BCW teamInquiry, learning, POWER

ABC of INQUIRY - Expert


ABC of INQUIRY EXPERT “We know what we think; we think we know what we do; but do we know what we do does?”M. Foucault

EXPERT: To be or to know…

Looking at the idea of expert might usefully be done using BCW’s DIG model


DIG D- Describe what you see

DIG D- Describe what you see

D -Describe what you see:

Academic qualifications, awards, published research articles, books, testimonials, policy making, a willingness to take up space and an assuredness in discussions, conversations and debates, love of subject/topic, enthusiasm.

DIG I It connects to...

DIG I- It connects to…

I- Inferences, It’s connected to…

Identity claims of having an expert position in the world, in relationships with others, in relation to a subject or topic, in relation to a treasured idea of self in the world.

Knowledge claims: Often connected to experience, considered by self and others as well practiced in their field, having commitment to, passion for pedagogy, years of study and specialisation, authorisation to speak the ‘truth and reality’ of a particular “something”. A reference point to test out ideas against.

DIG G Go deeper..

DIG G Go deeper..

G- Go deeper:

Expert claims exert a knowledge force (power)on the receiver of these expert knowledges. It can effectively silence any challenge not embedded in recognised similar expertness. The expertness will be held in a particular paradigm that is not visible or easily open to discussion or critique. There are however questions that one can bring to this paradigm to ‘rock the boat’ and make available other possibilities that will allow structures, realities and ideas to be sourced from other ways of knowing.

ABC of INQUIRY Expert Detail

ABC of INQUIRY Expert Detail

If you would like to unpack or dig into ideas further try these questions

  • How is this Expertness brought forward and what is it claiming?
  • Who is summoning this claim of Expertness and to what purpose? 
  • How do these Expert ideas/claims gain traction and what spaces do they reveal themselves in?
  • Who benefits and who loses when these Expert ideas get to determine the ‘truth and reality’ of what is worthy of and available for discussion?  
  • Where have you seen/heard Expert ideas at work?  
  • When might being an Expert be useful or problematic?
  • Does being Experted on increase the likelihood of engaging with new or previously unknown ideas?
  • How does this Expert knowledge work in policy development, what is it excluding and whose voices is it silencing?
  • What becomes possible if the expert, the holder of particular experiences, knowledge and power, sees themselves as a resource that can be accessed, challenged and made use of by the inquirers? 
  • What does it do to the power/knowledge nexus if the Expert approaches discussions and situations with curiosity, generosity and a sense of reciprocity?
  • What might happen when expert knowledges and practices are inclusive of and appreciate other ways of knowing and hold an awareness of the ‘expert insider knowledges/understandings’ that others might bring to an exchange?


BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.

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