chapter  11
9 Pages

Making art matter: navigating the collaborative turn

ByIen Ang, Phillip Mar

To make the university matter, scholars are being urged out of our so-called ivory towers, to extend our research activity beyond the walls of academia. This is not just a rallying call to do more “fieldwork” and then take the findings back into the safe and exclusive confines of the academic world. Instead, we are expected to participate in today’s broader knowledge society, entering into collaborative partnerships with groups, organizations, and communities with whom to develop knowledge together. This “collaborative turn” has been gaining force for some time. As described by Gibbons in The New Production of Knowledge, this new mode of knowledge production is guided by the imperative of usefulness, with the pursuit of knowledge taking place in distinct contexts of application where a heterogeneous team of people (or “stakeholders”) work together to address a particular problem or challenge. This is a question not just of “applied research” (applying already existing knowledge), but of the creation of genuinely new, contextually significant knowledge, characterized by transdisciplinarity, social accountability, and reflexivity.1