A story about stories: reflexivity in a conversation with a student of public policy

LCJ 26 cover

Greg Williams

LCJ: Special Issue:

Collaborative knowledge work in northern Australia, 26, pp. 28-33

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Williams, G. (2020). A story about stories: reflexivity in a conversation with a student of public policy. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Collaborative knowledge work in northern Australia], 26, 28-33. https://doi.org/10.18793/lcj2020.26.05



What happens when just an ordinary interaction with a student shifts your whole perspective on things? A routine conversation as course coordinator with one of our post-graduate public policy students took an interesting and insightful turn recently, and our interaction brought to light for me the importance of storytelling and the holding of disconcertment in the reflexive doing of difference, even in places where you would least expect it. Instead of holding a conversation where our words and stories acted upon each other from a distance, in this instance, I experienced the experience of inhabiting the conversation. I experienced knowing in action; a doing of knowing, where the participants, the stories and the tensions and vulnerabilities that attend our stories are inextricably linked together and embodied in the constituent act of being the conversation. Although I have engaged in complex and insightful discussion on many occasions, this conversation, seemingly unremarkable at its outset, caught me off guard. It drew me into a process entirely unexpected, constituted through the inhabiting of the experience and the reflexive opportunities it presented. This paper seeks to describe and provide some analysis of this ‘experience of an experience’ with a view to understanding something more of the processes of ‘knowing in action’ and its role in skilling us to work better with difference.


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