Research at KASK & Conservatory

With over seventy researchers hailing from both Belgium and abroad, KASK & Conservatory is firmly committed to research in the arts. All research projects are embedded in one of our departments, which guarantees a fruitful interaction between research and education.

Core areas of research

All research at the School of Arts, regardless of department or discipline, is linked to one or more of our three core areas of research: creation and creative processes; analysis of historical and contemporary art, design and performance practices; and social awareness in the approach to art and design.

Creation and creative processes

To many artists and designers, a thorough study of the (individual) creative or performance process is the driving force behind the development and continuing relevance of their practice. In this research area, an experimental or documentary exploration of techniques, or a phenomenological, speculative or dramaturgical approach to the creative process leads not only to reflection on one’s place within a certain discipline, but above all to groundbreaking new creations.

Analysis of historical and contemporary art, design and performance practices

In this research area, art and design are considered within their historical dimension. The researcher’s historical approach, however, is always chosen for its contemporary relevance. The study of historical practices and methods serves to generate new insights into the development of the discipline as a whole, and may also spark the creation of new works, performances, designs and methods.

Social awareness in the approach to art and design

Art and design never function inside a vacuum: the wider social context of these disciplines is the focus of this research area. An awareness of the political and social context of art and design practices is evident in the critical and/or engaged nature of many School of Arts research projects. Our researchers’ voices are heard in topical debates on art and design and their social contexts. Some of our researchers use their particular expertise to contribute to the development of a sustainable society. An anthropologically inspired approach, for instance, may focus on cross-cultural creation or the relationship between ethnography and art, opening up new insights and possibilities. Another example is a more sociological approach that may study different schools, subcultures, or national and international interaction.

PhD in the Arts

In 2012, the first PhDs in the Arts were awarded as a result of the institutional collaboration between Ghent University and KASK & Conservatory. In a PhD in the Arts, an artist or designer develops and expands upon her research project within her own artistic practice. A reflective discursive process is an integral part of each project, leading to various publications. The PhD in the Arts is relatively new in Flanders, and our doctoral students are helping to define the boundaries of artistic research, where ¬theory and artistic practice meet.

Postdoctoral research

After completing a PhD, some researchers proceed into postdoctoral research. The key element in this is the research-led development of a personal oeuvre, linked to a reflective process. Artistic output is positioned in the context of the wider arts field, and the expertise built up finds its way into diverse publications. Postdoctoral artistic researchers also guide and coach bachelor, master and PhD students.

Two- to four-year research projects

Two- to four-year research projects are aimed at the acquisition of knowledge within and about art and design practice that can subsequently be used for educational purposes. As such, these projects are very closely linked to the lines of research set out by the various departments. Multiple researchers can group their artistic or theoretical expertise into a single project, whose output can be both artistic and theoretical.

Practice-based Scientific Research (PWO)

PWO projects are research projects within KASK & Conservatory’s professional bachelor programmes. There is a distinction between specialist projects that examine a subject area in depth and multi-disciplinary projects. The latter transcend departments and faculties, and focus on three areas of research: the creation of habitable cities and surroundings; care and society; and product and process optimization.

Specialist projects are embedded in the architectural design department’s lines of research. A PWO project is not only relevant to the educational field, but is also characterized by its relevance to the professional work environment. Research results are disseminated in the educational field, and prove their worth in the professional world.