How does art become relevant? And what does it mean to claim that artists create knowledge? Engagement and artistic research are the themes of the research centre What Art Knows. We develop artistic research as an experimental, intimate ethnography in which systematic sensitivity for the world is fundamental. We stimulate work that explores the riches hidden between opposing clichés about art, society, politics, academia and research. The centre thus functions as an ordinary ánd a contrary part of the Faculty of Arts of Zuyd University.

About the Reader

Ruth Benschop (Katanning, Australia 1969) is reader at the research centre What Art Knows. She was originally trained as a theoretical psychologist at Leiden University and finished her PhD (with honours) at the University of Groningen in 2001. Her thesis Unassuming Instruments: How to Trace the Tachistoscope in Experimental Psychology belongs to the field of Science and Technology Studies. This interdisciplinary field researches concrete practices, art practices among them, to raise urgent questions about today’s society. At Maastricht University, among other projects, she conducted postdoctoral research into sound art and the democratisation of music making. Besides research, she has always taught on a variety of themes as well as being engaged with the development of education.

Two old fascinations brought her to her current workplace at the Faculty of the Arts. Her interest in the rich interspace between academic and artistic practices on the one hand. On the other, her affinity with the innovative methodological and exploratory opportunities of qualitative, participatory research. As senior researcher at the research centre, she was already involved in a variety of research and educational projects practicing with and reflecting on artistic research, community art, documentation, and ethnography. As reader, she aims to further develop so called research studios, modules combining making and research, inside as well as outside of art education. To do so, she maintains an estranging, anthropological stance that is foundational for the research centre as such, as well as for the engaged forms of artistic research developed within the centre.


At this moment, most information on our website is in Dutch (see the menu on top). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at whatartknows[at]zuyd.nl