Publication Details

Wicks, A. Developing 'knowdes' through authentic community engagement: the Shoalhaven way of structuring social innovation at the local level. 28-29 Sep; Social Innovation Network (SInet) Conference. University of Wollongong. 2009.

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Social Innovation Network (SInet)


Shoalhaven Campus recognises the importance of promoting regional development in imaginative and innovative ways. It does so by developing 'knowdes' through multiple linkages with local structures. Within Shoalhaven's unique context: structures are systems or organizations made up of interrelated parts functioning as a whole; nodes are the networks of interacting structures; and 'knowdes' are knowledge-based nodes which generate, transfer and translate knowledge for social innovation within the local community. Government departments, local schools and businesses, members of the Shoalhaven and Koori communities are examples of local structures with which Shoalhaven Campus engages to facilitate social innovation. Within the Campus itself, there are different structures: administration, faculties, research, learning and teaching, students and staff. These Campus structures link with each other at various times for different purposes. Authentic engagement with local structures is central to the Campus's social innovation. This paper describes the Sustainable Aquaculture project, involving collaboration of a private investor, the Shoalhaven Marine and Fresh Water Centre and the local Koori community as an example of a research 'knowde'. The Career Expo is presented as an administration-directed, integrated workplace learning 'knowde' for school students. The project, 'Nowra Skate Park: What it means to me' illustrates a student-driven learning and teaching 'knowde' that highlighted recreational and leisure needs of local youth to the general public through an art exhibition. In its unique way, Shoalhaven is fostering social innovation and addressing local needs by building and strengthening knowledge capacities through authentic engagement with diverse local structures.