The knowledge triangle in the arts:

How research, innovation and education interact.


In any developed knowledge system there are various, and often competing knowledge systems. The metaphor of the ‘knowledge triangle’ offers a useful approach to analyse the relationships between the knowledge flows in research, innovation and education. Especially in higher education these three dimensions interact in often complex ways. The arts is no exception, but various forms of knowledge creation in the arts through research and innovation are still not fully developed, at least compared with other sectors. The arts also seems to be characterised by various other knowledge systems which compete with the others, such as the professional knowledge of the expert practitioner, the tacit knowledge of the initiated in a specific form or practice, or the specific knowledge systems associated with schools of thought and practice. Any sector needs to define its own ways in organising the knowledge triangle, in streaming the various knowledge flows on institutional patterns and in making them transparent to researchers, practitioners and professionals.

Video recording



Dirk Van Damme is currently Head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division (IMEP), which covers both the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and the Indicators of Educational Systems (INES) programme, in the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills.

He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and is also professor of educational sciences in the same university (since 1995). He was also part-time professor in comparative education at the Free University of Brussels (1997-2000) and visiting professor of comparative education at Seton Hall University, NJ, USA (2001-2008). He was general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference, the main advisory body for higher education policy in the Flemish part of Belgium between 2000 and 2003.
He was professionally involved in educational policy development between 1992 and 2008, and served as chief of staff of Mr Frank Vandenbroucke, Flemish minister of education between 2004 and 2008.

His current interests are evidence-based innovation in education, comparative analyses of educational systems, new developments in the learning sciences and knowledge management in education.

Prof. dr. Dirk Van Damme

Centre for Education Research and Innovation (OECD)
(Paris, France)