The benefits of unlearning

June 2016 Unlearning Map

To navigate our way through life we most often apply a kind of internal filter that organises the world into priority, inessential and junk. It’s a useful tool. But how much of the richness of experience does it blank out? How far does it hamper our powers of perception and imagination? 

Sometimes what we think we already know can get in the way of seeing the potential of what’s really there. And that’s when we may find it useful to practice ‘unlearning’. In other words, when the standard route isn’t working – or when we’ve run out of ideas – it may help to experiment with putting aside old habits of thinking, seeing or acting.
In the 1920s the celebrated Bauhaus school of art and design taught unlearning as a practiced art. There’s a long tradition, too, of experiments in unlearning the usual way to get from A to B to open up new vistas in the imagination.

Dotmaker Tours are very much in that spirit. As part of A Genius Tour, for example, we’ll experiment with little acts of unlearning to find creative riches in London’s streets. We’re next leading A Genius Tour on Saturday 2nd July.