What is your vision of the organizational framework and methodological tools for your LAB?
HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITY OF FINE ARTS
Through its specialized orientation, a lab always situates itself at the cross-section of various institutional- organizational structures (universities, departments, institutes, formalized and independent research projects, and so on). This multileveled structure is further shaped by the ramifications of interdisciplinarity—an inherent feature of art research. Furthermore, an international network and a functional connection with other labs are also crucial. Since artistic research in one way or another aims at cultural transformation, its ideal positioning would require embeddedness in the system of cultural institutions, galleries and museums.
Nonetheless, the ideal contexts outlined above carry some limitations in Hungary due to various policies and political influences. These can be experienced
at the level of the institution itself. As already mentioned, the HUFA’s research policy is funded and coordinated through an organizational unit (Center for Knowledge and Innovation) that—in line with government policies— aims at converting research output into a commodifiable innovation with economic value. This expectation, of course, excludes a wide range of research topics that do not carry this particular potential. Another limitation is imposed by the overall ideological control of the entire cultural field and its main institutions, resulting in a significant restriction on the possible variety of research topics. Since this control emphasizes the national character of cultural production, the options
for international networking are also being limited.
In light of the above, the HUFA LAB positions itself between the two aforementioned discourses (see: ‘PRESENT b’): while we consider the inclusion of various aspects of the extremely productive—though to some extent redundant—academic discourse important, we strongly encourage its critical interpretation, highlighting the threats of the instrumentalization of artistic research. This comes partly as a result of the desire to conform to the norms underlying the EU’s political role-concept about the knowledge producing role of universities in an economic sense, and is partly due to some national political policies as well. Therefore this criticality extends to various local ideological influences as well, constantly rearticulating the concept of freedom and the responsibility of art and research.
This extension could lead to the identification of possible social partners (from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds, from museums to advocacy groups) who could benefit from the research outcomes. Collaborating with these partners through particular methodologies and by using collective radical imagination, new social alliances can be established as the groundwork for a wider dissemination of research.
Regarding the methodological tools, we articulated two priorities: the discursiveness and narrativity placed in the context of a collective endeavor of knowledge production. Since the research activity within our university spans a wide spectrum in terms of both its objects and subjects, our vision is to connect these layers and actors.
ART ACADEMY OF LATVIA
The Art Academy of Latvia Open LAB focuses on the realization of various formats of public activities organized by both students and invited guest professors. Activities are built to ensure knowledge transfer to society and to teach participants the methods necessary for artistic innovation suitable for independent evaluation and selection, including research based innovation. It has contributed to the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge—or has attributed a new understanding to existing knowledge and its application in practice—through creative artistic work or large-scale original research, part of which is carried out at international level and cited publications. Open LAB aids students not only in sharing their respective artistic fields of activity with wider professional circles and with society as a whole, but also in independently improving their professional qualifications, as well as implementing research- based innovation projects by realizing achievements that meet the international criteria in artistic research- based innovation. They are also aided in coping with development tasks in companies, institutions and organizations where extensive research- and artistic research-based innovative knowledge and skills are required.
DRESDEN UNIVERSITY OF FINE ARTS
The LAB at the HfBK Dresden will undergo some conceptual changes after evaluation of the pilot phase ending in Spetember 2023. According to current, vivid discussions in the faculties and the senate of the academy, the focus of the lab will shift from the Faculty of Fine Arts to the Faculty of Applied Arts, where a strong interest in artistic research exists and a wide range of related questions is discussed. This involves aspects of outreach to society, Third Mission, and a strong focus on performative, embodied and tacit knowledge production as relevant for the fields of performative arts, stage design and theatre theory as it is for art therapy. These new focal points may also provide the partner alliance with a broader thematic approach to artistic research in general. Nevertheless, this orientation will not mean the exclusion of fine arts practices.
In order to embrace the different needs of the fields of applied arts research, openness to different methodological frameworks will be a general precondition. The LAB itself shall exist as a real open space for joint discussions and collaborative processes. It will most probably be located not only in the postgraduate phase, but also in the second cycle. In this sense, the project will open up to a larger number of students and facilitate the development of society- and discourse-related fields.
Nevertheless, the LAB is intended to be an important place to develop third cycle options further on. It might bring together young artist-researchers in research groups funded by the German national funding scheme Europäischer Sozialfonds (ESF), and become more and more visible through national events, such as the Long Night of Sciences every year in June.
Structurally, the most important next step will be to strengthen the integration of
the LAB into the existing structures of the HfBK. Due to the change of the hosting faculty, this is a field yet to be explored.
A seamless cooperation with teaching staff, both in practice and in theory, shall be of great importance, especially with a focus on transdisciplinarity. Cooperation beyond the institution, providing connections to societal and academic discourses, will be another logical consequence. An important role can be given to invited external lecturers in order to explore the field. The possibilities opened through international exchange and cooperation within the project will create an enormous impact, too, and can help the LAB become a vivid and inspiring element of the HfBK in the near future.
FINE ARTS ACADEMY OF ROME
In order to lead participating researchers toward a methodological awareness in which art and science meet, the CARE Lab will follow an implementation plan that defines development strategies, workshop tools, and a pedagogical framework. Below is a list that summarizes the main points:
- → John Butler CEO of EQ-Arts, the international agency for quality assurance in higher art education, has been designated to support and guide the CARE Project toward quality assessment and to guarantee a high standard of research in the output.
- → To cross boundaries between art and science the Lab will be structured in mixed, nonhierarchical teams constituted by representatives from the fields of art and nuclear physics.
- → Students and junior scientists who are going to actively participate in the workshop will have recurring meetings.
- → The two partner institutions will be involved in the workflow as a cohesive unit. Thanks to physical and digital spaces that are going to be set up, artists and scientists will be able to steadily work together and share their knowledge.
- → The Research Catalogue will be one of the adopted tools; a group and a relevant exposition will be created to keep track of the rate of progress, as well as ideas and perspectives.
- → The Academy will organize guided tours to places of interest—e.g. the National Laboratories for Nuclear Physics in Frascati (Rome Province)—to familiarize CARE participants with how scientific laboratories function and experimental operations are developed.
- → Periodic reports on progress and halfway goals will be written and shared with EQ-Arts and EU4ART_differences partners to ensure feedback and exchange. Such documentation is meant to also serve as an instrument of self-evaluation.
- → The final output of the project is expected to be published in the Research Catalogue.