Tag Archives: practice-led research

Thinking Through – The Game

game poster

Educational Technologist Dana Atwood-Blaine and I have created a game for the exhibition, Art + Science, at The University of Kansas’ Watson Library and would love it if you would come a play. Using the ARIS platform, players use the books throughout the stack to create a practice-led research question and get all of the research grant money. It is currently in its beta form so there are still a few bugs to work out. Please try it out and help us make it better and more fun.

Call for Projects – Hybrid Practices Conference

Rockne Krebs  Sun Cage for "Atlantis", 1973
Rockne Krebs
Sun Cage for “Atlantis”, 1973

Hybrid practices in the arts, sciences, and technology from the 1960s to today

Arts Research Collaboration initiative (ARC)
Spencer Museum of Art
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS, USA

Submission deadline: Nov. 1, 2014

In partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) at the University of Kansas (KU) is organizing a conference on hybrid research practices in the arts, sciences, and technology from the 1960s to today. Distinguished scholars involved in the conference include D. Graham Burnett (Cabinet magazine) and Anne Collins Goodyear (Bowdoin College Museum of Art). Together with papers, roundtables, and keynote presentations, the conference will incorporate performative and event-based creative projects grounded in hybrid art-science-technology research. Selected conference presenters will be invited to a follow-up colloquium, led by David Cateforis (KU) and Shepherd Steiner (Emily Carr University) in May 2015. We anticipate publishing selected papers and projects in an edited volume that serves as both conference proceedings and guide for researchers undertaking work in this field.

To date only a small group of scholars has focused attention on collaborative projects between artists and practitioners in technological and scientific fields during the 1960s and 1970s. Hybrid Practices seeks to broaden our understanding of this pivotal period in U.S. history and in American art by investigating the cultural, political, and social factors that enabled and encouraged such projects to emerge. Although the conference will focus on the United States, we intend to include international perspectives and welcome applications from scholars and practitioners based in other countries. By thoroughly examining early research collaborations among artists, scientists, and technologists, we will establish a context through which to explore the resurgence in hybrid research practices today.

We are seeking proposals for papers and practice-based projects that explore one or more of the following aspects of hybrid artistic research:
1. Key hybrid projects from the past 50 years, including but not limited to Experiments in Art & Technology (Bell Laboratories), Art & Technology (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), and the Artist Placement Group (U.K.)
2. Shared vocabularies among the arts, sciences, and technology, and the role of language in cross-disciplinary collaboration
3. The impact of interdisciplinary work on the identity of the hybrid practitioner

Papers may be organized as case studies or theoretical approaches to the topic. Case studies should focus on one or two projects; they may interrogate the historical moment of the project’s existence, the hybrid methodology involved, and/or the impact of the work as it was assessed both at the time the project took place and in the present. Participants are encouraged to use archival material in these case studies. Theoretical papers may address multiple projects across a broad geographical or historical range. While the conference’s theoretical framework will draw on the work of French philosopher and science historian Michel Serres, participants are not limited to examining his ideas in their papers.

Practice-based projects should explore the same themes as papers while keeping in mind the physical and temporal conference setting. Hybrid Practices will be held at The Commons (www.thecommons.ku.edu), a space dedicated to fostering closer relationships among the sciences, humanities, and arts. It is a fully mediated event space rather than an exhibition space, so practice-based projects should not require sustained display. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that could reasonably be produced in this setting. Logistical arrangements for selected projects will be developed in consultation with SMA staff.


Please submit abstracts of 150–200 words in English, along with a bio of approximately 100 words, to smahybrid@ku.edu. Up to five images may be included to support your proposal.



November 1: Deadline for submission of abstracts

November 21: Notification of acceptance


February 9: Deadline for submission of accepted papers

March 10–13: Conference in Lawrence, Kansas

May 29: Follow-up colloquium in Lawrence, Kansas


January: Proceedings published

UC Berkeley’s Arts Research Center & Stanford University’s Arts Institute

UC Berkeley's Arts Research Center & Stanford University's Arts Institute

After being in lovely southern California I flew up to the Bay area for the fourth and final day of the ARC research visits. On March 13 at I met with Tony Cascardi, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley and founding member of the Arts Research Center. Tony talked about how practice-led research was being done there. They have created structures, led by faculty, which can be duplicated depending on the various subjects that they are engaged in at the moment such as ‘Global Urban Humanities’ and ‘Art + Time’. Each research unit has a team of faculty members and is driven by different members for specific projects under each research heading. He also talked about how they interacted with the university art space there, the David Brower Center.

Later in the day I met with the wonderful Sarah Curran, program director of the Arts Institute at Stanford University. Sarah, who started at the program’s inception, told me about its history and the importance that the university administration has placed on Stanford students engaging with the arts. The project was started because the arts were named as one of five presidential priorities in 2008. They are funded by endowments and will be moving into a new building that will also house the Anderson Collection; it is located next door to the Cantor Arts Center. Sarah emphasized the importance of faculty buy-in early in the project, with student buy-in closely following. They now feel that after initiating mostly faculty- and student-driven projects, they can move on to bringing in artists to work with other disciplines on collaborative projects. She talked about how Stanford now offers majors in computer science + music and computer science + dance. It was a really fitting end of the research journey that allowed us to see many different and exciting projects taking place in California around art, science, and technology. Please see the links below for more information on these projects.


Art, Research and the Practice-led PhD

Art, Research and the Practice-led PhD

A growing trend in American universities is the Practice-led PhD. This is a research degree attained through practice. For the purposes of this blog post we mean art practice but there are many forms of practice that can be used for generating new knowledge and thus creating research. The idea of creating research through practice has been around for some time in programs at the Royal College of Art and Texas A&M. It wasn’t until the Bologna process began in 1999 that research through art practice began to gain some real impetus. James Elkins has done an extensive but not exhaustive amount of work on the history and development of the practice-led PhD that is useful for mapping out the fast moving changes of the degree. Ultimately questions surrounding the practice-led PhD are questions about practice-led artistic research and its value to the larger corpus of academic knowledge. Many in the academic art community, still smarting from the wars over the MFA, dismiss it as a further professionalization of artistic practice or another level of academic gatekeeping. I would argue that since the massive proliferation of art students, which started in the 1980’s, there has become a need for the expansion of academic art just as there has been an expansion of community based practices. Research through art then brings us to another issue; what knowledge is generated through practice? As pluralist art practices flourish each practice is potentially a source of new knowledge. Questions related to sociology could be answered through ceramic practices or distribution system problems could be answered through social practice. Like any other PhD, research questions must be formulated with the means of answering those questions in mind. The outcomes will then be scrutinized by the researcher’s peers in the academy, just like any other discipline. This does not mean that all practice-led research is good any more than all theoretical physics research is. The most salient point though is that the arts have something to contribute to the larger corpus of academic knowledge and now there are clearer means for that knowledge to be shared. Below you will find links to some writing about practice-led research.


Click to access 4_research.pdf