The Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA) was founded in 2014 as a hub that allows the main institutions of higher education in Antwerp with a passion for the arts to join forces. These institutions are the three Schools of Arts in the city – St Lucas Antwerp, the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp – and the University of Antwerp. ARIA thus builds a unique cluster of expertise and commitment in a city with an impressive cultural history and artistic heritage as well as an exceptionally rich infrastructural network of cutting-edge museums, galleries, arts centres and performance venues.

The role of ARIA is threefold: it organises a PhD program for researchers (most of them practising artists) who conduct investigations in, with and for the arts; it functions as an international research group that brings together and stimulates research in and about the arts; and it is a centre of artistic expertise that reaches out to cultural and artistic players beyond the walls of education to set up local, regional, national and international collaborations.

ARIA does not only wish to safeguard the special character of research in the arts, but it also fosters active knowledge exchange with other artistic and scientific disciplines. It achieves this through unique partnerships among members from the Antwerp Schools of Arts, the University of Antwerp and external players, in which the partners’ autonomy and integrity come first.

The research that is being conducted in the context of ARIA is extremely varied and seeks to give contributors the free space which their creativity needs for their individual projects. Over the years, three major strands have nevertheless emerged as most typical of the kind of inquiries to which ARIA’s researchers are eager to contribute:

1) artistic research with a powerful critical and contemporary edge, in which art is seen as essential to the reinvention of society and as an indispensable form of imagining pathways to inclusiveness, sustainability and democracy;

(2) artistic research that mainly reflects upon the conditions and modalities of artistic practice itself, seeking to strengthen and renew specific artistic disciplines and open up fields of transdisciplinary discovery;

(3) artistic research that focuses on revitalising various kinds of cultural heritage, pursuing the rich traditions of artistic practice, tackling problems of expression and canonisation, and proposing forms of renewal through imitation and continuity through variation.

In just a few years’ time, ARIA has emerged as a major port of call for creative spirits from around the world who seek opportunities to energise their artistic practice through extended periods of research, whether they work in the field of spoken word, design, dance, performance, theatre, visual arts, literature or the new media.

Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts

Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 Room S.S208 2000 Antwerpen

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