On Value WG3

The core question for all research is: what do we value? It determines how we identify gaps in knowledge, solicit responses, allocate resources, evaluate outcomes. But which epistemological paradigm do we imply when we talk about “value”? Are we deploying dichotomic, thinking? Are we assuming a linear concept of time? Are we expecting a research product, performance and/or artefact to evaluate or should we engage also with the challenge of an open-ended process? Is “value” something we can define once and for all, or does it rather ask us to re-define our own role(s) as evaluators (embracing humility and fallibility)? When is ambivalence, or polivalence, disturbing? When is a value itself (in-)valid? Within which spectra of valediction do we bestow our blessings on our peers? Perhaps we need a new understanding of terms such as “value”, “evaluation”, or even a new vocabulary to re-frame what we assume our values denote.

The members of this working group accordingly pose fundamental questions around what is valued, at a time when the viability of life on this planet is questioned daily. The knowledge we have acquired to date is insufficient for dealing with the challenges posed by 21st century planetary agendas. How can we respond to such provocations when they seemingly exceed our collective human capacity? Who is this ‘we’ that determines values? Who speaks (or who may speak)? To whom (or what)? With what motivations (and at what distance)? How might we recognise and work with ecologies of value? Do values exist beyond the realm of the human that enable more ecological understanding, interpretations, and perspectives? How do we enable a parliament of things so that our values do not prejudice outcomes but allow things to engage with us on their own terms? How does artistic research reconfigure, exemplify, or subvert such questions?

If artistic knowledge and its research practices create new forms of human insight, experience, communities of learning, and non-disciplinary forms of knowledge that characteristically engage the human senses, then a familiarity with appropriate forms of attention, valuing, and sharing what ‘we’ value establishes a first step towards identifying, responding to and re-configuring research priorities.

Under the central concept of “value”, we invite proposals from individual researchers as well as research groups/clusters (initially LUCA School of Arts/Architecture KU Leuven, but additionally international networks) to explore what we ‘should’ value in research. Proposals should address one of the following sub-themes or spectra:

  1. Supervision(how does the network of supervisory relations establish research agendas. How do these trajectories affect the outcome of the PhD research? What is valued in supervisory encounters and how do these differ from informal influences such as intellectual mentoring, peers, friendship, or formal rituals such as examination?)
  2. Interdisciplinarity(what is an effective interdisciplinary collaboration? How do participants engage outside, or beyond, their own training?)
  3. Auto-didacticism/amateurism (what is the role of the refusal? How does the trickster reconfigure research assumptions and priorities? How far does format set the value agenda? What is the value in formalising artistic research? Conversely, what is the transformative value of artistic research – towards society, towards thinking and acting in the Anthropocene – its criticality, its ability to go beyond self-referentiality?)

We envisage an open, rhizomic archive of spectra that will constitute a set of traces for researchers to find their own way and address value from radically new perspectives. Some suggestions for spectra or alternatives within the above topics include:

  • immersion/supervision
  • disciplinarity/amateurism
  • objectivity/intra-action
  • subvision/emergence/intra-vision

The working group is a collaboration initiated between LUCA School of Arts and Dept. Of Architecture, KU Leuven.

Members of the working group include:
Dieter De Vlieghere (LUCA School of Arts) WG3 Contact
Rolf Hughes (Dept. of Architecture, KU Leuven)
Veerle Van der Sluys (LUCA School of Arts)
Rachel Armstrong (Dept. of Architecture, KU Leuven)
Peter De Graeve (LUCA School of Arts)
Breg Horemans (Dept. of Architecture, KU Leuven)
Virginia Tassinari (LUCA School of Arts)
Bart Geerts (LUCA School of Arts)

Upcoming activities

Contributions are sought initially for an internal seminar in May 2022 (with the partners of the working group), leading to a contribution to “Making Artistic Research Public” the plenary EARN conference in Helsinki (27-28/10/ 2022).

Page last updated on 04/11/2021 at 21:06