(a) What is the context and institutional structure of your future LAB?
(b) How would you contextualize the institutional forms and levels of artistic research in a broader theoretical-historical and epistemological framework?
DRESDEN UNIVERSITY OF FINE ARTS
(a) One of the oldest institutions that provides fine arts in Europe is the Dresden University of Fine Arts (HfBK Dresden). The University currently has 550 students enrolled in five different study programs.
Dresden is the city with the highest concentration of research institutions in Germany. It ranks among the top German cities in terms of the number of scientists and research facilities. Thanks to EU4ART_differences, the HfBK is pursuing joint projects, exhibitions, and outreach initiatives with the Dresden State Art Collection and the Technical University of Dresden.
As a result, the HfBK’s working environment is ideally suited for cross-disciplinary collaboration and expert-to-expert professional interaction. The University’s study programmes are organised between two faculties: one for fine arts and one for applied arts, with the second covering restoration, art therapy, and activities
linked to scenography and theatre. In recent years, experimental multidisciplinary artistic practice has grown more rapidly in the applied field than in the fine arts. However, there hasn’t been a formal conversation on artistic research led in HfBK up until now. As a result, the HfBK LAB, which debuted in October 2022, explores a new field, and may unite the two faculties. Saxony does not offer a PhD degree in the arts generally due to federal requirements for HEI in Germany. Nevertheless, the HfBK offers a degree for ‘Meisterschüler’ that, in terms of scientific output, is inferior to a doctorate. The term ‘Meisterschüler’ is also employed differently in different German fine arts academies, either as a degree earned after several semesters of study or as an award of excellence. As a result, the Science Council of the Federal Republic of Germany advised the development of new frameworks for a third degree in the arts, with particular emphasis on enhancing its academic value.
(b) Artistic research in general is a relatively new field of artistic practice and discourse. It claims relevance wherever artistic processes get involved in knowledge production, which mostly happens in cross-disciplinary processes. Moreover, artistic research can be understood as an ontological practice directly related to tacit knowledge, specialists’ skills and creative processes. In both understandings, it is essential that the respective knowledge production process would not be possible without the artistic approach to the topic. As a fundamental need for the artistic research process, a research question and a methodological framework should be given for each artistic research project, but these frameworks will differ extremely in relation to the topics chosen.
While the artist-researcher is an ideal that can be traced as far back as the Renaissance, an explicit turn of artistic practices towards a critical dialogue with society can be seen as a development of the second half of the 20th century. Understanding their creative practice as a contribution to societal discourse, artists developed an approach to their practice which led to an increasingly interdisciplinary way of thinking, defining other sectors of activity beyond the art market. Artistic research, as an academic discipline, has been developed towards different methodologies. For the HfBK Dresden with its strong focus on artistic traditions, techniques and skills, there is an opportunity to involve a broad spectrum of possible partners, both from the fine and applied arts, also based on existing projects focusing on art and technology or art and sustainability.
Besides artistic practices which are informed through, and related to, academic contexts and background knowledge, and which intend to approach their topic on a highly conceptual and intellectual research- based level, the Faculty of Applied Arts provides the most relevant connections towards artistic research processes at the moment. Involving applied arts will not only be fruitful for visual artists working on artistic research at the HfBK, but also lead to a varied and dialogical approach, from embodied knowledge to design research, therapeutic aspects and creative, epistemological artistic research activities.
( Cooperation with TU Dresden )
ART ACADEMY OF LATVIA
(a) Established in 1919, the Art Academy of Latvia (LMA) is an internationally renowned platform for higher education, R&D (including artistic research and science), knowledge transfer and creative ideas in the field of art, design, art theory and architecture. The Art Academy of Latvia has flexible organisation skills towards dynamic challenges.
As an artistic practice- and research-based art academy, we believe in a disciplines-related approach that encourages students to develop their own styles and to blend their talent, technical skills, creative aspirations, and professional knowledge. All curricula of the LMA art program require that students consider the arts from a critical, interdisciplinary perspective.
Through this approach, the academy ensures that students graduate with a degree representing a deep, holistic understanding of not only the fine arts and design, but also of the creative industries, culture management, artpreneurship, and art theory.
