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Total Essential Knowledge: a collaborative graphic communication archive

July 25, 2017

“no one is an expert in everything, but everyone is an expert in something”

For the past couple years I’ve been facilitating Total Essential Knowledge events that use conversation and drawing to share, visualize, and document our combined knowledge. Through conversation each participant finds something unique they do, know, or think, and they make an instructional drawing sharing this information. They are an extension of Essential Knowledge, a series of drawings I make teaching skills for success in challenging situations. TEK came about because I kept hearing other folks input about what they consider essential knowledge, but often felt like they were not my stories to visualize.

As well as an ongoing series of events, Total Essential Knowledge is a collaborative graphic communication archive. TEK drawings are published as a small-run edition of books. The Total Essential Knowledge collaborative graphic communication archive is made up of one copy of each published book, currently:

  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume I: Origins of the project, drawings made at a refugee center in Antwerp and Het Bos, a culture center in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume II: Students at Escuela Verde, Milwaukee, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume III: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Docents and the audience of a TEK event at the Art + Lit Lab, Madison, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume IV: 3rd graders at Dousman Elementary, Dousman, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume V: 3rd graders at Dousman Elementary, Dousman, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume VI: The audience of a TEK event at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume VII: 2nd graders at Brown Street School, Milwaukee, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume VIII: 6th graders at United Community Center Acosta, Milwaukee, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume IX: 6th graders at United Community Center Acosta, Milwaukee, WI
  • Total Essential Knowledge Volume X: The audience of a TEK event at the Charles Allis Museum, Milwaukee, WI

See more images

I would love to host a Total Essential Knowledge event near you. If you are interested please get in touch.

EducationInspiration

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4 comments on “Total Essential Knowledge: a collaborative graphic communication archive”

So awesome to see this grow into social events! I’ve always loved this project, we should do an event at Interference Archive next time you are in New York!

This is awesome! Any chance you could come to California for an event? Either way would love to hear more/keep in touch! Thanks!
Cecilia

Posts by Colin Matthes