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Ways of telling : tacit knowledge transfer for fashion design research

Finn, Angela L. (2010) Ways of telling : tacit knowledge transfer for fashion design research. In Ignite 10! Creative Industries Postgraduate Research Conference, 27th - 29th October, 2010, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The knowledge and skills of fashion and textiles design have traditionally been transferred through the indenture of an apprentice to a master. This relationship relied heavily on the transfer of explicit methods of design and making but also on the transfer of tacit knowledge, explained by Michael Polanyi as knowledge that cannot be explicitly known. By watching the master and emulating his efforts in the presence of his example, the apprentice unconsciously picks up the rules of the art, including those which are not explicitly known to the master himself (Polanyi, 1962 p.53). However, it has been almost half a century since Michael Polanyi defined the tacit dimension as a state in which “we can know more than we can tell” (Polanyi, 1967 p.4) at a time when the accepted means of ‘telling’ was through academic writing and publishing in hardcopy format. The idea that tacit knowledge transfer involves a one to one relationship between apprentice and master would appear to have dire consequences for a discipline, such as fashion design, where there is no such tradition of academic writing. This paper counters this point of view by providing examples of strategies currently being employed in online environments (principally through ‘craft’) and explains how these methods might prove useful to support tacit knowledge transfer in respect to academic research within the field of fashion design, and in the wider academic community involved in creative practice research. A summary of the implications of these new ideas for contemporary fashion research will conclude the paper.

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ID Code: 40730
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: tacit knowledge, fashion, textiles, design, research methods
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Textile and Fashion Design (120306)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Fashion
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Angela L Finn
Deposited On: 15 Mar 2011 09:29
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2011 16:10

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