by Dr. Gil Dekel.

I have developed the Streaming Knowledge method (SKM) ‎‏on the teachings of Dr. Amikam Marbach, ‎Carl Jung and other scholars. The method helps people generate ideas, make effective literature ‎search and write articles (or produce art works). SKM is versatile method since it tackles the initial ‎universal stage of all creative processes: learning to ‘look inside’, draw ideas, and clearly define them. ‎




Any academic research requires students to be organised, and to focus on clearly defined information. ‎The Streaming Knowledge method (SKM) can help you organise your ideas, create specific keywords, ‎and conduct literature research in the library or online. You can then construct articles or even create ‎art-works based on your keywords.‎

SKM can be used in many ways. In this article I will focus on using SKM for writing and research skills, as ‎well as for developing creative processes in art-making. I will focus on: words (conducting research and ‎writing articles) and images (producing art works).‎

The problem students are facing when conducting research:‎

Many times students have intuitive ideas about what they want to research. Students then need to ‎organise, define, and write the ideas down on paper (or create artworks based on the ideas). Here lies ‎the problem: while many students have initial vague ideas, they do not know how to translate the ‎ideas and construct them into an article. Intuitive ideas are not always concrete – we may have a sense ‎or a direction of them, but not a definite formulation.‎

More so, if you go to the library with only a vague idea of your topic, you will come out with way too ‎much information and books. It will be very difficult to limit the information available, and find the ‎relevant articles. SKM provides a simple structure to help you define keywords which you will use ‎when you conduct a research in the library (or online).‎

If you start your research by creating keywords (before you go to the library) you can then make ‎specific dedicated search in the library using those keywords; and this will bring up only relevant ‎articles. This process will minimise the content that comes up in your search results. SKM will also help ‎you to structure your article once you have made your literature research, as the keywords will ‎become the titles of the chapters in your article. ‎

How to use the Streaming Knowledge Method:‎

Using the SKM template table, I ask my students to come up with a topic – just to say what interests ‎them, without thinking about it for too long. If you need to write an article, we ask you to come up ‎with a topic for your article; and we ask you do so immediately without reading the literature, without ‎going to the library, without asking other people. We want you to look inside yourself, so to speak, and ‎think with your intuition, very quickly. Just say what interest you, what you love in life, what is the first ‎word that is coming up to your mind?‎

Then you will define the topic using one sentence. Defining something is saying the same thing using ‎different words… ‎

Then we ask you for three categories; three keywords that come from your topic and represent your ‎topic. Categories are the ingredients of your topic.‎

If you are doing a PhD, you will go on to define sub-categories and sub-sub-categories by breaking ‎each category into three, and then into nine. You will come up with an overall conclusion, based on ‎your intuitive knowledge; and this will be the skeleton of your thesis. You have now created the basic ‎structure of your research, even before visiting the library.‎

With this structure and keywords, you now go on to do your literature research.‎

Examples of the process:‎

I asked a student to come up with something that interests him, and he said: ‘a chair’. ‘Why a chair?’ ‎You may ask… Well, because this student is interested in chairs; that’s what he likes to focus on. It has ‎nothing to do with a ‘brief’, it has nothing to do with anybody else. You simply focus on what you ‎personally like.‎

How would you define a chair?… an object used to sit on.

What are the three categories of a chair? the three things that a chair is made of, that constitute a ‎chair? You can say: legs, seat and back.‎

The beautiful thing is that a different student would come up with completely different categories for ‎the same topic of chair. Another student may not think of legs, seat and back – but wood, nails and ‎varnish. This will make completely different article, a completely different outcome, using the same ‎topic – chair (so don’t worry if you see someone doing the ‘same’ thing as you do; it’s not going to end ‎up the same).‎

Another example: The topic is Tea. Someone can come up with three categories: leaves, cup, spoon. ‎Someone else can say: grandmother, Brighton and seaside… When you tell them ‘tea’, they ‎remember their visits to their grandmother who lives in Brighton and heaving tea at the seaside. So, ‎there are many creative ways to go about it…‎

Once the table template is complete, only then you will go to the library and do your research. You go ‎to the library with a ‘vocabulary’. You have keywords that are relevant to you, to what interests you, ‎and that came from your own intuitive knowledge. The keywords are not ‘forced’ on you (which ‎would make your research hard to complete and probably boring). ‎

Next, you use your keywords for the search in the library. Use your keywords to type in the search ‎box, and find relevant information. ‎

Then you need to connect your keywords using quotes and ideas that you have found in the ‎literature. Write one sentence, based on the literature, that explains the first keyword, and then ‎another sentence that connects it to the second keyword. Continue in that way with the other ‎keywords. The keywords (categories) are now becoming your three chapters in that way.‎

