Emergent Modelling – The Next Iteration


What follows here is part of my research and development – in this work I have focused upon how the client represents their thoughts, ideas and confusions etc. in a session of EK. To do this I am taking information from 'Chapter 3 – Navigation' of my original work 'Journeys with Emergent Knowledge', as a starting point. There I presented the following basic materials needed to run an EK session:

  • A3 / A4 / A5 / Letter / Legal Paper / Flip or Easel Chart Paper / Index Cards / Post It notes
  • Blue Tak or Poster Putty / Scissors / Sellotape or Scotchtape
  • Pencils / Crayons / Coloured Markers / Pens
  • A selection of good dictionaries

In 'Chapter 3' it was stated:

'Internal worlds can be mapped externally by overlaying them into a room or a landscape, which has the effect of objectifying an internal phenomena into a real geographic space from which information is gained – this is done by having the client write or draw then place the pieces of paper in space around them.'


'The functional component of the client’s problem is their story, that which is contained in the context of the words and the issues that are defined by the client.

It is the structural components of the client’s world that are given form, when the client puts their world on paper, the form of the writing and drawings, where they are placed in space begin to illustrate the structure. The size of the paper chosen, the colours, shapes, scales, scope and empty spaces are all aspects of how this problem is constructed.'

Beginning with these fundamental points, experiments with alternatives to writing and drawing were performed; as it was noticed when working with some clients there was no clear delineation between the structure and form of their inner worlds and the associated meanings.

To investigate this further clients were provided with modelling clay (Plasticine) to bring physical form to the structure of their inner worlds and issues. Through this process it appeared that they began to naturally separate the meaning from the form by adding labels and notes to the figures/objects they created. Clients found this style of processing gave embodiment and pliability to their issue where drawings and writing were previously holding them back. In cases where the client had wrote pages of text as their response, they were asked to represent all that text in clay – this brightened them up and brought about significant changes in the resolution of their problem.

Thus the next iteration of EK processing was born:

Emergent Modelling

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