Recently and in the context of its work package 6 on research and innovation, FilmEU – The European University of Film and Media Arts – promoted a series of talks with experts from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds on the topic of artistic research. These talks are part of the project’s initiative towards the development of a joint research agenda focused on artistic research.
The main objective of these interactions is to support the future university in the design of its future research agenda and underlying strategic approaches. Artistic research is still, in many contexts, a contested topic. Recent initiatives, such as the Vienna declaration on artistic research (see here) or the Groupement Européen des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision GEECT special issue with the International Journal of Film and Media Arts on the topic, IJFMA (see here) followed by a conference in June 2021 on the same topic (see here), all attest to the relevance and pertinence of the subject. In the particular case of film schools, defining what artistic research is, and how it can be implemented, is sometimes daunting. Pedagogical models which owe their origins to the tradition of the conservatoires collide with contemporary pressures for academization.
Defining the field from the experimental point of view, through exemplary research was the proposal of the first talk by Jyoti Mistry (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) on the 24th February 2021. That was followed on the 24th March 2021, by a conversation with Susanna Helke from Aalto University in Finland. She spoke about how artistic research can be organised in a school of arts inside larger research intensive universities and how PhD education grounds the process. On the 22nd April, Stefan Gies from the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, (AEC) discussed on the broader political and institutional questions around artistic research and in particular how anticipated changes in the OECD Frascati Manual can contribute to the legitimization of the field.
This was followed by a conversation on the 28th April 2021 with ELIA’s – European League of the Institutes of the Arts president Andrea Bairdt (Vienna University, Austria) on the different theoretical dimensions artistic research entails. On May the 5th, Elena Rusinova from VGIK in Russia, the oldest film school in the world, discussed with us how artistic research is framed under this tradition as a specific form of scientific inquiry grounded in theoretical reflection.
Finally, on the 12th May 2021, Cathal McLaughlin from Queens University Belfast in the UK, debated the complexities and hurdles of supervision in the field. These series of seminars were only open to researchers inside the consortium and the conclusions will feed an intellectual output in the form of an interactive report mapping the opportunities and challenges around artistic research. FilmEU is grateful to all the experts who gave of their time and expertise.