a / r asbl – art-recherche (art and research) - is a non-profit organization for the support, exchange, circulation and promotion of arts research in the Ecoles Supérieures des Arts (Higher Schools of Arts) of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB)

Arts research?

This platform came to life in acknowledgement of the diversity of emergent arts practices which, particularly in art schools, invent their own research methodology immanent to the questions at hand, thus creating new fields of inquiry and knowledge.
Artistic creation is fundamentally unpredictable, unexpected, and even unverifiable, thus evading all pre-defined notions of what research in the arts can mean prior to being practised. It similarly eludes all subsequent systematization, or all uniformity of procedure and methodology. So it is essential to establish evaluation and identification strategies that are tailored to these particular objects.

This task will be carried out , among others, in close collaboration with the FRArt (Fonds de la recherche artistique within the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) and its International Artistic Committee. The FRArt organises calls for projects which will be financially supported.

Artistic research dissemination

a / r asbl intends to help the dissemination of research in art by playing a role of archiving and making available to the public the various research projects that emerge within the Higher Schools of Arts.

It is important that this artistic research, like other research, does not remain confined to the places where it emerges, but is accessible to other artist-researchers as well as to the general public. For this reason, a / r asbl is committed to the dissemination and circulation of this research.

In addition to the dissemination and archiving of the research projects supported by FRArt, the platform also offers information about the theses in progress or completed in FWB within the framework of the doctoral programme in art and art sciences organised by the Universities in collaboration with the Higher Schools of Arts.

The platform is also a place for archiving and making available the various research conducted in the Higher Schools of Arts or by their artist-researchers and associate researchers, and their teacher-researchers.

a / r asbl is the fruit of a reflection process carried out for many years by the Higher Schools of Art within what was then known as the Higher Council of Higher Eduction in Art of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (CSESA). In 2012 the CSESA organized an international colloquium in order to review the situation. The event titled "Einstein/Duchamp and after? Research in Higher Schools of Art" took place at the Palais des Académies in Brussels in November 2014.
The colloquium opened the debate, turning an internal CSESA debatee into one of larger, public interest. The number of participants and the quality of the audience’s attention proved how necessary and urgent it is to talk about this essential question and find a way for institutions to promote this research, the nature of which demands an original approach within the panorama of higher education.
If the colloquium brought to light the richness and general interest in research projects developed in art schools in Europe and elsewhere in the world, it also revealed the existence of well-structured, high-quality research already taking place within certain Higher Schools of Art in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
The CSESA considered that it was necessary to highlight these research initiatives and reinforce the dynamics already in place by creating a platform to support and promote research, exchanges of practice, and availability of resources. And as a result, it created a / r asbl and its artistic council.

In 2016 and 2017, a / r asbl, thanks to a public grant, organised international calls for artistic research projects and financially supported the 10 selected research projects.

In 2018, at the initiative of the FWB Government, the Fonds de Recherche en Art (FRArt) was created by decree. The FRArt receives an annual grant of 250000 euros. From 2019 onwards, it is the FRArt which organises the calls for proposals, while a/r asbl organises the dissemination, archiving and diffusion of research.

It is important to emphasize that artistic research should not be mistaken for scientific research wherein art becomes an object of study, as it is treated in art history faculties for example.

A/R

As a platform for the support and dissemination of artistic research, from 2015 to 2018, a / r asbl operated under a peer-review system. A/R has established an artistic committee for this purpose. The online platform a / r asbl publishes the following projects:

FRArt

Since 2018, the a / r asbl Artistic Committee has been integrated into FRArt which respects the way of working and the way artistic research is practised within Higher Schools of Art

FRArt validates the calls for projects that have been previously examined and selected by each EsA. The Artistic Committee, half of which is renewed every two years, analyses the submitted projects and makes a selection. Depending on the available means and the quality of the proposals, FRArt supports research projects through the awarding of a grant.

Doctoral school 20 / ED20

Doctoral School 20 thesis projects have their own academic evaluation system, based on Universities and Higher Schools of Art

Research in Higher Schools of Art

Higher Schools of Art -specific research projects are evaluated/defined by the Higher Schools of Art themselves.

a/r asbl

a / r asbl is managed by a Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors of a / r asbl, renewed every 3 years, stimulates the development of research policy, sits on the Board of the FRArt, and, in this capacity, participates in the elaboration of the calls for projects, and in the designation of the members of the artistic committee.

The Board of a / r asbl is elected by the General Assembly.

Representatives of all the Schools of Arts in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation that are members of a / r asbl sit on the General Assembly.