Communities of practice are generally defined as “learning partnership[s] among people who find it useful to learn from and with each other about a particular domain…[using] each others’ experience of practice as a learning resource” (Wenger, Trayner, & de Laat, 2011, p. 9). Yet, I have been curious about how we might locate value beyond a domain-based, intellectual exercise to resituate ourselves as communities of care. How might we embrace and embody care of our interdisciplinary, emotional selves in our professional work? How might a commitment to care ripple outward into our communities at large? Reading scholars in arts-based research has been inspiring for me and the following quote in particular stood out: “With kindred spirits and dedicated companions, dialogue about practice can be affirming, joyful, and ennobling” (Tafel & Fischer, 1996, p. 129). Since the end of 2018, I have been working with an interdisciplinary group of women to study community, care, creativity, and arts-based practice in academia. Together, we engage in dialogue in affirming and ennobling ways. To illustrate my thinking about these questions and our process, I created a journal spread that features aspects of my personal experience as a scholar previous to beginning our research group. The poem incorporated into this piece is Mary Oliver’s “Dreams” and I included an image transfer of a tree to reflect how communities of care have the potential to unlock untapped spaces for nourishment so that all may blossom. You can check out our research group on Instagram @CreativityCollaborative.

Citation: Redmond, T. (2020, September, 10). Relearning Communities of Practice. Retrieved from

Tafel, L.S. and Fischer, J.C. (1996) Lives of inquiry: Communities of learning and caring. In Burnaford, G. E., Fischer, J., & Hobson, D. (Eds.). Teachers Doing Research: Practical Possibilities. (pp. 125-136). Routledge.

Wenger, E., Trayner, B., and de Laat, M. (2011). Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: A conceptual framework. Heerlen, The Netherlands: Ruud deMoor Centrum, Open University of the Netherlands.