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ALARA Monograph No 6

Monograph No. 6 (2016)

Beyond the Boundary:
Is There Something Called Real Knowledge?

David Davies, Reem Shamshoum, James, Nyland and Emer Clarke

Our longing for a connection between our past and our future is intense and widely felt, and modernity for many is a separation from our roots in local places, neighbourhoods and older communities. The new world is one where the old boundaries are disappearing alongside the old certainties. In fact the knowledge we had of places, of people and of ways of ‘being ourselves’ are increasingly redundant as the quickening pace of change and new forms of communication re-shape what we do and think and the way we feel about what we thought we knew and valued. Communication is now practically instantaneous through the internet; Google can provide us with immediate ‘knowledge’ of almost any topic under the sun; the virtual reality of the screen has become for so many the actual reality of life. For many this is a comfortable and inevitable immersion in a real and existentially rewarding life. For many others it is a world of uncertainty where reality is a form of ‘distanciation’ – a place set apart from our direct experience and lying beyond our sense of being in a community. This leads us to ask what then will replace the old forms of knowing and the old certainties? It surely must be knowledge and learning that is relevant and useful, yet it must take us both to the problems that face us and to the possibility of change and progress.

This paper is organised into four sections. Section 1 explores six themes which are threatening our current sense of well-being and futures. Section 2 explores a specific place and culture – Nazareth in Palestine/Israel. Some of the impact of the destabilisation of community life is exemplified by the case study of Mawwal – a centre for Dance and Arts located in Nazareth. Section 3 goes on to explore the transformations brought about by creative arts and dance therapies within a community based centre of arts and culture and learning. Section 4 attempts to assess some of the implications for learning and knowledge which engaging with these themes and issues brings into focus.

This paper, therefore, aims to explore and understand something of the nature of knowledge that can be gained beyond the classroom or lecture theatre. It looks beyond the boundary and it focuses on issues to do with learning and knowledge in workplaces, communities and life experience.

Download ALARA Monograph No. 6 - Davies et al, 2016 (216 KB)

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