Starting from the spring of 2021, for the first time in Latvia, a study program of the professional doctorate level, jointly implemented by three art universities —the Latvian Academy of Culture, the Art Academy of Latvia, and the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music—was launched in all sub-branches of art. The concept of a professional doctorate in art encompasses a wide range of art practice-based, -informed, and -directed research, summarized under the term ‘artistic research’. Therefore, artistic output and artistic research-related theoretical reflections are uniform and equally essential components of the dissertation. As part of their studies, doctoral students attend lectures, seminars and workshops in which they not only learn to deepen art practice-based, -informed, -related and -guided research approaches and methods, but also carry out such research practices themselves. Research can therefore be conducted in all artistic and creative areas: audio-visual media, performing arts, visual arts, and design, as well as music, and contemporary musical forms of expression.
(b) The Art Academy has historically embedded artistic practice and art historical and theoretical research studies in its curricula. Artistic research not only builds
a bridge between the two, but also offers artistic practice and academic research new opportunities, as well as innovative research approaches and methods in artistic practice and science-implemented research.
The tasks of the part-time doctoral program are:
- Provide in-depth theoretical knowledge
of contemporary arts, including music and performing arts, visual arts and design, audio- visual arts, theatre and contemporary dance, development tendencies of their theoretical concepts, interdisciplinary interaction, unity and interaction between artistic and research practice, as well as research-based practice models and methods.
- Acquire the ability to independently assess and select suitable methods of artistic innovation research and to apply the acquired knowledge
not only through the implementation of artistic projects of high artistic value and large-scale original projects, but also through a direct contribution to knowledge expansion and through offering a new understanding of existing knowledge.
- Acquire the ability to communicate effectively both within narrower professional circles and with the general public about one’s professional artistic and research-based artistic practice.
- Acquire the ability to solve relevant issues of the highest complexity in the area of their own artistic activity and its development through independent, critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
- Acquire the ability to plan, structure and manage large-scale artistic innovation projects, including at an international level. The implementation of artistic research and related activities directly contributes to the achievement of these goals.
Besides the professional doctoral study program, artistic research activities are also conducted at the level of Master of Arts programs at the Art Academy of Latvia. Moreover, artistic research methods, including contextual inquiry and participatory research methods, are finding their way into the fields and practices of academic research.
FINE ARTS ACADEMY OF ROME
(a) The Fine Arts Academy of Rome (ABARoma) started its PhD cycle in August 2022 with two fellowships, in partnership with five other academies (Macerata, Firenze, Catania and Lecce, and the Institute of Artistic Industries of Rome) as well as with the University of Rome II – Tor Vergata, leader of the National Doctorate project (a higher level of PhD cycles) and granter of the final title for PhD students. At the same time, the Fine Arts Academy of Rome started another PhD cycle with one fellowship with the Artistic, Music and Theatre Disciplines (DAMS) of Roma Tre University, in partnership with the University of Teramo and with the National Academy of Dance of Rome (Accademia Nazionale di Danza). Third Cycle studies at ABARoma are developed in two curricula: the former in new media for cultural heritage, the latter in performative arts.
In this important framework, ABARoma is working to provide new stimulating environments for the future development of artistic research through the CARE project, in partnership with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) of Roma Tre University, opening new possibilities of methodological exchange between art and science. The students of the Academy, together with the junior scientists of EU4ART_differences and with Academy professors, will exchange plans and experiments with the INFN, with the possibility of visiting the scientific INFN labs of Rome, Frascati, L’Aquila, and possibly the CERN in Geneve. The goal is not only to visualize science through the visual arts, but also to extend to the fine arts the method of scientific research, and to offer scientists the opportunity to solve problems through visual knowledge. At the same time, we aim to disseminate awareness of research in the curricula of Fine Arts Academies.
ABARoma, before the PhD programs, also promoted collaboration and research programs with several institutions, such as the Politecnico delle Marche and the University of Florence, to develop a new software for didactic goals, as well as with the MAXXI, Museum of the Arts of the 21st century, the MACRO, Museum of Modern Art of the Municipality of Rome, The Opera Theatre of Rome, the National Institute of the Restoration of Books (Istituto di Patologia del Libro), the Capitoline Museums, the Vatican Museums, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni and the RomaEuropa and Short Theatre Festivals. Finally, ABARoma has an agreement with RAM (Radio Arte Mobile) and has established the Sound Museum with the goal of research and experimentation in this field.
