Conversations on Artistic Research

On 6 and 7 November 2014, there will take place the Conversations on Artistic Research at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto.

Registrations are open for this event, you can send your request for enrollment:

:: Schedule

Day 1 – 6 November – Thursday

Welcome and registrations

Opening words by António Olaio
Artist, Director of the College of Arts of the University of Coimbra

10h30 – 11h30
Keynote followed by discussion:
by Janneke Wesseling
Professor Art Theory, KABK – Royal Academy of Art, Research Department of Art Theory and Practice, The Hague; Co-director PhDArts Leiden University

Coffee break

12h – 13h
Keynote followed by discussion:
by Jeremy Diggle
Professor at University of Cumbria

13h – 14h30
Lunch time

14h30 – 15h30
Keynote followed by discussion:
by Annette Arlander
Former Professor of Performance art and Theory at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki. Steering Committee/Advisory Board of TAhTO

15h30 – 16h30
Keynote followed by discussion:
by José Quaresma
Professor at University of Lisbon

end of first day


Day 2 – 7 November – Friday

9h30 – 11h30
Doctoral courses. Presentations.
– TaHto (Finland), by Annita Seppä (Finnish Academy of Fine Arts of University of the Arts of Helsinki)
– PhDArts in The Hague (The Netherlands), by Janneke Wesseling
– Investigação no CIEBA, by Fernando Rosa Dias (Coordinationr of unity Francisco d’Holanda at CIEBA and Professor at Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Lisbon)
– British overview and University of Cumbria, by Jeremy Diggle

Coffee break

Round table with all speakers
Moderator: Gabriela V. Pinheiro (Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Porto)

end of the seminar

:: Structure
The opening words are by Professor António Olaio (Colégio das Artes, Coimbra).
The first day of the seminar is structured in different topic-led sessions. Each session is prompted from an introductory lecture assured by a keynote speaker, and the debate that follows is open to the attendees.
The morning of the second day of the seminar comprises a set of presentations of the institutional frameworks regarding artistic research through the shared experiences of TAhTO/Kuvaakademia, PhDArts, CIEBA and Cumbria University. These are presentations of the doctoral courses where the keynote speakers teach and the departments where they research. Thus are predicted introductions to TAhTO and the doctoral studies of the University of the Arts, both from Finland and presented by our Finnish guests; the research activities in Leiden University and in the Royal Academy of Arts of The Hague will be introduced by Janneke Wesseling; the work developed at CIEBA/Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Lisbon will be presented by Fernando Rosa Dias, and the British contribution will be brought by Jeremy Diggle in his Dean experiences.
The closing session of the seminar is a roundtable with the participants, open to public discussion and moderated by Professor Gabriela Vaz-Pinheiro (i2ADS/FBAUP).

:: KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS further information

The presentations happening on the first day will lay on the topics:

“Regarding methodology”.
Synopsis: in the discourses directed to artistic research there is a significant propensity to encompass methodology. The ways this last enters criticality vary, and thus it may give birth to texts of different nature although all related to methodology in a way. More than a set of procedures to achieve (or to construct) knowledge, methodology, as we understand it here, concerns a wider discussion of the study of the very notion of method in artistic research: its utility and rationale. Methodology as the logic sustaining method, rather than the search for the most adequate path or the cataloguing of the available ways-to-do artistic research. Also the fact that artistic research has been frequently appropriated and paired by other domains of knowledge has turned it into an auxiliary tool of these domains (often distorting its original potential), transforming itself, and all its complexity, into not much more than sheer method to achieve goals of psychology, cultural studies, anthropology, etc. Artistic research regarded as method emerges as a colonizing idea played by other scientific domains (especially in the field of human and social sciences), which empty the disruptiveness and autonomy of artistic research and make it dependent of the activity of more legitimate sciences. Or is this just part of its potential and one of the advantages of its (momentary?) indefiniteness?
Far from reaching consensus, the discussion(s) of method and methodology has been responsible for the publishing of great amounts of literature and the formation of specific departments of research in universities and art academies. Is the community of researchers, scholars and artist-researchers pursuing an answer to these dilemmas or is everybody just staging their roles in the play of productivity in the terms generated by the Bologna agreement? (Catarina Almeida)

