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Biomedicine in museums

Tacit knowing — manual knowledge in art, science and technology

By December 1, 2010No Comments

Some conference announcements are distributed a year in advance, others just come all too late. Like the workshop on ‘Tacit Knowing: Manual Knowledge in Art, Science and Technology’ which will be held 15-16 December at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

The workshop will focus on Polanyi’s notion of ‘tacit knowing’, i.e. the kind of knowledge which is associated with bodily experience, for example clinical expertise, making art, architecture, design, etc. and which Polanyi suggests is ubiquitous—and even primary to explicit knowledge.

The aim of the workshop is to reconsider Polanyi’s notion of ‘tacit knowledge’ and its application in the study of the practice of architecture, art, science and technology:

If the generation of new forms, spaces and scientific objects is indeed closely bound to implicit, practical competences and skills, then: in what way and in which (epistemological) situations does it come into play? How is it acquired and transmitted? What is the relation between media, tools and implicit ways of knowing? Against a normative understanding of knowledge, the workshop aims to outline an amorphous field of practical competences and generative skills that always come into play when the trained body of an architect, engineer or scientist interacts manually with objects, instruments and media.

Here are some of the talks I would have liked to listen to:

  • Hans-Jörg Rheinberger: “Penser avec ses mains. On the Creativity of Experience”
  • Monika Dommann: “Hands and Handling”
  • Gloria Meynen: “Malen nach Zahlen – das stumme Handwissen der Fläche”
  • Omar Nasim: “Astronomical Drawings and Tacit Knowledge”
  • Tim Ingold: “Telling by Hand: Drawing Making Writing”

The workshop takes place in the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, Palais Dürckheim, Cranachstraße 47, 99423 Weimar, Germany. More info from Katharina Schmidt: or here:

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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