Artistic research at a.pass
Embracing the fact that artistic research is an emerging category of production in the cultural field, a.pass does not claim it as it’s goal or premise to be able delineate the borders of this particular methodology. a.pass affirms this apparent lack of definition as a chance. Operating without a predefined notion of what „artistic research“ is, it creates and brings together a pluralistic overview of the existing notions of this practice.
An affirmative survey towards the question „what is artist research?“ has therefore become one of a.pass’ defining methodologies: a.pass strives to host a multitude of practices in the arts which self-define themselves as research. Their definitions of what a research praxis in the arts is are at times complementing and at times contradicting each other. This dis/agreement creates a polivocal platform of definitions and is a statement towards a different conception of institutions: away from essentialist claims and towards a more politicised platform of engagement with a certain discipline.
Some of the methods of this survey methodology are:
-a.pass frequently invites research practitioners in the arts to work with the participants of the institute.
-a.pass invests in creating occasions for public discussions of what artistic research is and in presenting the researches work to the general public.
-a.pass is producing a library of research methodologies by publishing the individual research cases.
-a.pass is presenting itself as a platform for the exchange, implementations and experimentation of research methodologies.
Beyond its defined curriculum and methods a.pass has in general become an informal meeting point of professionals in the arts on many levels of professionalization Many contacts and collaborations that have been initiated at a.pass continue well beyond the one-year timeframe. It is a productive hub for the Brussels art scene.
a.pass is a platform which educates and sets an agenda of learning for its participants. It is building its curriculum by inviting advanced practitioners in the arts to actively engage the participants into their research within a framework of a workshop. This work is not framed as a teaching as such, but as a process of collective
exploration. Experimental formats of collective and collaborative research are frequently proposed and developed in such a framework. The traditional professor- student relationship is put into question here and has to be re-negotiated as a dialogue while a diverse group of practices is admitted as „teaching“.
a.pass develops teaching practices which engage with the question of how the process of knowledge production and transfer can be framed outside the persistent hierarchies within the processes of learning and education.
what does a.pass do?
a research platform questioning artistic research... & an educational environment questioning teaching... & a meeting point within an experimental institute
Brand new website!
4 April 2015
Welcome to the new a.pass website!
Where you can check up on current and upcoming workshops, application procedures, a.pass contexts, participant cases or take a creative stroll through the abecedaire.
For the old website please click here.
We are happy to hear your feedback, comments, questions by email.
This Welcome Package informs you about all practical details, structure, ways and tools for communication and use of resources at a.pass.
It also contains quite some information about Brussels, about finding accommodation, and about the cultural field.
a.pass End week
28 November-4 December 2016 / in PAF near Reims
Expose your practice to the critical practice of the others! Read more..
a.pass in context
Position of a.pass in the educational and artistic field
conditions for something to happen
The a.pass program and research centre are positioned within a larger context of the arts and education, and develops its working out of a questioning of the current organization of artistic and educational (institutional) practices. In its trajectory, a.pass has on all levels of its organization critically reflected upon the economy of knowledge as it is being employed today in higher education and the media, the logics of the arts market, the recuperation of institutional critique by the institutions themselves, the capitalist drive for the new, the seductive and the quickly consumable, and the role and responsibility of the artist researcher in all of this.
In a.pass the relevance of the research is measured by the degree in which researchers, out of their different backgrounds and knowledge horizons, manage to formulate innovative perspectives on potential knowledge production, as well as on the development of tools to share and experiment this knowledge on the public scene. It is clear that this kind of research environment also resonates with other institutions for art education on an (inter)national scale. Artistic research in a.pass can be seen as a third way, wedged in between the artistic practice as such and the more academic understanding of knowledge production. Different from the artistic practice the research is not limited to the individual trajectory, the personal questioning and aesthetics of the artist. But at the same time the artistic practice does take on a central role in the development of new perspectives and methodologies, a way of working that relates to, but doesn’t coincide with, and even explicitly questions an academic AND an artistic framework. Artistic research in a.pass is not limited to the development of arts-practice-related knowledge, but also involves the creation and testing of formats, methodologies, communication strategies and shared practices, ‘tools for collaboration and communication’, that broaden up the understanding of artistic research from an art work with paper validation form to a more critical investigation into the statute, the circulation and the valuation of divergent forms of knowledge.
This means that a.pass is an environment that reflects and practices knowledge and artistic strategies with the windows open to an outside reality. In that sense a.pass is not so much a preparation for the ‘professional life’, as it is a putting-into-question of what these professional sectors (both the artistic and educational organizations of institutes, values and work) are symptoms of. Throughout the years, a.pass has used its own institutional status – and the opportunities offered by being an artistic educational program embedded in a larger network of schools, art centres, research places, workspaces, etc… – to seriously reconsider its role, and the role of the artist researchers within the current ethical, political, economic and social context of knowledge production and sharing.
