The between and beyond of transdisciplinary art practice: knowledge production in the neoliberal university
Elisabeth Tomlinson (University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This research theorizes the potential of transdisciplinary learning informed by postcolonial theory and critical pedagogy as emancipatory praxis within neoliberal higher arts education institutions.
Paper long abstract:
My research aims are first, to determine in which ways colonial and capitalist structures within the university constricts the social conditions necessary for new knowledge production. Second, to question the social conditions necessary for new knowledge production. Third, to develop a language of transdisciplinarity for new knowledge production within the university space. My research centres on a series of unstructured, responsive interviews conducted between July and August, 2018 with South African artist and writer, Thulile (Thuli) Gamedze, a former student (BFA, 2014, MPhil, 2017) and current lecturer at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town (UCT). My context is not in one place but in two people, our experiences, and the cultural context necessary to understand them. The United States (US) and South Africa (SA) are framed as relationally significant, not just as Thuli and my geographical contexts, but in a global dynamic of centre/peripheral power dynamics. I have designed this research project for knowledge production through a dialogic exchange. My experience, Thuli's experience, and our reflexive, critical interpretations of them are central to this work, its design, and its outcomes. Therefore, rather than determining a hypothesis or proposed findings, my study takes a generative and reflexive approach in the analysis of research data. Our dialogue was guided by the following themes: specialization and reproduction of knowledge, transdisciplinarity as anti-capitalist pedagogy, individualism and collectivity. Throughout our discussions, we defined knowledge as socially constructed and question what social environments promote or impede new knowledge production.
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