SKM for art-making:‎

The same keywords can also make-up three ideas or ‘ingredients’ for an art work. So, you can create a ‎painting, design, photograph or sculpture – that is made of three items which are your three ‎keywords. If the topic was a chair, then you can make a design or sculpture of piece of woods, nails ‎and varnish (which were your three categories). You can dump wood and nails on a canvas, and cover ‎them with a thick varnish. This can make an interesting sculpture/painting, which consists of the three ‎categories of a chair. Since that will be an art-work, the result does not have to look like a chair. Yet, ‎you have created an artistic interpretation of a chair… ‎

You can produce both an artwork as well as article from the same categories keywords. You can now ‎write an article about wood, nails and varnish, relating it to your art work, and referencing the topic ‎which is a chair. It is good idea to write an article, even if you focus on making art works, simply ‎because an article will clarify your ideas and make it easier for you to talk about your work, to explain it ‎to other people, or to publish.‎

The initial process of research, writing articles, or making art, is similar. They all share the trait of ‎knowing yourself, drawing inward to find your self-knowledge, and then bringing it out, translating it ‎into communicative language – be it words in articles or images in art works.‎

SKM Selfie Collage exercise (you can do it yourself or in a class):‎

This is an exercise I do with students to produce simple articles as well as collages.‎

In this exercise I do give the topic (but if you have time you can let students come up with the topic ‎themselves). ‎

The topic I give student is: them; the work will represent them. So the article and the art collage they ‎will create will be about them. It is always easy to do something about yourself, because you know ‎yourself well.

In the topic – students write their name. ‎

Next, define who you are in one sentence… ‎

Then write the three categories – I guide students with categories (but if you have time you can let ‎them come up with categories by themselves). I ask that the first category has to be a belief they hold, ‎any belief they have. The second category is a memory, and the third category is one of their heroes.‎

Here is an example of my SKM collage:‎

The topic is: Gil (my name).‎

Definition: if you ask me who am I, I would say that I ‘work’ for creativity and inspiration, so to speak. ‎This is my life purpose, to increase creativity and inspiration in the world. ‎

A belief: I believe in this thing called oneness; that we are all connected. ‎

Memory: a memory that came to my mind was at the sea; I almost drowned when I was a child, and ‎inside the sea I saw the water moving like a ‘waves’.‎

One of my heroes: Emanuel Kant; a great Prussian German philosopher. ‎

Then the task is to make a collage from these keywords. A collage that represents the keywords. You ‎can use magazines and journals for photos that relate, in a creative way, to the keywords. Be creative, ‎and look for symbolism.‎

This is my collage:

And this is how each photo represents the categories:‎

I happened to see a photo of coats hanger in a magazine, and it looked like people. Each coloured ‎hanger is like a different person, and they are all connected. So this coats hanger represents the idea ‎of ‘oneness’- which was my first category of a belief I hold.

When I almost drowned as a child, there was a wooden pier next to me; it felt something like this ‎photo. It may not look the same, but the ‘feeling’ coming from this photo is similar to what I felt then.‎

Inside the sea it felt like a big sleep because I was hovering inside the water. ‎

It was very calm like pillows but very dangerous, which I represented in this sharp object over the ‎pillows. So this represents my second category, which is a memory.‎

Emmanuel Kant is one of my academic heroes. This is last category. I saw this sofa photo and thought ‎to myself that it would be great to be a philosopher sitting on such a sofa. This modern sofa has ‎nothing to do with Emmanuel Kant, who lived some 300 years ago; but the feeling of a comfortable ‎philosopher’s sofa made an association in my mind. ‎

Kant was talking about time (this why I put a clock) and about space (this is why there is a lot of empty ‎space around the sofa). Also, the bookcase photo has two shelves with beautiful triangle ‘indents’ ‎coming down from the shelves (you can see it if you look carefully at the photo). Bookshelf is relevant ‎‎(Kant wrote books), and the two ‘indents’ illustrates what Kant wrote about time and space. Kant ‎talked about time and space as affected by the human mind. So in a way there is ‘indent’ or a ‘break-‎out’ to time and space concepts. Time and space are not ‘just’ out there is the world, but are also ‎inside our psyche world. I felt that the shelves’ indents represent well the indents in time and space ‎concepts, as Kant described.‎

So, this is my SKM collage. It is relevant to me, which makes it very easy for me to describe and talk ‎about. The photos illustrate and are coming out from the three categories. I also had the opportunity ‎to perfect the final collage in Photoshop.‎

Once you create your key words (categories), you can create your collage, and then also write three ‎paragraphs; one paragraphs for each keyword. Simply look at your collage, once ready, and describe it. ‎Describe the photos, the associations, and their relevance to the key words. This is an excellent way to ‎write articles.‎

If you need to write an article but are stuck, you can do a reverse process. Just grab hold of a few ‎magazines, start cutting out images and laying them down in a collage. Once ready, look at the collage ‎and start to make connections. This process will generate ideas and key words. You could then use the ‎key words to start building up your article.‎

SKM is a great tool for writing as well as art-making.‎ Download empty template table here.

© Gil Dekel
2 May 2015