questioning and reflecting on the inner workings and principles behind their collective work, as well as their focus on the debate on identity, authorship, and ownership in knowledge creation and sharing. We hope to offer critical perspectives on how we can construct better ways of knowing about and by design.

projektado (a design collective with members from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, as well as several fields of creative practice including architecture, industrial design, and urban planning) embarks on these discussions through the perspective of a collective that adopts individual anonymity both as a statement and as a methodology. As a statement, we intend to incite reflections and critiques on the glorification of individual production and the hyper-focus on outcome in design practice, research, and education. As a methodology, we allow the exploration of collaborative and continuous work through the development of trust, companionship, responsibility, and care.

Through an informal, unscripted, and unmoderated discussion, this audio piece invites the participants to reflect on their past projects and research, on their identity, and methodology. They touch on the importance of striking a balance between anonymising and labelling, and on the widespread neglection of collaborative aspects in research and knowledge production practices. They discuss the underappreciation of group dynamics and project environments, and the tendency of individual glorification to disrupt collaborative processes. They also reflect on the overemphasis in the design field on content and outcome at the expense of the process, imagining new ways to educate ourselves to shift this focus.

projektado

projektado is an international and transdisciplinary design collective that responds to the ways design is perceived, taught, practised, and consumed today. Formed in the vacuum of undiscussed issues and irresponsible design practices, we aim to revindicate the designer as a political, constructive, and critical force—a catalyst for social justice. Through our collective action, we aim to establish an open conversation, challenging the past, present, and future of our discipline. We intend to create a movement that carries design away from being a tool of profit, instead directing it towards a more responsible and accountable path. We contribute to a more democratic conception of our profession, one that is more ecologically and socially sustainable. A design of everyone and for everyone.