Transmission in Motion

Seminar Blogs

“Craftsmanship as a Common: Discovering Intersections Between Science, Craft, and Performance” – Mavi Irmak Karademirler

For the final Transmission in Motion seminar, Prof. Dr. Roger Kneebone and Dusia Kneebone talked on the relationalities between medical practice and craftsmanship and pointed out to the potentials of them informing each other in terms of practice. Coming from a medical background and being a professor of anatomy, Professor Roger Kneebone also directs the Centre for Performance Science at Imperial College London.

Kneebone started his conversation with the changes he has witnessed from the beginning of his career until now in education, technology, science. He sees that craft is no longer a part of education as it was before, and he states the difficulties that medical students have in the transition to experimentation and design. (Kneebone, 2018) Kneebone finds many similarities and potentials between the allegedly unrelated practices within the domains of performance, science, and craft. He adds, “When we think of medicine, we think of it only in terms as a science; however, it is very much an intersection between science, craft, and performance.” (Kneebone, 2019) In fact, by bringing people from different backgrounds, they organized The Art of Performing Science symposium last year, and have found surprising similarities between the practices of practitioners working in quite diverse fields.

An intriguing observation that Kneebone made was regarding the steps of becoming an expert in an area that requires an affinity with crafts and performance. At first, the practitioner starts with spending time on the task. The next step is learning how to see, training the eyes and senses. As time goes by the practitioner becomes more familiar with the materials, how to work with the materials and tools with touch. As the process continues, the practitioner comes to the realization of the practice being not only about herself but rather he understands the outcome of the practice and its impact on others. This thinking made me question how in different types of practices, the realization of this step might vary with different intentions and motivations. For instance, this step might be considered differently from the eyes of a medical practitioner, since the end goal concerns the other people or the patient directly. However, thinking about another craft or practice such as carving, the realization of broader connections from the perspective of the practitioner could be somehow varied.  The recognition, I imagine, could occur when interacting with the material, when trying to find a new way of implementing the thoughts on the wood to create an original shape and so on. This stage of realization brings us to the last step, “developing a voice,” which marks an individuality. The way of doing things with practitioner’s voice marks a crucial phase in practice, where the practitioner is aware of his way of working yet also aware of the broader connections and impact relating to the endeavor of the work.


  • Kneebone, R. (2019, June). The Art of Performing Science. Utrecht.
  • Kneebone, R., Schlegel, C., & Spivey, A. (2018). Science in hand: How art and craft can boost reproducibility. Nature,564(7735), 188-189. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07676-4