On the level of ethics this means that we consider both the institute as the institute’s participants to be part of a larger network of relations, that give them their value and meaning. In a.pass the relation between the ‘I’ of the researcher and the provisional construction of the ‘We’ of the research practice within the institute, is a recurring, and politically charged, topic. The institute here is considered as an experimental playground to try out strategies for the now and the future within a larger society. a.pass gives a lot of attention to the transindividual character of practice and knowledge, and how the collective environment can be both a source of frustration and feedback, as of nourishment and challenge to the individual researcher’s trajectory. Also, a.pass in that sense always takes the ‘ethical’ concreteness, the situational reality of research seriously: artistic research is always already embedded in the relations that produce it, and these relations encompass elements of discourse, social and economic factors and spatial settings, as well as institutional givens, societal demands and resources at hand. Therefore an artistic research strategy or outcome is not transparently reproducible without changing in the process. The ethical (here understood as relational and situational) character of the research, makes it resistant to commodification on a larger scale. But this doesn’t mean that the research can not be communicated or shared, using strategies that differ from the promise of serial reproduction.
This interest in the transindividual character of learning and research, however, does not exclude a strong focus and interest in the development of the individual’s trajectories. Since the institute can not function without the invested interest and contributions to the common environment of the researchers, a.pass strives towards creating an environment in which the aesthetic and artistic idiosyncratic qualities of each practice can be challenged into being. a.pass considers the artist researcher in the year of participation not so much as an artist-producer of work, but as an artist-researcher, reflecting self-critically on the trajectory already accomplished, and reconsidering the notions of work, value, the market, responsiveness and responsibility through the practicing of the research. a.pass encourages the exploration of ‘risky’ practices that do not directly correspond to the current demands of the arts market or academic understandings of research, in order to create an experimental environment in which certainties can be subverted, undermined, or simply reappraised from another point of view.
1 January 2015
The associate researcher joins a.pass for one year, and in that time develops and ‘exemplary artistic research’: a research that challenges the notions of practice-based methodologies and knowledge to its limits, and questions the values of knowledge developed in artistic research contexts. The associate researcher is financially part-time supported for one year, and gets production support for the development of the public phases of the research, as well as mentoring support.
Between 2014 and 2015 Veridiana Zurita initiated three ongoing artistic research projects; ‘Don’t Eat the Microphone’: a weekly session developed together with the residents of the psychiatric hospital Dr. Guislain in Ghent, ‘Televizinho’: a series of re-enactments of Brazilian soap-operas with no-actors of the river side community Santa Isabel in the Amazon (BR) and ‘Mommy, Daddy, Me’: a letter trialogue about love relationships between herself and her parents. www.veridianazurita.com
The independent researchers are only loosely connected to the research center, and are selected on the level of the interest of their already existing research trajectory. Current independent researchers are for example visual artist Alexis Destoop and his research into ‘landscape scenographies’ in the framework of the Anthropocene, and musician Eric Thielemans and his research on the ‘ensemble’ as instrument for the development of shared cosmologies and artistic instrumentarium. These researchers are only minimally and punctually supported at the moment of the publication (live or in writing) of their research results.
The research coordinator (Elke Van Campenhout) also develops her research within the research centre, which partly consists in analyzing, publishing, and making accessible a.pass research results and methodologies (through publications, outside workshops and lectures, conferences, etc…) and partly also consists of her own collaborative research trajectory Bureau d’Espoir, that looks into a contemporary and performative redefinition of ‘hope’ through the lenses of political philosophy, choreography and spiritual body practices.
The a.pass research centre works on different levels. On a first level the centre brings together long-time researchers in a context of collaboration and sharing. On this level currently we have in the research center three kinds of workers: the PhD researchers, the associate researcher, the research coordinator and the independent researchers.
On a second level, the research centre also documents, archives and opens up research results and methodologies on a larger scale. Through the creation of a larger context for the end communications of the participants, through the publications, conferences, workshops and lectures, experimental collaborations etcetera. A lot of these activities will be mentioned again throughout the development of this report, but a full list of activities of the research centre, and its collaborations can also be consulted in the overview pages in the Appendix.
The Research Centre aims to support researchers on a pre(PhD) level to become emancipated independent researchers in the fields of performance and scenography, or beyond.
We support our researchers to think and work ‘out of the box’, or forget about the box altogether, and to become innovative practitioners and thinkers, that develop their work out of a (self-)critical ability to assess and relate their urgencies to a wider environment (the artistic and educational sector, society, the world). We encourage our researchers to think beyond the current value definitions of knowledge and to reappraise their own practices as precious contributions to society. We help our researchers to connect to the world, by supporting them to network, collaborate with external partners, and communicate their work to an outside audience of artists, public and professionals. Read more..
goals of the PhD program
- a.pass wants to offer a critical and collective practice-based environment for the development of the understanding of the Phd in the Arts.
