Return to People

Christine Welch’s Expression of Interest

What I can bring to the conference
Over the past ten years, working with a number of other researchers, I have been exploring, developing and writing about ideas related to contextual inquiry from an open systems perspective. Our work has engaged with human sense-making and the ways in which people approach problem spaces within which decisions are required. We have noted how sense-making has been examined by others through a number of reductionist lenses, e.g. psychological or sociological, but these always leave unanswered questions and unexplained gaps. Systemic approaches to analysis of human problem spaces have also tended to be unsatisfying since the idea of human systems as ‘elements coming together’ to form a larger emergent whole somehow makes the people disappear. We have therefore chosen to look at human systems as collectives emerging from interactions among human individuals, and recreated/renewed on a continuous basis – an open Systems view. In the course of reflections, discussions and analysis in the field of contextual inquiry, common themes of acting, reflecting, learning and achieving some understanding have been surfaced. I hope that this experience of studying and writing about human sense-making in context will enable me to contribute to ASC2013.
What the conference will do for me
In my work over the past ten years, I have encountered many other researchers who inquired into sense-making and learning but mostly from reductionist or systemic perspectives, and mostly to pursue some stated purpose in the field of business, e.g. managing organizational change or deploying IT effectively. Some of the foundations upon which my work has been built would be situated in what is termed ‘cybernetics’, e.g. Gregory Bateson’s idea of information as ‘a difference that makes a difference’. However, I have not considered acting, learning and understanding in human endeavour through a lens of performance and feedback on performance. I am hoping to be able to engage with other delegates in relation to the activities outlined in the conference description, and in so doing flip my own perspective on sense-making, learning and appreciation.

Leave a Reply