Research in art: a transdisciplinary, multi-form process

Research is a mostly intellectual process which facilitates the generation and development of new ideas, an important component in artistic creation. Using a specific language, artists are able to see the fruits of their investigations in a pre-defined field, relating to the intangible world and to the concrete space in which we live.

Artists’ methodology is not like that of the regular researcher, but it can be similar and inspire others, notably in scientists’ interest in serendipity, as observed by painters, sculptors and designers. And contemporary artists often borrow from scientific researchers: defining their protocols, running experiments, working in networks and building their laboratories, sharing goals – one of which is the development of thought and awareness.

Arts pedagogy focuses on creation as the principal component in its projects, but research is also essential. As soon as they arrive at La Cambre, students begin thinking of their arts work as research. They are asked to constantly renew their capacity for invention while remaining aware of pre-existing structures and parameters.

La Cambre places so much importance on the idea of research that it also sponsors a doctorate in the arts, a degree which has existed since 2004 at the FNRS by the doctoral School 20, in Arts and Art Sciences. La Cambre defends the idea that the doctorate in Art and Art Sciences is based on the creation of an art work or of a production coming out of a demanding artistic practice and the development of an original theoretical reflection relating to it.

Along with the specific doctoral program and its formal, institutional constraints, La Cambre sponsors and promotes a certain number of activities and research projects. Along with a seminar dealing with the research methodology proposed at the Master’s level, the School offers Study Days which show off and share a number of dynamic activities at the school or in collaboration with it. To that end La Cambre is associated with the research group RIMELL (the Mariemont Museum and KULeuven).

It is also closely associated with the asbl Art-Recherche (a/r) which since 2014 includes all the arts institutions of higher learning of the Wallonia- Brussels Federation. a/r promotes reflection and research in the arts in the ESA, and is in charge of allocating funding to support arts research projects on an annual basis. This financing should be officially perpetuated in 2018 for arts research at the FNRS, as a dedicated field.