Reimagining communities of practice: Using relational frameworks to disrupt assumptions and inequity.


  • Lindsay Fish Bethlehem Tertiary Institute
  • Maggie Flavell Victoria University
  • Emma Cunningham University of Waikato


communities of practice, home-school relationships, indigenous frameworks.


Communities of practice, as theorised by Etienne Wenger (1998), are becoming settled as a framework for community engagement within New Zealand schools. In this article the authors critically analyse the assumptions and inequities that can arise when the patterns of practice and artefacts of communities of practice prioritise the values of schools and comfort of staff over the priorities of community participants and the knowledge that they bring. The authors reference their own experiences in communities of practice to argue that when schools authentically draw from indigenous frameworks and use these in the establishment of communities of practice, hospitable, equitable and productive relationships can be established. 

Author Biographies

Lindsay Fish, Bethlehem Tertiary Institute


Emma Cunningham, University of Waikato