Our graduate school has a structural collaboration with the Rotterdam School for Circus, Dance and Music (Codarts), and we help about 6 to 7 of their staff to do their PhD research. It is part of the wider Codarts policy to stimulate artistic research and part of our policy to be a key partner for the knowledge ambitions of the Rotterdam area. As part of Codarts yearly research days, I held a keynote about artistic research, focusing particularly on the challenges you encounter when you want to articulate ‘artistic’ with ‘academic’. There are so many varieties of research that one could embrace as an artist, but when you chose for ‘academic’ you run into tensions between, among other things, making and writing; tacit and formalized knowledge; or intuitive versus rule-based procedures. Nevertheless, for both art and academia the connection is inspiring and useful leading, possibly, to both a wider underpinning of arts practices and a more innovative agenda for academic research. My full presentation is online [click here].
One of the possible drawbacks of the increasing importance of academia in arts education and practice, is that the already limited possibilities for people from working class and/or lower education backgrounds may decrease even further. Is there still room for the working class artist? In the UK there is already some concern about the middle and upper class dominance in the arts sector [see here], and it is a phenomenon that sounds familiar in the Dutch context as well. Diversity (also and importantly with respect to ethnicity, gender and disability) is one of the key goals for the UK Arts Council who claim there is a ‘Creative Case for Diversity’ [see here] and in Dutch cultural policy this has been embraced in the form of a Code for Cultural Diversity [see here]. I am happy and proud that I will be able to contribute to cultural diversity in my new role, from April 1, as member of the Dutch ‘Raad voor Cultuur’ [see here].