Knowledge and space are closely related. Knowledge, if unterstood as the ability to socially act in a competent and effective way, is not an object that can be easily located in space. It rather is a part of social practices and therefore embodied by social actors, shared among social practices of collaboration and worked into tools, artefacts and objects of the respective practice. Because knowledge cannot be mobilized without exerting a practice, it is strongly embedded in local contexts. For example, the knowledge of a heart surgeon can be mobilised best in the local context of a hospital with high-tech equipment, support from his staff and high numbers of patients. Despite this local embeddedness of knowledge it is possible to come up with or make use of the same ideas at different places if the contexts are rather similar.

Some research at the IRS focuses on the nature of embedding knowledge into spatial processes, on the forms and practices of sharing knowledge over several places and on the interreleation between the mobility and the translation of knowledge for different local contexts. This includes the transfer of knowledge in other practices (e.g. scientific consulting) and the forms of cooperations, the power relations and the media of knowledge sharing.

Photo: © Stephanie Hofschlaeger/

28. February | 2021
Interview with the IRS Junior Research Group Leaders Jana Kleibert and Monika Motylinska

The IRS currently hosts two junior research groups funded by prestigious programmes. Urban and economic geographer Jana Kleibert has been researching how higher education is marketed in international "branch campuses" with her Leibniz Junior Research Group "Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education" (TRANSEDU) since 2018. Architectural historian Monika Motylinska and her junior research group "Conquering (with) Concrete", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation's Freigeist Programme, have been investigating what German construction companies contributed to the globalisation of architecture in the 20th century since the beginning of 2020. In the interview, the two researchers reflect on the current state of their research groups' work and explain how they are dealing with the challenges of the Corona pandemic. more info

12. February | 2021

Coworking spaces, FabLabs and Maker Spaces have so far been predominantly found in large cities. But such "collaborative workspaces" are increasingly being established in rural areas, where they provide access to digital technologies and other work resources. A new EU-funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) is now studying the effects of such places. The IRS is involved with its research department "Dynamics of Economic Spaces". more info