On March 20th, a symposium on artistic research took place at the Faculty of the Arts, Maastricht. Showcasing a variety of concrete projects, the symposium aimed to articulate some characteristics of a typical Maastricht style of doing artistic research. The symposium was organised by the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere (Zuyd Hogeschool) in collaboration with Maastricht University (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences) and Van Eyck Academy. The symposium was part of a process of thinking through a Maastricht graduate school for Artistic Research.
The attended audience (consisting of some 60 artists, theatre-makers, musicians, students and academics) were treated with a wide range of projects. PhD candidate Marlies Vermeulen (Dear Huntern & Zuyd) for example presented her fieldwork which she conducts from a tiny container at different public places. She argued for a new to-be established discipline (cartopology) that combines architecture, map maping, and anthropology. The philosopher Ruud Hendriks (UM) showed how he had to re-think and re-train his body, in order to conduct research as a clown in dementia care practices. Peter Peters and Veerle Spronck (UM) addressed the challenges when experimenting with innovative classical music practices and highlighted the need for both researchers and musicians to address audiences in alternative ways. The audience was treated to an experiment itself, as PhD candidate Ulrike Scholtes (UvA / Zuyd) allowed them to experience different techniques of feeling one’s body through multiple exercises – thereby showing how she mobilizes and attunes her body in her own research.
In an interview-intermezzo, the audience learned how theatre-makers Mayke Roels (Het Laagland) and Christophe Aussems (Het Nieuwstedelijk) grew into artistic researchers in their project on borders, refugees and “the other”. In the following lively panel discussion, invited artistic researchers and scholars from different Dutch institutes reflected upon the shared characteristics of presented projects. Despite, or rather because of the diversity, artistic research in Maastricht, as they remarked, shares a refreshing focus on practices. Instead of reverting to questions of epistemology (the status of knowledge), artistic research in Maastricht works from the perspective of exploring how such research can be done, by whom, and what for. The special Maastricht combination of ethnographic methods, Science- and Technology expertise with artists’ thinking-through-making practices was considered fruitful. At the same time, the projects all seemed to convey a kind of urgency: a need and relevance for crossing disciplinary and institutional boundaries, in order to come to a different, alternative and fruitful perspective on shared problems.
More information on the symposium, and on the different projects, can be found on www.lectoraataok.nl.