Vol 20 (2008) The Artist as Researcher

In the Nordic countries during the last two decades or so, a process has been set in motion whereby the education of those working within the theatre has been moved from the usual theatre school environment to the organizational structure of higher education. In 1985, Sweden changed the name of the “scenskola” (stage school) to “teaterhögskola” (Theatre University College), to mark its higher academic level. The next step was to install professors and, of course, research projects conducted by its teachers and post graduate students. Today, the Swedish Theatre School has joined the Bologna system with a master’s level. In Finland, this re-organization has been going on for even longer. In Denmark, however, there is no possibility for postgraduate students to conduct research projects at its theatre schools.

Why should the actor, director, dancer, light designer, set designer become a researcher, in what way does the job of research differ from the ordinary artistic process and why can researchers from theatre and dance studies departments not perform such research projects themselves? Should the outcome be a written report or could it instead be a performance? is the research field part of a pedagogical development at the at the theatre academies or should it only deal with artistic expression? A lot of questions that do not have one answer. it is a young research field trying to find its place between traditional academies and the artist’s ordinary conditions.

One of the starting points for the decision to create a volume about this new research field was the symposium “The double view”, held in Copenhagen in the spring of 2007 (co-arranged with the association Nordic Theatre Researchers). In his presentation Hans-Thies Lehmann discussed why the students from the Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft (applied theatre studies) in Gießen had played such an important role in the changing of the German theatre and performance art during the last decades. His answer was that they give as much time to theory as to practice. He criticized the fact that less and less time has been given to theory in the traditional acting schools. he stressed the importance of not measuring theory and practice; that is to say, not to try to find theories that fit the practice. Students have to work with the imperfection of the relationship.

When we sent out the invitation for articles for this volume, we decided to call it “practice lead research”. brad Haseman argues, in his “A Manifesto for Performative Research”, for what he calls a research paradigm. According to him, it is after Quantitative and Qualitative Research now time to accept Performative Research as a new research paradigm. It is “expressed in nonnumeric data, but in forms of sybmolic data other than words in discursive text, of still and moving images, of music and sound, of live action and digital code”. It is a “Multimethod led by practice”. For Haseman, t is of no importance that the presentation of the result should be given in a traditional academic text; it should be possible to present the research in its own art form on its own conditions.

The question of how to validate artistic research ha been a dividing point. The solution has often been to combine it with a written thesis. But it is often the case that the validation is based on the written material, which is most similar to traditional academic assessment. This leads to the conclusion that we are perhaps at the beginning of a paradigm, but it still has a long way to go to find its own ways of validating and arguing for its independence. (Continue reading the introduction by Rikard Hoogland in NTS vol 20…)

Rikard Hoogland
The Artist as a Researcher (Introduction)
Cecilia Lagerström

Artistic Research in the Performing Arts – In Search of a Poetics 
Esa Kirkkopelto
New Start: Artistic Research at the Finnish Theatre Academy
Annette Arlander

Finding Your Way Through the Woods – Experiences of Artistic Research
Tomi Humalisto

What Can a Walnut Box Teach us About Artistic Research?
Leena Rouhiainen

Artistic Research and Collaboration
Kent Sjöström

Reflection, Lore and Acting – the Practitioner’s Approach 
Camilla Damkjaer

Researcher and Amateur Practitioner? – a Research Animal Ventures out Among Performance Gymnasts
Pentti Paavolainen
The Complexity of Rehearsal Analysis – an Attempt at its First Organisation through Sauter’s Event-Model
Bent Holm

The Dramaturgical ABC – Reflections on Theories in Practice
Svein Gladsø

Another Turn – Cognitive Science as a General Theory for Theatre Historiography?
Book Reviews