The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) invites proposals for the 2019 a2ru national conference, knowledges: artistic practice as method to take place at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, November 7-9, 2019.
a2ru advances the full range of arts and design-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice to acknowledge, articulate, and expand the vital role of higher education in our global society. a2ru’s work, in partnership with more than 40 research institutions, envisions a world in which universities—students, faculty, and leaders—explore, embed, and integrate the arts in everyday practice and research. With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the a2ru National Conference is an opportunity for practitioners and researchers from across the higher education spectrum to share innovations and perspectives in the arts.
The 2019 theme, knowledges: artistic practice as method is an invitation to explore modes of knowing, especially as arrived through the discovery of artistic practice. This theme is anchored in, but not limited to, the following questions:
- How do artistic practices map onto other methods of knowledge production?
- If contemporary artists are trained from the outset to be critical of their medium(s), how might this critical reflection inform more discrete disciplines, which often treat academic form as neutral vessels for the delivery of content?
- What can researchers across the arts, sciences, and humanities learn from one another’s practices and approaches?
The University of Kansas, host of this year’s a2ru conference, aims to infuse the arts into its research culture by advancing interdisciplinary projects across the sciences and humanities. This is accomplished through existing structures, such as the Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at the Spencer Museum of Art, The Commons, and the Research Excellence Initiative through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The exhibition and dialogue among artists and scholars developed through the IARI colloquium (November 6, 2019) will launch the 2019 a2ru national conference.
a2ru invites proposals for presentations from researchers, artists, field leaders, and other practitioners about arts-integrative research, practice, and curricula that explore the potential of artistic and other practice-led methods for inquiry across disciplines. In an effort to unpack different ways of knowing, proposed sessions will follow a structure that mimics the process of knowledge generation. Proposal formats will include 1) inquiries, 2) lightning talks, and 3) presentations. a2ru encourages proposals that represent diverse backgrounds, pursuits, affiliations, locations, ages, and institutions. This active format invites participants into the collective co-creation of knowledge.
TRACK ONE: knowledges—Exploring artistic practice as method
This track asks participants to consider the implications and insights for ways of knowing, especially as arrived through the discovery of artistic practices. Projects and programs should contribute to the conference theme by addressing one of the following: artistic knowledge, practice-led methods, and engagement. Proposals for artistic knowledge should consider artistic practices as methods for knowledge production. Rather than leading with problems to be solved or theories to be tested, proposals for practice-led methods look at questions and propositions that arise through practice itself. Engagement and circulation might be explored as collaborative methods that generate issues and emerging themes.
TRACK TWO: The arts and design in research universities
Topics in track two are primarily concerned with creating and supporting work, developing tools, and presenting ideas about the arts and design in the context of academic research and teaching cultures. Projects and programs should contribute to the conference by addressing one of the following themes: modes of collaboration; Interdisciplinary stewardship; equity; campus amplification and departmental engagement; promotion and tenure; and insights, cultures of evidence, impacts case-making, and dealing with data.
Inquiries: Challenge previously held beliefs OR explore unfamiliar ideas.
Group inquiry provides opportunity for immersive work sessions that address a topic or question of particular interest to participants. Proposals should include:
- intentionally designed format to foster discussion or activity across areas of expertise.
- a focus subject or practice in relation to the conference theme.
- intended working methods and outcomes of the group process.
- mechanism by which to continue the work post-conference.
Lightning Talks: Connect ideas.
Proposals in this section should consider work that is in development. Through sharing the early stages of research, artists, designers, scholars, and students have an opportunity to exchange information and ideas to better inform the work in its publishing/presentation stage. Proposals may include:
- basic keywords to describe the multiple facets of the research.
- ideas for who might collaborate in the next stages (eg: computer engineers, biochemists, composers, choreographers, designers, etc.).
- challenges faced in doing the work.
- next steps/questions to work toward.
- short (less than 10 minute) performance or presentation of the work in its current state.
Presentations and Performances: Share work that is more fully developed.
Presenters and performers can reflect on completed work or suggest next steps for projects that have already launched. Proposals should include:
- description of the content to be presented.
- explanation of how the format of presentation will be conducive to the next steps.