Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Building Communities of Discovery

Stewart Martin, Robert Garvey, Bill Williamson.

This paper argues that all acts of learning are acts of discovery. This can be conceptualised at the level of the individual, the group, the organisation, the society and the culture. This paper discusses a methodology which we have developed to turn this proposition into practice and we show how its use is able to successfully transform experience into new acts of discovery through a process of reflexive discourse.

Learning and discovery take place in all domains of human experience, though some domains (for example formal education) are accorded more formal recognition and status than others. This limits the full acknowledgement of the range of human experience, understanding and potential.

Current arrangements in both work based training and professional development also restrict the possibilities for creative discovery through new learning. The reason for this is that they are founded upon a narrow discourse of learning and operate on a narrow set of values which tend only to reproduce that which is already known.

Given the development of the global information economy - and the changes in society that accompany it - we need to find new ways to privilege transformative learning more than reproductive knowledge.

This paper argues that, with appropriate facilitation, people can be brought together as communities of discovery to go beyond the constraints of the known world in which they live and work to develop ideas and understandings that promise both continuous personal development and social change.


Stewart Martin  (United Kingdom)
School of Education
University of Durham

Joined the School of Education in 1999 from Secondary Headship. Teaches: organisational leadership and the management of change; the use of distance learning technology and ICT within educational institutions. Research interests: Technology, educational change and models of teaching pedagogy; leadership and the management of change and effects on school performance; motivational psychology of learning, particularly in the application of digital technology.

Robert Garvey  (United Kingdom)

Sheffield Hallam University

Bill Williamson  (United Kingdom)

University of Durham

  • Learning
  • Discovery
  • Communities of discovery
  • Reflexivity

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)