This set of brief documents, available in the English and French language, provides an easy-to-use online tool, supporting higher arts education institutes in their advocacy work, including briefing national and European policymakers, as well as updating academics and authorities on relevant developments. The toolkit is one of the outcomes of the SHARE Academic Network 2010 - 2013. It is best used in conjunction with the SHARE Handbook for Artistic Research Education.
The toolkit does not advocate one specific approach to artistic research but rather provides arguments and examples of good practice that can serve to underpin a variety of arguments and approaches. As the SHARE Handbook states: "Each educator, institution, or other agency advocating the application of the third cycle to the arts, and proposing the allocation of resources to such initiatives, will be required to make an argument that translates into the terms that are recognizable and acceptable within the current state of the field. There are many examples of this translation already accomplished in Europe by a wide range of institutions. These translations are also constrained by the particular approach adopted by the different national qualification frameworks. But, it is clear, from the extensive experience across Europe that this translation can be done, and has been done effectively again and again”.
For pragmatic reasons of consistency, the term ‘artistic research’ is being used, even though we acknowledge that other terms and approaches are just as valid and sometimes more applicable. Earlier versions of the texts of the toolkit, in particular the 2011 SHARE/ELIA public consultation text ‘Releasing the Potential of Arts & Design Research in Europe’ have already proved useful in informing policymakers about the contribution of artistic research as well as the artistic, academic and societal value of research in an artistic context.
Let’s face it, general definitions, explanations, arguments, European overviews and even exciting examples of good practice are not enough to convince policymakers. Gaining recognition in academic and political contexts is much more complex than just paper. Effective lobbying needs vision, persuasiveness, evidence and persistence but above all it needs talented and ambitious artist-researchers confident in what they want to achieve. ‘We are lateral thinkers and boundary pushers’, the Berlin Hybrid Platform states in their mission statement and that is true for many other artistic researchers, currently active in Europe.
Feel free to use the advocacy texts in any way you consider useful: bound together or as separate documents; translated, copied into your own texts or rewritten into policy documents and project applications. Suggestions for additions and revisions are welcome. Inevitably, as some elements will become quickly outdated, regular updates will be made, keeping track of the most recent changes and achievements. Key national documents will be made available on the SHARE website. The materials in the toolkit – not in any particular order - include:
This outlines the wide variety of frameworks under which doctoral research in the arts is conducted in the European Higher Arts Education environment. The Overview is useful in ascertaining the different kinds of activity made possible by approaches such as: the initiatives taken in ‘trend-setting’ countries, for instance Finland and the UK; the outcomes that have emerged from countries with established doctoral programmes, such as Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Portugal; the collaborative models in Belgium and the Netherlands that require the Higher Arts Education Institutes to enter in various associative arrangements; and the syncretic models, prevalent in the Czech Republic and Latvia where different balances between art practice and theory emerge within the third cycle.
This sets out the ways in which artistic research has been a significant factor in the development of the creative industries sector as a driver for social development and economic growth in Europe. It underlines the ways in which skill-sets generated by artist-researchers and design-researchers contribute to increased diversification in European labour markets. The commentary discusses ways in which the development of sustainable knowledge networks that come about through artistic research also enrich the range of research ecologies in Europe. The contribution to economic competitiveness through collaboration with industry is also indicated in this part of the toolkit. Usefully, the commentary sets out a summary of some of the specific measures detailed in the HORIZON 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
In this document, a number of examples of good practice are described. These include large scale research initiatives as well as individual doctoral projects generated within third cycle practice in Europe. The large scale projects cited are situated in as varied places as: Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Oslo/Bergen, Glasgow and Stoke-on-Trent. They include projects, such as the development of virtual reality medical training tools for the UK National Health Service (Digitial Design Studio, Scotland); and research design looking at improving web-based communication for patients engaging with stem-cell procedures (Interacct Applied Design-thinking, Vienna). Individual projects are located in institutes from Portugal to Norway, including doctoral submissions looking at memory and transience in place (Leiden, Netherlands), as well as a project addressing DIY music and the normalization of culture (GradCAM, Dublin).
In this part of the toolkit, the current state of artistic and design research in Europe is addressed from the point of view of trends. Where might the models currently emerging across Europe lead? The paper cites research definitions and developments in the UK, France and Austria as reference points for the different directions in which artistic research might develop.
David Dibosa, Chelsea College of Arts and Design, University of Arts, London Truus Ophuysen, Senior Adviser ELIA
Key web links to SHARE Outcomes, related initiatives and European programmes
SHARE's activities are funded with support from the European Commission. The website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.