(b) The Fine Arts Academy of Rome considers artistic research a vast and wide-open concept that refers to an epistemological category of exploring and advancing the ontological nature of art. It is devoted to knowledge generation in the field and requires theoretical musings in addition to practical knowledge and challenge.
ABARoma guides students to art research starting from the level of degree courses and practical workshops, encouraging reflection and investigation
on formats, materials, and techniques, thereby opening the path to art research possibilities. But the third cycle studies, focused on the performative arts and new media for cultural heritage, along with the projects carried out in the EU4ART_differences framework, are the two main levels of the institution’s research sector.
The WP2 of the Fine Arts Academy of Rome considers the laboratory as a research community that is composed of people with different backgrounds and educational levels, with the aim of creating a cooperative environment committed to experimentation and collaboration among people with a varied level of expertise. Besides its productive purposes, the laboratory that ABARoma intends to create will also serve a pedagogical role, in view of future generational change. Indeed, the laboratory is regarded as a space for exchanges and learning process in which mentors and young researchers find mutual inspiration and motivation.
HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITY OF FINE ARTS
(a) The HUFA (Hungarian University of Fine Arts) is a 150-year-old institution with a rich history in crafts-based media. As its official description emphasizes: “the whole range of artistic expressions and creative methods can be found in the institution today, from the classical genres of painting, graphics and sculpture to intermedia. (…) Alongside our autonomous courses in fine arts, our long-established applied art courses offer students the highest levels of training in restoration and visual design, while the two courses run by the Department of Art Theory—uniquely in Hungary—train curators and future theorists.”
Depending on the given department, education is structured in undergraduate (BA), postgraduate (MA) and third cycle study programs. The Doctoral School was established in 2002, offering a DLA degree (Doctor of Liberal Arts, equivalent to a PhD) within an eight-semester curriculum.
Throughout the past decades various research programs have been completed, spanning a large spectrum of fields from
art history through art restoration to data analysis1, in the format of conferences, symposia and publications. These were co-organized with a variety of external academic partners (Hungarian and foreign universities), as well as non-academic cultural
institutions, such as cultural foundations, galleries and museums. Individual researchers and small groups of academics have usually initiated these programs, as the institution has been lacking a complex research strategy at the university level. However, from 2019 a Center for Knowledge and Innovation has been established with the task of coordinating R+D activities within the University, and with the objective of both widening the HUFA’s international network and generating monetary income. The latter is an increasing expectation of the present policy of Hungarian higher education, conflicting with the general aims of autonomous art education.
The theoretical discourse around artistic research as such oscillates between two genealogies. One emerged in the 1990s following the establishment of doctoral schools within European art universities, the other is an extra academic approach that positions the relationship between art and knowledge in a broader art historical perspective, pointing out early examples of it going back as far as the European Renaissance.
These two perspectives sometimes work against each other, especially as the latter occasionally expresses criticism of the former, highlighting its dependence on EU economic policies in which the R+I of universities is outspokenly regarded as a key element of industrial and economic competitivity. While the universities of natural and applied science have been contributing extensively to industrial and economic development through their research, the instrumentalization of autonomous art universities—and their research activity—is obviously problematic. This is why all the concepts connected to the possible role of artistic research in knowledge production—including the notion of LAB/oratory—should be subjected to critical scrutiny.
There are various levels of the HUFA’s institutional structure where different types of research activity can be identified. On the BA level we can speak of experimentative research, mostly addressing media- specific questions focusing on materials, processes and technologies. During their MA studies many students are engaged in investigative research, mapping the historical and aesthetic background of their own field and media. Some of them deepen their research towards conclusive formats through various academic programs and scholarships, such as the OTDK (National Scientific Students’ Associations Conference) of ÚNKP (New National Excellence Program). Meanwhile both doctoral students and individual faculty members are also engaged in conducting their conclusive research projects. The HUFA LAB’s intention is to connect all these levels by establishing and securing a discursive space in which research outcomes and methodologies can be shared and small research collectives can be formed. Our LAB supports the methodologies of research through art, and prioritizes the investigation, articulation and application of new artistic formats and strategies.