Wonder Lab

Wonder Lab


Wonder Lab's objective is to focus specifically on wonder-based and wonder- oriented conversation processes within a variety of contexts: professional development, innovative courses, and teaching in creative higher education programmes.

This objective is achieved via the development of various philosophical and existential forms of writing, reflecting, and being that can create room for wonder, puzzlement, new insights, wonder practices, and possibly wonder-related teaching.

The basic principle of this lab is that something special plays a part in philosophical and existential wonder as well as in sensual and artistic wonder. Seen from a phenomenological viewpoint, philosophical wonder and artistic puzzlement distinguish themselves from other types of wonder and from questions of a more investigative, analytical, explanatory, and problem-solving orientation.

Wonder Lab is the centre of wonder-based research and wonder-based learning being studied, tried out, and experimented with in various research-related and professional contexts.

Something appears in wonder which is connected with what one might call the dimension of being, in our relationship with knowledge, development, the world, and ourselves. Wonder creates intimacy and world-opening moments, making it possible to put oneself in the open to receive the coming of the possible. This is of course what drives the artist, designer, and philosopher as well as the creative and innovatively thinking scientist, manager, or professional practitioner.

We ask how such wonder practices and philosophical forms of dialogue with professionals and researchers can be conducive to and innovative for design education and research, university education and research, human-relation professions, and professional development as well as in creative and innovative processes of learning and formation.

Research approach:

How does one conduct research in wonder? What is wonder? How does wonder appear? What plays a part in wonder? What is the source of wonder? Can one, for example, wonder without words? Does real wonder come before the question? Where do your thoughts come from and where are you when you start wondering? And what are the different types of wonder that present themselves in, for example, a teaching or research process at a university or in the reflections, actions, and judgements that show themselves in the bodily, intuitive, and practical displays in the action and choices of the professional? What can the connection between creativity and wonder be? And between wonder and innovation? What is the relation between philosophical wonder and art? And if this philosophical wonder is specifically related to the dimension of being and transcendental experiences, what is then the relationship between wonder, knowledge, and practical skills in the case in question?

In other words, it's about wondering about wonder and finding out how it can actually inspire research and development processes, not only at universities, but also very much in other academic and professional organizations and education institutions.

Wonder Lab currently encompasses systematic knowledge and competencies related to wonder processes, research and development in relation to:

  • The development of the existential conversation at Ankerfjord Hospice.
  • The development of alternative university teaching at Design School Kolding.
  • The development of wonder-based entrepreneurship teaching for the teaching and nursing education programmes at VIA University College.
  • The development of knowledge and wonder workshops for the teacher training programme at VIA University College.
  • The development of good and inspiring innovative conversation in public management and organizations.
  • The development of team building and value based management in organizations via Socratic wonder-based communities.
  • …and much more.

Both Denmark and the international community are missing a place where one can systematically examine the phenomenon of wonder and specific experiments with wonder-based and wonder-oriented practices, rather than only theoretically and philosophically, which has been the approach up until now for research into wonder.
Wonder Lab engages in both theoretical and analytical studies of wonder's history of ideas, the development of phenomenology, and how philosophers, thinkers, and artists throughout history have understood wonder and practise it to this day. Something new that Wonder Lab will also adopt is an empirical approach, a specific practice-based and phenomenological research approach using the Socratic form of conversation as its focal point, with Socrates here interpreted as a critical and loving conversational partner, existential midwife, action-oriented activist and humorous provocateur!

Specifically, the work will be based around the following research positions:

  • Philosophical hermeneutics
  • Existential phenomenology
  • Existential philosophy
  • Dialogue philosophy

Research approaches:

  • Socratic research interview
  • Phenomenologically-oriented action research
  • Socratic self-confrontational video analysis
  • Theoretical studies: Phenomenological and hermeneutic analysis and thinking
  • Dialogical research methods with the use of aesthetic puzzlement practices

Wonder Lab's activities within the various platforms

What is Wonder Lab?

Can we learn from the sensual wonder of the artist and the existential wonder of the philosopher? In Wonder Lab we are working on the development of an alternative form of university teaching with a balance between research and artistic expression. This goal is being achieved by strengthening research into philosophical wonder, especially in relation to teaching and professional contexts.

News from Wonder Lab (in Danish)

Head of Wonder Lab