ARIAS was established as a research platform by five higher education institutions in Amsterdam based on the conviction that merging academic and artistic research can contribute to important 21st century research questions by unlocking new perspectives. Artistic research offers insights and interventions for an increasingly complex society in which large-scale processes of digitalisation, technologisation and internationalisation shape social issues that require different forms of knowledge, which cannot only be acquired through traditional academic research. Through experimental approaches, artistic research contributes to these issues in a unique way; artistic research can, for example, accentuate issues, raise different research questions, provide sensory insights and sketch speculative visions of the future. Arias provides a platform for researchers within the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences who are especially interested in exploring new research methods and procedures.
The partnership between academic higher education and higher professional education within ARIAS not only leads to collaboration between disciplines and research methods that are usually separated, it also leads to the delineation and exploration of new fields of research, for which the cooperation is particularly suitable. Collaboration projects increase visibility and the opportunity for international recognition in the form of research funding. In its role as a hub for research collaboration, ARIAS specifically focuses on (but is not limited to) three focus areas in which there is unique expertise within the ARIAS network: ‘art, culture and health’, ‘the city as a site of research’, and ‘art, research and education’. In its ambitions to strengthen artistic research, ARIAS is in line with the National Science Agenda, as well as European initiatives for strengthening artistic research, as proposed for a new Horizon 2024 programme.
In addition to the different types of research projects between the five institutions, ARIAS also supports the supervision of post-Master’s researchers (for example through the strengthening of shared research colloquia and meetings), as well as providing guidance in obtaining a post-Master’s degree (PhD or other so-called ‘Third Cycle’ trajectory) for research into, with and through the arts. ARIAS can act as an intermediary and offer advice in the formulation of a research project in which various ARIAS partners are involved. In conjunction with the existing research structures, ARIAS is developing a joint infrastructure for researchers in the application process (pre-PhD phase) and during a post-master trajectory. The research groups that find a place on the ARIAS platform, not only serve as the sounding board for these processes, but also as the breeding ground where new research projects are conceived, which can attract PhD researchers.
Artistic research within ARIAS stands for research into, with and through the arts, not only in the professional field of performing and visual arts, but also in a variety of other arenas, ranging from healthcare, the urban environment and new forms of education, to the digital platform society, climate change and large-scale migration. In the Amsterdam model of artistic research that ARIAS promotes, special attention is devoted to practice-oriented aspects of research (‘maker’s knowledge’), which makes a unique and independent contribution the research process. This vision of research as a process of doing and making ensures that artistic research specifically considers the material, embodied, situated and performative dimensions of the research.