Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Adhocracy and Transdisciplinarity: The Learning Culture of Contingency

Robert W. Kelly.

Contingency speaks to a learning culture that focuses on design and invention. This is contrasted against a mainstream culture. Learning within the latter is distinguished by its conspicuous consumption, extrinsic motivation, early closure, predisposed outcomes and standardization. The contingency learning culture is centred on inventiveness, intrinsic motivation, deferred and unknown outcomes, and compositional creativity. Two distinct strands of artist process are analyzed to shed light on organizational structures and views of disciplinarity that are conducive to inventiveness in a contingency-based learning culture. The first analyses the artistic processes employed by theatrical directors in the course of a stage production from concept to finish. The second is the analysis of the processes utilized by visual artists producing installation works from inception to completion. Adhocracy is recognized as an essential organizational structure conducive to inventiveness. Transdisciplinarity is identified as a critical disposition necessary to function within an adhocratic organizational structure. It is argued that learning cultures must embrace inventiveness in the context of a learning landscape dominated by standardization. The establishment of learning cultures of contingency has profound implications for the development of professional bureaucracies. The present emphasis in learning culture must evolve to accommodate the development of a disposition that enables functioning in the collaborative environment of adhocracy and transdisciplinarity


Robert W. Kelly  (Canada)
Assistant Professor
Department of Art Faculty of Fine Arts
University of Calgary

Robert Kelly is an assistant professor at the University of Calgary where he teaches studio art and art education. As artist, his work ranges from conceptual installation work to large scale sculptural and painted works. His research areas encompass creativity theory, design, and curriculum theory. His most recent research looks at compositional creativity through the disposition of design and it's implications for organizational structures and the training of professionals. Transdisciplinarity and adhocracy are key components to this research

  • Adhocracy
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Creativity theory
  • Contingency learning
  • Organizational structures
  • Inventiveness

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)