On request from the Norwegian Council for Artistic Research, an investigation on publishing and dissemination of Artistic Research was completed in April 2017. The report was conducted by a working group led by Jørn Mortensen, Rector at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
The working group encourages institutions to find new strategies to disseminate research data and results through the use of archives and CRIstin (Current Research Information System in Norway). This is undoubtedly an important aspect, which to some degree has been neglected. Consequently, many institutions are developing customised systems for the documentation of artistic research.
While there are many possibilities for ensuring the accessibility of artistic research through public events such as festivals, art galleries and theatre events, and through social or mass media, it is not necessarily clear to the general public that the artistic result is financed and developed through artistic research itself. As previously mentioned, the investigation distinguishes between publishing and dissemination. The working group led by Mortensen identified the need for arenas that ensure more opportunities for the dissemination of research. Artistic research projects are generally presented at conferences through a paper, an oral presentation with some documentation. Conferences devoted to artistic research within specific themes are becoming frequent and take place all over Europe. Likewise, the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme (NARP) hosts an Artistic Research Forum meeting (ARF), where current research projects are presented. All the projects at the Forum conferences have been peer reviewed and are financially supported by NARP.
In its report, the working group suggests that the ARF conferences are to be developed further – for example, by establishing an artistic research biennale as a supplement. There is a need for spatial experiences where the development of new knowledge can happen, the goal being that the research presented in situ can be credited, but also serves as a reference point for discourse.
Unlike many other conferences, the project announcements at NARP are not directed towards specific themes. This contributes to sustaining a sound basis in artistic practice and to providing funding for research in unknown territories. At the same time, project themes in different artistic fields are always related to the general discourse and to what is considered to be relevant in the context of artistic research.
The requirement for artistic activity of a high standard gives all NARP projects a distinct artistic profile. The involved academic institutions have supported this development unanimously; there is no obligation for the researcher to indulge in given concepts or methodologies from other fields. The trust in the value of the artist´s perspective is undisputable. The power to define the content of the research work is a prerequisite for free artistic development. Supporting the diversity of artistic expressions is a main goal, and artistic researchers are free to choose their methods and formats according to the needs of their projects. Artists are therefore the driving force of the concepts and contents that are subject to artistic research funded through NARP.
The working group led by Mortensen has challenged NARP to find new ways for presenting art projects, for example by giving space to demonstrations of artistic methods through seeing or hearing. In 2018, the conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Art, Music and Design of the University of Bergen, on 24th and 25th September. Projects are generally presented at their beginning and completion. Sharing and discussing the various projects is a way to disseminate artistic research among colleagues and peers. All presentations of projects financed by NARP have been peer reviewed prior to being financed. When the projects are presented at the conferences, they are supplied with an external commentator. The commentators’ task is to offer a constructive, critical view to the project team, and to inspire the following open debate on various aspects of artistic research.
In recent years, the Forum meetings hosted guests from neighbouring countries and from abroad to present and discuss their projects. In 2018, researchers from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Scotland and Austria have been invited to deliver presentations on their current work, which ideally can be a work-in-progress, or a finished piece. The aim is to create a setting which is practice-oriented and allows for an in-depth discussion of the participants’ research projects and the activities involved.
Mortensen's working group had a third recommendation that was achieved in 2018. Stockholm University of the Arts and NARP joined forces to provide the basis for a digital journal for artistic research (www.visjournal.nu). The journal will publish twice a year, and every issue will feature five to nine peer-reviewed expositions. The aim is to contribute to insight, knowledge and awareness of the methods, contexts and ethical issues relevant to artistic research processes. The hope is that a unified and recognised regional resource will strengthen Nordic cooperation and dissemination of artistic research.
More information on the upcoming ARF Institutional Conference and the projects financed by NARP can be found on: www.artistic-research.no
More information on VIS, Nordic Journal for Artistic Research, can be found on: www.visjournal.nu