- a.pass wants to develop tools for the evaluation and assessment of the knowledge that is not developed on the basis of academic or scientific criteria, but that takes seriously the qualities and values of knowledge as developed throughout artistic methodologies, attitudes and frameworks of research.
- since often the end result in this case is not necessarily the most eloquent part of the research, a.pass wants to stimulate the exchange of methodologies, practices and work sessions in-between researchers and with a larger group of interested ‘outsiders’ as a fundamental part of the PhD communication and assessment process.
- a.pass wants to support radical and experimental PhD-trajectories that critically challenge the status quo of the knowledge production within other environments, and value the transindividual richness of a shared knowledge processing environment.
- a.pass wants to develop PhD trajectories that are self-critical and relating the research to larger economic, political, academic, social, or other realities. a.pass wants to stimulate researchers to step out of their self-referential framework of discourse, professional ambitions and specialization and take on a more challenging position towards the construction of the PhD as a tool in a greater societal reality.
- a.pass wants to support researchers in their ambition to become engaged mentors in the development of tools for sharing of knowledge, and the facilitation of critical research for others, out of a spirit of generosity, interest, experimentality, criticality and artistic sensitivity.
In the selection of PhD candidates a.pass uses largely the same criteria as for the post-master researchers. In the PhD environment however more emphasis is put on the willingness to open up the research, both to fellow researchers and to a wider audience outside of the limits of the a.pass environment. If we deal with researchers with an academic background we strongly encourage them to develop a practice-based artistic research during their participation in a.pass and to profit as much as possible from the opportunities to commonly share and exchange knowledge practices.
We also expect from the PhD researchers a solid grip on both the theoretical and artistic frameworks and discourses they relate to, and a thorough self-critical and sector-critical attitude in developing their research boldly and radically within the framework of their university setting, and in relation to a larger societal reality.
PhD – organization
The Research Centre which is hosting (pre)PhD level researchers is organized on a tailor-made basis with each individual researcher. The program is organized within the a.pass research center, that facilitates the research of the research curator, the associate researchers, and the independent researchers (see below), but also communicates closely with the post-master program. Concretely this means that a PhD researcher applies to develop (part of) her trajectory within the a.pass environment. This can happen in the pre-PhD phase, or at any time during the PhD trajectory. Since a.pass can only support PhD trajectories, but not grant or evaluate the PhD certificate, the researcher has to find, or be already associated with a university and a university supervisor. When starting a PhD project in a.pass, the researcher and the research curator together make up a work contract that stipulates the temporal structure (how long will the researcher be working in a.pass? how many times does she plan to come back?), the foreseen research steps that will be developed within the a.pass environment and the public outcome of the research within that period of time.
This contract then will be signed by the researcher, the a.pass research coordinator, the supervisor at the university, and the head of the department of the university.
what do we do?
The a.pass research center works on different levels. On a first level the centre brings together long-time researchers in a context of collaboration and sharing. On this level currently we have in the research center three kinds of workers: the PhD researchers, the associate researcher, the research coordinator and the independent researchers.
A.pass is a self-organised full time programme and takes up 13 months in total, which means participants follow three blocks of 4 month consecutively.
12 month in the study program and a 13th month for the final presentation of your research case.
Exceptionally – when participants want to interrupt their studies for professional activities, or to intensifie their personal studies beyond the collaborative framework – we allow for an extension of the working period to a maximum duration of 17 months. Such a decision can only be made by the a.pass staff on explicit request beforehand and needs official approval. A 4-month block can never be attended partially.
Participants develop the project they submitted, not only by working on their own projects but also by actively investing in the group, in the sharing of research results with other participants and at times with a broader audience. Another part of the research culture that a.pass wants to bring about, is the sharing of ‘tools’ in the artistic practice – in all possible forms, including …read more
The PhD program is organized on a tailor-made basis with each individual researcher. The program is organized within the a.pass research center, that facilitates the research of the research coordinator, the associate researchers, and the independent researchers (see below), but also communicates closely with the post-master program. Concretely this means that a PhD researcher applies to develop (part of) her trajectory within the a.pass environment. This can happen in the pre-PhD phase, or at any time during the PhD trajectory. Since a.pass can only support PhD trajectories, but not grant or evaluate the PhD certificate, the researcher has to find, or be already associated with a university and a university supervisor. When starting a PhD project in a.pass, the researcher and the research coordinator together make up a work contract that stipulates the temporal structure (how long will the researcher be working in a.pass? how many times does she plan to come back?), the foreseen research steps that will be developed within the a.pass environment and the public outcome of the research within that period of time. Read more..