keynote speaker: Janneke Wesseling

“Doing artistic research”.
Synopsis: this one is particularly directed at those who have earned the name “artist researcher”. Given the emphasis on the “doing”, it applies to persons engaged with a practice of art and a practice of a certain theorization of the practiced art – not that the practice of art occurs without the aid of theory. Regardless the fact that approaching the theme of artistic research in terms of its processes renders an ungrateful and unmeant hierarchized result through language, it is mandatory to reflect upon the ways through which artistic research develops, its becoming reality, its happening-ness. Text cannot avoid establishing an order of importance between practice and theory, and it seems that every effort to dilute the hierarchy is unsuccessful and leaves a sovereignty quite visible in the naming of things, be it of theory over practice (often to distinguish the practice of artistic research from the practice of art) or practice over theory (in order to preserve the practice of art as a fundamental feature of artistic research, the one that prevents it to become just another theoretical department among tons of other theoretical departments in speculative knowledge at university level). The impossibility of a profound mixture between theory and practice is thus proved by language, and does not seem to have been taken openly into discussion. In the place of the discussion has been advocated a ‘special relation’ between theory and practice in artistic research (lacking further explanation), sustained in the obscurity of artistic processes. Or, on the other hand, it simply is assumed a sequentiality between practice of art and research, without much attention to the problematic effects such linearity brings when not properly addressed. Difficulties at language level lack performative exploration, howsoever the will to practice theory and to theorize practice is heard.
Many pleas are launched to consider the practical aspect of artistic research, as if the research itself was taken for granted. But is artistic research a matter of doing? Wherever it takes, has research in the artistic domain an eagerness for ‘being done’, for ‘happening’, even if without goals in sight? Part of the pioneer spirit of Finnish artist researchers lies on the motto “do first and think later”. How do they stand with these questions when confronted with issues of hegemony of theory over practice and vice-versa and with the risks of colonization and impracticability of artistic research whenever it is seized by other domains of knowledge? (Catarina Almeida)

keynote speaker: Annette Arlander

“On subjectivity”.
Synopsis: discourses encompass words such as “researcher” and “artist researcher” with a surprising plainness, following the logic that a person doing artistic research is an artist researcher de jure. But who is she/he de facto? Without evidence of what artistic research is, there is also no certainty attached to what being an artist researcher is. Does it inherit more from the subjectivity of the researcher, or owes it more to fetishized idea of being an artist? Does she/he feel comfortable in that new subjectivity? Is being an artist researcher about being an artist of the XXIst century (a necessary development of the artist that crossed the linguistic turn and the educational turn)? Or is it about being something different than what an artist is, a yet to be described mixture of artist and researcher?
How is the practice of this new professional rendered visible? Does artistic research have a language of its own, or it subjected to the rules of art or the rules of the academy? In order to inquire about the ways artistic research is given existence – its processes into reality, the subject that performs them, and the results in sight – it matters to see how it deals with the hegemony of verbal language: if artistic research subjects to the rules of language, or if it invents alternatives to be communicated and appropriated in respect to inter-subjectivity, a very cherished feature of artistic research. (Catarina Almeida)

keynote speaker: Jeremy Diggle

“Oscilação dos Métodos nos Domínios da Criação Artística”.
Synopsis: this presentation will be made in Portuguese.

keynote speaker: José Quaresma

:: KEYNOTE SPEAKERS in the context of the seminar

The event aims to assemble a panel representative of the most significant ongoing streams in the arena of artistic research, sometimes relying on the classification once proposed by James Elkins in “Six Cultures of the PhD” (2013). We took three of his identified trends, assembling speakers from a) the Nordic model, b) the Continental model and c) the UK model, and we’ve added d) the Portuguese contribution to the panel.

a) Representative of the first stream the invited speakers are Annette Arlander and Annita Seppä. The two of them teach in the doctorate course of University of the Arts of Helsinki and also have a role in TAhTO – Doctoral Programme in Artistic Research. Arlander’s research is intimately connected with her performative (Theatre Academy) artistic practice, while Seppä is a specialist in art theory in the Fine Arts Academy of Helsinki. Annette Arlander is also a member of the editorial board of Journal of Artistic Research (JAR). The invitation of these two speakers is an endeavor to emphasize the pioneering spirit of the Finnish artistic research and pursues their personal experience both as practicing artist and philosopher concerned with research.

b) Regarding available publications and influential authors, The Netherlands seems quite an interesting headquarters of much of what is being done in the area of artistic research, Continental model-wise, considering the lively research activity in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. Among Dutch authors the work of Janneke Wesseling (Professor in PhDArts in The Hague) perfectly meets the interests of this seminar. Wesseling has edited the book See it Again, Say it Again: The Artist as Researcher (2011) which includes essays on the theme by artists and theorists.

c) Jeremy Diggle comes to our event with a vast acquaintance of the UK model. He has just moved to University of Cumbria, and before that Diggle has headed schools both in England and Scotland. He was Dean in Falmouth and Plymouth, and has also experience in Australia and New Zealand. Being also a practicing artist, Jeremy Diggle is an expected presence well versed in the British artistic research.

d) José Quaresma, from University of Lisbon, has a decisive experience in teaching the arts at a third cycle level, as well as significant work done in the research centre of CIEBA (Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas Artes). CIEBA has published books dedicated to artistic research and the last issue has contributions from influential international authors like James Elkins and Henk Slager.

Date 6 to 7 of November of 2014