Connective Symposium 17-19 November 2022 – Call for Contributions

As the work at Fontys University of the Arts proceeds, it is time for the first big(ger) announcement: In a continuing line of growing “circles” around the concept of Artistic Connective Practices, we will organise an international symposium from 17-19 November this year. I am very proud that the team and I managed to create this first call and cannot wait to welcome international colleagues, artists and artistic researchers to Tilburg. I have included the original call for contributions below, as it is published to various online channels and networks these days. Please feel welcome to respond!

Artists have always related to what happens around them, both on local and global levels. This relation to society manifests itself in many forms of artistic practices in public spaces and spheres: “on stage, in studios and theaters, in classrooms, in museums and galleries, on the streets and in communities.” (Arts in Society Research Network) ‘Socially engaged art’, ‘community art’, ‘artistic activism’ or ‘artist educator’ are terms that are well known for a longer or shorter time. ELIA and the AEC working group ‘Strengthening Music in Society’ are examples of international networks that centralize these relations(hips) to society in and from the context of higher arts education. However, there is also an urgent need for the voices of artistic researchers in relation to issues in society. How can artistic research(ers) contribute to the social and societal challenges of our time?

The symposium aims to bring together artistic researchers with an interest to contribute to society through their research practice: Not only to question, but rather to actively engage in the present, and ‘helping time forward’ through a dedicated relation to the world. They can therefore play a critical role in the present. The professorship and research chair ‘Artistic Connective Practices’ has started its work since September 2021 and, after the first year of its work, invites the international field to come to Tilburg, The Netherlands. In the context of a three-day symposium, we will address the notion of artistic connectivity as an approach to artistic research in relation to society, and will collectively and collaboratively explore the socio-economic and ecological issues of our time. The professorship aims to investigate how artists and their artistic (research) practices can contribute to the transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society, while being right in the midst of it. Artistic Connective Practices aim to provide a perspective on complex issues through a number of core values, such as: connecting through spending time together, rooted in the dedicated investigation of agreed common ground; mutual respect and endless curiosity; affinity, integrity and kinship. With non-hierarchical and emergent forms of collaboration in an inclusive and diverse context as point of departure, these core values will be developed into the future of the professorship.

Our aim is to map the field; explore, collect and discuss approaches with which artistic researchers relate to connectivity. On a broader level we aim to position and contextualize the importance of artistic research to place itself in relation to society on the agenda of our discourse and to build a professional research network for further explorations and collaborations. The areas of research in themselves can be different and multi-facetted, as long as they are bound by the central concept of connectivity; topics for proposals may include, but are not restricted to:

  • artistic connectivity as a concept to think and work with in the context of artistic research in society
  • sustainability in artistic research: What stays in societal contexts after the artists or artistic researchers are gone and the research is finished?
  • impact of (art and) artistic research: What kind of ‘impact’ can we speak of, and what kind of impact ‘should’ artistic research have: on the arts and artistic practice, on the sciences and on society? How can impact be conceptualised and assessed in ways that do justice to the disciplines in which the work is done?
  • artistic research in contexts of socially-engaged art
  • artistic research in contexts of public space
  • artistic research in relation to: social-societal local agendas; multiple, recent and persistent crises; or the ideology of commoning, as a set of alternative approaches to economy, cooperation and distribution
  • artistic work and research as making socially engaged imaginary propositions

The call is open to all career stages from MA students to PhD researchers, postdoctoral researchers and beyond. The submission should clearly articulate the status of the researcher, so that the review team can evaluate proposals accordingly.

The full, multi-day event will include and combine laboratories, performances, forums, keynote presentations and interactive workshops. The form of the symposium will happen in a connective, co-creative fashion/design. It is our aim to collectively and co-creatively think and work together through the course of three days. We strongly welcome presentations including artistic contributions, performative, collaborative or participatory forms.

Practicalities and timeline

Proposals (about 250 words) for contributions accompanied by a brief bio of the author(s) may be submitted to the organizers via Falk Hübner (f.hubner@fontys.nl) no later than 30 June 2022. 

Your proposal should include the following:

  • Name
  • Institution
  • 250 words description of the content and possible form
  • 150 words text describing link with the questions/topics listed above

We aim to build an engaged community of meaningful dialogue. This, in turn, depends on the active participation of all delegates throughout the entirety of the conference. Therefore, we expect that participants who accept the invitation to attend will participate for the full duration of the conference.

We see the creation of this symposium as a co-creative process. The proposal will serve as a starting point in the collaborative process of “making the seminar”, towards the actual form of every participant’s contribution. We will therefore be in regular contact with delegates closer to the time of the conference. Please make sure you are familiar with the various deadline and submission dates, according to the following schedule:

Schedule:

  • Deadline proposals: 30 June 2022
  • Notification of acceptance, including feedback and questions: 15 July 2022
  • End of August – mid October: (online) discussion and exchange
  • Eventual deadlines during process on agreement
  • Final drafts of abstracts, forms & formats: 15 October 2022
  • Arrival in Tilburg and start of symposium: 17 November 2022

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