Survival Tactics: The Art of Knowledge Sharing

This article explores knowledge sharing in the creative industry in order to both grow an individual practice and help one learn to collaborate with others. As some are aware, knowledge sharing is often defined by organisations and is utilised in wider management systems - but is it different in the creative industry? Read on to discover it!
Featured Image: Consume less, share better by Edward Howell on Unsplash

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Socrates

When done right, knowledge sharing is extremely valuable both in organisational settings but also when working independently as a freelancer. This article expands on what knowledge and information sharing is and how useful they can be in the creative industry to grow as professionals. Knowledge sharing helps one connect, perform better and become stronger as an individual but also collectively.

​​What is the difference between knowledge and information sharing?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, without knowing the fact that there are slight and subtle differences between information and knowledge. These two are important concepts of the knowledge management system (a range of software that specialises in the way information is collected, stored and/or accessed) wherein the former means processed data about someone or something, while the latter refers to useful information gained through learning and experience.

Here is a chart to visualise the differences between information & knowledge easily:

BASIS FOR COMPARISONINFORMATION KNOWLEDGE
MeaningWhen the facts obtained are systematically presented in a given context, it is known as information.Knowledge refers to the relevant and objective information gained through experience.
What is it?Refined dataUseful information
Combination of

Data and context

Information, experience and intuition
ProcessingImproves representationIncreases consciousness
OutcomeComprehensionUnderstanding
TransferEasily transferableRequires learning
PredictionInformation alone is not sufficient to make predictions.Prediction is possible if one possesses the required knowledge.
One in otherAll information doesn’t need to be knowledge.All knowledge is information.

Source: S, Surbhi, et al. “Difference between Information and Knowledge (with Comparison Chart).” Key Differences, 20 Jan. 2018,

The big importance of knowledge sharing in the creative industry is that all art and design professionals have access to information. We can only grow, together and individually, by sharing experiences and connecting with each other.

Key points of knowledge sharing in the creative industry

  • It helps build connections among other employees or freelancers, particularly remote or hybrid workers
  • It improves job performance and credibility
  • Saves money: by creating a learning environment, the ecosystem grows, and there are less costs involved
  • Helps develop leadership skills
  • Building community and positive workplace atmosphere
  • Developing better strategies for solving customer/client problems

The importance of Tacit Knowledge in the creative industry
Tacit knowledge is information that is learned through experiences and not through printed documentation, such as policies or written data. I will go into more details of examples through artists’ practices and how they carry out tacit knowledge in their own work and collaborations below.

Points to consider before knowledge sharing
Although knowledge sharing can be quite rewarding, there are a few important things to consider to prevent plagiarism and the accuracy of the knowledge being shared.

Ethics
There are ethical implications of knowledge sharing working collaboratively or as a creative freelancer where networking is key. The most important things about knowledge sharing between creatives are accessibility, credibility, and adding on to develop skills. Whilst sharing knowledge, one should be aware of the benefits and potential harms, the right or wrong of their shared experience, and the implications of that. An example of non-ethical sharing would be if, for example, a gallerist shared unconfirmed information about their lease or contract, and one could go ahead and tell this on to one of the artists they are working with. One should always be careful in which context they are sharing acquired information.

Consent
Whether you share your knowledge in a meeting or receive it, the key thing to have is consent. Without consent, it isn’t sharing. Both parties should be open to receiving and sharing knowledge. A good example of this might be that if an art professional is hosting an intimate CV/portfolio building workshop and sharing examples with a small group of people, that professional might not consent to attendees sharing what has been circulated beyond their group in order to create a safe, trusted space.

Although the benefits of knowledge sharing outweigh the disadvantages, there are a few points to consider. It is very exciting to share your experiences and feed off each other. Still, one should be aware of plagiarism and stealing ideas. For example, if a writer is commissioned to write an article for a publication and copies word for word or switches the words from someone else’s existing article or report, that would be considered plagiarism. In many cases, knowledge sharing has proven rewarding in professional growth and collective understanding.

Artist Inês Neto dos Santos’s notebook from Tender Touches exhibition (2019), photo credit: Tania Dolvers.

Knowledge Sharing in Artistic Practices or Think Tanks
To give more contextualisation and understanding of knowledge sharing in the creative industry, here are a few examples of artists and think tanks that implement it in a constructive way. These three examples hopefully show the importance of sharing knowledge through creative practices and passed on to collaborators, clients, and spectators to grow and become successful collectively and individually.

Superflux

Founded by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern in 2009, Superflux is a boundary-defying, award-winning design and experiential futures company, and think tank that collaborates with clients, collaborators, communities, and wider participants. Their whole practice evolved around knowledge sharing and exchange. From climate change to algorithmic autonomy, future of work to more-than-human politics, their work aims to confront diverse audiences with the complex and deeply interconnected nature of the challenges we face today. Their business practice remains prescient and innovative because of their active, self-initiated experimental research and art lab; a space where their core team has the opportunity to test new ideas and themes. Having shown widely internationally in institutions such as Venice Architecture Biennial, Barbican Centre (London), Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna), and NEON Organisation (Athens).

Jeremy Deller
Jeremy Deller is a UK-based conceptual, video and installation artist. Much of Deller’s work is collaborative; it has a strong political aspect, in the subjects dealt with and also the devaluation of artistic ego through the involvement of other people in the creative process. I first came across and experienced his immersive work when I worked as a steward at the British British Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale. Even as an invigilator, his practice led to a lot of knowledge sharing and passing on information to the visitors.

Inês Neto dos Santos

Inês Neto dos Santos is a multi-disciplinary artist, born in Lisbon and based in London/Brussels, whose practice moves between performance, installation, and social sculpture, investigating the socio-political implications of what we eat and how we come to eat it. In her work, she creates contexts and frameworks to explore collaboration, generosity, care, and togetherness. In 2016, Inês founded Mesa, a project that runs on collaborations with other artists and results in performances, supper clubs and events which explore food as a global language to democratise access to art and creative practice. Inês is the perfect example of a young, multi-disciplinary artist whose practice is embedded in knowledge sharing and exchange.

What is your viewpoint on knowledge sharing? Rewarding or risky?

Huma Kabakcı
Huma Kabakcı
Huma Kabakcı is a second-generation collector, independent curator, and founding director of Open Space. Kabakcı has worked with many internationally acclaimed institutions as a development manager, curator and advisor. She completed a postgraduate degree in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London. Kabakcı’s curatorial interest and experience lies in creating immersive experiences and a wider dialogue in collaboration with multidisciplinary practitioners. Art curious, a flexitarian yogi, and foodie you can connect with her on LinkedIn.