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Training in the TACK Network


Lara Schrijver

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Approaching Tacit Knowledge

In the first training axis, the ESRs were provided with foundational literature, providing an assemblage of existing theoretical scholarship on the question of tacit knowledge in order to build towards a consistent overall reference framework.
The second module was the first of many to take place online due to the pandemic, which highlighted questions of method and communication, and prompted the invention of new investigative techniques. The individual research projects were taken as a starting point and the ESRs were asked to explore research approaches, vocabularies, site conditions – in the process beginning to define the tools through which they could gain insight into tacit knowledge. As they took part in the training modules and explored their own topics, they produced and shared with each other a variety of research approaches in different media. In this training axis, the readers of the module were presented as a Konvolutt, which in Swedish means ‘envelope’ or cover, but also ‘something being knotted together’. Following a bibliography with references provided in the Konvolutts, this section presents some of the first works completed by the ESRs in the context of particular assignments, such as site visits and annotated literature reviews. Particularly in this first phase, ESRs were focused on gathering approaches that were to be found at the intersection of design training and academic literature, in order to seek out new ways to articulate the knowledge embedded in the objects of study. Along the way, the participants started to create a TACK archive of literature, objects, drawings, documents, traces, silences, memories, etc. Alongside this collective work, they developed their own particular signatures in processing information, whether it concerned techniques of mapping, of visual analysis or of experimental techniques.

Probing Tacit Knowledge

In the second training axis, the ESRs were provided with additional literature focusing on codes and conventions, especially in relation to architecture practice and particular contexts. The secondments, where the ESRs were invited to partake in and observe the activities of architecture offices, provided additional opportunities for hands-on investigation of the design process in practice as well as the tools and modes of communication.
As such, this training axis addressed conditions of practice, such as the well established conventions that become part of the professional and disciplinary culture, or those emerging in response to new technologies, social changes, or new expectations. Additionally, the performative aspects of the collectively shared values and belief systems operating within the profession were addressed through experimental approaches including re-enactment.
Overall, the constellation of secondments, training modules, and summer school provided insight into the negotiation between different practices, addressing the diverse and implicit forms of communicating and transferring knowledge between the architects and the cultures of the clients, the builders, the inhabitants.
As the ESRs further developed their own research project in tandem with the secondments and the research training, approaches emerged that allowed for a highly situated exploration of the knowledge implied in these conventions and performatove cultures of design.
This section presents examples of the output completed by the ESRs in the parallel trajectories of secondment and training. The results show how the ESRs begin to enrich the vested academic vocabulary through this dual approach, by exploring practices in the offices, while simultaneously situating them in a broader conversation on historical approaches and innovative research methods, thus opening up new horizons of understanding embedded in modes of practice.

Projective Capacities of Tacit Knowledge

In the final training axis, the ESRs brought their explora7ons together into a more precisely circumscribed research focus. As the research became increasingly defined, some of the more complex questions on tacit knowing and as yet undefined insights emerged. The modules in this training axis focused on facilita7ng the final phase of research, ensuring the ESRs had the opportunity to synthesize their research while also articulating their own position on tacit knowledge. In this phase, it became clear how this community of ten ESRs contributed to a new and insightful approach to research at the intersection of practice and theory through their collective efforts in literature review, archival study, practice, curation, visual methodologies and more.
By now, the foundational literature was well integrated and additional sources were primarily related to the specific research topics. The additional literature provided was therefore focused on overall reflections on architecture knowledge, research, and reflexivity. The literature aimed help position this research in the broader field.
This section presents a number of synthesizing articles and essays by the ESRs. The results show how they have successfully incorporated multiple vocabularies and continue to seek new theoretical concepts and new heuristic approaches to examine tacit knowledge, to how it works in architectural practice, and how it can be made explicit and communicated. As such, the projects provides insight in the perception and reception of tacit knowledge in architecture.