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  • Writer's pictureElisha Bae

TOK Exhibition: creativity in a complex subject

As one of the requirements of the Theory of Knowledge course for the IBDP, we had to complete a TOK Exhibition task. Before that, the format was in a presentation, where students would come up with their own line of inquiry to follow through and ultimately try to answer that.

From a prescribed list of questions and prompts, we chose one to explore. Mine was 'Can new knowledge change established values or beliefs?' where I had a lot of fun exploring ideas of the past and present, assessing their impact on the people.

It's called an exhibition because you get to choose three objects that you will use to show that the prompt had manifested in real life. These objects need to resonate with you on a personal level. You can't just say 'the internet' because that's too broad and will only allow you to say superficial things about it. However, a specific page on the internet, say, your personal blog might be specific enough for you to explain how it is related to the prompt you chose.

For my objects, I chose a photo of the phrenology model head that I took when I went to the Museum of Psychology in Ohio, a section of the DSM-V on Binge-Eating Disorder, and a screenshot of my progress in the Anki software I use to study. On their own, these three objects seem like the most random bits and pieces of my life but they all come together under the question I chose.

The writing part of the TOK Exhibition is not very long — the most you can write is 950 words. Compared to some of my IAs and the extended essay, 950 words was not nearly enough for me to talk about everything that popped into my head. I had to be very selective about the wordings and descriptions, making sure that I wrote about the implications that these three objects held in terms of changing beliefs and values instead of just describing what they are.

I can definitely say that this was one of my favourite tasks to do in the whole IB course, especially because it allowed me to be involved every step of the way as I was describing my own experiences and thoughts. Although COVID prevented us from showcasing the exhibitions, I'm glad I got to do this.

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