A number of methodological and educational traditions have, in various ways, sought to bring about a fruitful interplay between the two worlds of academic and practical endeavour. These have included ‘situated learning,’ ‘work-based learning,’ ‘transformative education,’ ‘performative research’ methodologies, theories of ‘action research,’ ‘phenomenology’ and ‘spiritual phenomenology.’
The Field Centre, as a research initiative placed within a pioneering educational organisation, represents a unique opportunity to build on this work in conscious and continuous dialogue with professional performance.
As such, the common task uniting all activities will be that of exploring how educational research can both begin and remain firmly grounded in its sensory, aesthetic and ethical contexts.
Projects have three main entry points:
- PEOPLE: Craft-based therapeutic education / transformative education
Arts and craft-based therapeutic education forms a spearhead of research at the Field Centre, aimed at adjoining specialists and practitioners in Special Needs Education. Situating the process of recovery and human development in sensory and meaningful participation in the world, this research links to a broader field of educational research, aiming more generally at educational renewal. A special task of this long-term project lies in penetrating the work of Rudolf Steiner on the ecology of the human senses, allowing his pedagogical impulse to be enriched by contemporary phenomenology and philosophy of education.
- EARTH: Biodynamic ecology / social entrepreneurship
There is a perceived need for schools in the future to become centres of cultural renewal. Likewise, social and ecological enterprises need to become learning centres. To develop new insights and practices of this interplay between education, entrepreneurship and community implies research across strict disciplinary borders. Through extending social entrepreneurship to encompass human relationships to food, agriculture and all of nature, a new science can develop the bridging agriculture (biodynamics) and social entrepreneurship. A key task is to develop new biodynamic practices in dialogue with natural phenomena, as well as the life sciences.
- UNIVERSE: Ways of knowing / consciousness studies
To develop a research culture ‘in touch with life’ requires a broad understanding of the diversity and unity of human ways of knowing (cognitive, emotional, practical etc.). A core task of the Field Centre is to develop such epistemologies and methods sourced in the interplay of educational and entrepreneurial activities. A focus here is to develop adult education pedagogy with the uniqueness of the individual learner in mind, so his/her her vocational, academic and personal growth can entwine. From a focus on individual epistemologies a continuum is established to individual pathways of self-schooling, including contemplative and art-based methods of inquiry, and a schooling of perception.