Ten PhD students started their TACK research on 1st March 2020 in 10 different universities. They met for the first time during the first Foundational Course meeting in The Netherlands. Here is a short report from the PhDs on the Foundational Course:
From 9-13 March, we, the ten Early Stage Researchers (ESR) that have been appointed to work on the ‘Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing’ ITN, met in The Netherlands for the inaugural meeting and first of three Foundational Course Sessions of the TACK programme. This meeting, which was hosted by TU Delft and Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, was full of lively discussions, getting to know all participants across workshops, lectures, building tours and meals. The Foundational Course Session addressed two main points.
First, it introduced all participants to their respective roles and expectations. The Coordinators of the network, who are based at ETH, presented the history of TACK, its current structure and how future meetings and courses will be organized, as well as the formal and legal aspects of the ITN. We all realised it would an intense program, involving activities to develop not only our own research, but contribute to constructing a broader knowledge base for the project overall. In addition, the ESRs and non-academic partners presented their work, research interests and experience, establishing how we would all fit into the network.
The second goal of the session was to develop of our skills and to introduce the main subject of the program: tacit knowledge in architecture. The ESRs participated in several workshops developing “portraits”, by identifying ideas and analysing their relation to tacit knowledge through different approaches. In the first workshop, general questions of what architecture represents both as a field of knowledge and a practice, as well as its relationship with the idea of community, were used as starting points for thought-provoking discussions between the PhD candidates and supervisors. After the presentation of the non-academic partners, the ESRs worked together to develop an initial analysis of the architectural practices, producing a visual mapping of our findings; explicating the convergences, differences and approaches towards tacit knowledge.
The following day, A/Professor Klaske Havik took the group on a tour of the Kunsthal, designed by OMA in 1992. This short urban walk and site visit suggested a certain way of approaching tacit knowledge through the lived experience of architectural work in close relation to the city and the broader cultural context within which this is placed. Following this tour, in the second workshop, a reader containing distinguished and varied texts concerning tacit knowledge from different perspectives was provided. The ESRs worked in groups, merging individual annotations and presenting their perspective and understanding of the readings. It revealed various interpretations of the topics, values and ideas regarding “tacit“ knowledge.
On the last day, we reflected on how we envision our individual research within the TACK frame through SWOT analysis. This revealed that even if we were initially positioned in a seemingly fixed and abstract structure, that we do have an opportunity to test this structure from within, understanding how flexible, open and useful the network could be. This initial understanding will be indeed fundamental for the overall proceeding of our common work within the TACK network. We certainly feel that this combination of formal and informal modes of operating is an excellent way to address the subject of tacit knowledge and also to allow the diverse members of this network to ‘tune up’ and work effectively together.