7.6.2Organizing artistic research

To facilitate the PhD in the arts and artistic research more broadly, most universities and the Schools of Arts they are associated with have created specific organisational units. These vary in institutional embeddedness and executive mandate, and highlight the particular conceptualization of artistic research among the Flemish associations (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Institutional embedding of artistic research in Flanders

The Associatie KULeuven arguably represents the most integrated example, with LUCA Faculty of Arts effectively joining the university and School of Arts into one organisational unit dedicated to artistic research and doctoral trajectories in the arts. Due to this, distinctions between ‘artistic’ and ‘academic’ researchers are less strict, allowing – exemplified by the ability of arts-based PhD holders to apply for (internal) professorial vacancies, for instance. In turn, this facilitates the acquisition of external funding, which often requires senior or tenured staff for eligible applications (e.g. FWO; ERC). The Associatie Universiteit & Hogescholen Limburg does not quite feature an integrated faculty joining UHasselt and PXL-MAD, but interaction and collaboration between the Faculteit Architectuur & Kunst (UHasselt) and MAD-Research (PXL-MAD) is structurally anchored in the association. This is illustrated by the fact that various senior (artistic) researchers at MAD-Research hold UHasselt mandates too, allowing them to act as academic supervisors for PhDs in the arts.

With the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA), the Associatie Universiteit & Hogescholen Antwerpen (AUHA) has a university research group dedicated to artistic research, which associated Schools of Arts collaborate with and  doctoral candidates in the arts are enrolled in. Although ARIA is part of UAntwerpen, its steering committee consists of university and School of Arts faculty – ensuring representation of academic and artistic perspectives. The Universitaire Associatie Brussel (UAB), finally, maintains a more strict division between VUB and associated Schools of Arts RITCS and KCB. The Kunstenplatform is situated on the level of the association, and features representatives of all parties involved to organize the PhD in the arts and advise the association on issues concerning artistic research. Despite the presence of various representatives in the Kunstenplatform, the UAB’s format is arguably the least integrated example here, acting in the first place as an administrative, organizational unit rather than a substantial space for artistic research to take place in.

The UGent association is unique in not operating a formal, dedicated organ to facilitate the doctorate in the arts and artistic research in general. Instead, it favours direct interactions between PhD candidates, artistic supervisors and their academic analogues employed at the university. Additionally, it merits to point out that even though all associations do characterize potential outcomes of doctoral research in the arts to be artistic (e.g. film) or scholarly (e.g. peer-reviewed journal publications) in nature, the UGent association explicitly describes realisations as consisting of both – emphasising scholarly expectations of artistic researchers.