Craft as Rhizomatic Learning

Author: Harald Bentz Høgseth, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU
Published: January 31, 2023

Citation:Høgseth, H. B. (2023). Craft as Rhizomatic Learning. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(2).


This article is about the Norwegian term “innlevelse” perceived as a “tool” for learning craft or design. When someone activates innlevelse, perhaps best understood as sensibility, sensitivity, affinity, awareness, or empathy in English, as tools, the person opens up parts of reality that are not accessible “objectively”. You could say that each of us then becomes the tool of innlevelse. If I have innlevelse in something, I enact it through my experience, feelings, and reflections, perhaps also the ability to imagine possibilities. It is human and subjective and is also based on the prejudices or preconceived notions that people have. In the following, I define innlevelse as “the ability to empathize”. I primarily want to see innlevelse as a process that is constantly evolving and in progress, something that through training, experience and reflection we can become steadily better trained in. Innlevelse can also be directed towards one’s own sensibility, awareness and thoughts through actions and reflections. The paper will cast a spotlight on how a craftsperson integrates himself into situations, things, and events, and how to interpret traces of people, their actions, tradition, and practice of knowledge through the physical remains, the product. As an artisan, archaeologist, and researcher, I use different methods and theories to investigate and reconstruct past crafts. This example starts with a phenomenological hermeneutic practice, oriented toward new materialism in which I, as a practitioner, examine the actions of craft manifested in processed timbers from the past.


craft science, craft research, embedded learning, embodied cognition, empathy, hermeneutics, phenomenology, multiple ontologies, new materialism, rhizomatic learning