ART.20.006 – Encountering Complex Futures and Local Narratives: Developing transformative knowledge practices to re-imagine 21st century problems

Route: Art: research and innovation in the 21st century

Cluster question: 065 What should education be like in the future?

Just as the high tide of modernity changed the shape of education dramatically in the 19th and early 20th century, current times require 21st century research and education to be recalibrated and to be able to address the challenges of current and future times. As more and more complex societal concerns, such as climate crises, shifting political landscapes, ecological degradation, changing economic models, migration, and growing inequalities – and their interrelations – press upon us, such recalibration is already proceeding along the lines of an increasing focus on instrumental modes of knowledge, translated into an opposition between technical, problem solving sciences, and creative arts and humanities. This project starts from the assumption that a third route is both possible and – in germinal forms – under way: a transition to transdisciplinary transformative education and research practices generating new forms of knowledge rooted in arts, humanities, sciences and society.

Today’s major issues challenge students’ and researchers’ capacities for imagination: they need to think across spatial scales and in longer time frames, imagine the interrelatedness of people, species and objects, and be adept at narrating and visualizing what has not yet (fully) materialized. Rather than assuming instrumental knowledge and technical fixes are the sole way forward, this project studies how the combination of (visual and performing) arts, (social and technical) sciences, and humanities can provide new forms of knowledge production and solution spaces (transdisciplinary compositions) to reimagine alternative futures and solutions. Transformative knowledge production recomposes local-global matters of concern by drawing on knowledge from diverse sources and seeks collaborations to produce ‘robust embedded knowledge’. This long-term change in forms of knowledge production will only be sustainable if accompanied by a change in educational practices. The translation and implementation of our research-findings for educational practices is therefore an inextricable part of our project.


arts, humanities, local narratives, sciences, transdisciplinarity, Transformative education

Other organisations

Codarts, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), WdKA Hogescholen Rotterdam


Organisation Erasmus University (EUR)
Name Prof. dr. L.H.J. (Liesbeth) Noordegraaf-Eelens