Our mission statement


Nothing describes transArts’ work more fittingly than the reflections of the music theorist, researcher on art theory and art, sociologist and philosopher Henk Borgdorff from the Amsterdam School of the Arts, in his paper “The debate on research in the arts”. We understand ourselves as doing research for the arts with a largely instrumental perspective. As stated in Borgdoff’s article:

Research for the arts can be described as applied research in a narrow sense. In this type, art is not so much the object of investigation, but its objective. The research provides insights and instruments that may find their way into concrete practices in some way or other. Examples are material investigations of particular alloys used in casting metal sculptures, investigation of the application of live electronics in the interaction between dance and lighting design, or the study of the ‘extended techniques’ of an electronically modifiable cello. In every case these are studies in the service of art practice. The research delivers, as it were, the tools and the knowledge of materials that are needed during the creative process or in the artistic product. I have called this the ‘instrumental perspective’.

Thus, transArts’ mission is to “provide insights and instruments that may find their way into concrete practices in some way or other”; in this case, for the performing arts. So far, our research aim is by far a less controversial one compared to those doing “research on the arts”, “research in the arts”, (For a very enlightening discussion on the issue see the aforementioned article by Borgdorff’s), or even those working on “artistic research”, which, in the opinion of Giaco Schiesser, culture and media theoretician and director of the department for Art & Media of the Zurich University of Arts, “still awaits an appropriate, fluid, and yet authoritative epistemology.”

Schiesser, Giaco: “A certain Frustration…–Paradoxies, Voids, Perspectives” of Artistic Research Today”.
 In: Practices of Experimentation. Zurich: Scheidegger & Spiess / Chicago: University Press 2012, p. 96-111.

Borgdorff, Henk: “The debate on research in the arts” in Sensuous Knowledge 02, 2006, Bergen: Bergen National Academy of the Arts.