From the International Center of Knowledge for the Arts:

On the basis of clearly defined projects, Artistic Research enables teachers not only to develop further and reflect on their own artistic practice and the processes that go into the production of new works, but also to investigate and develop new approaches and methods within artistic practice. The projects generally generate knowledge of artistic practice in the shape of innovative productions, teaching methods, artistic methodology, written reflections, studies of technology and materials, and pedagogical considerations (Pedagogical Development Activities – referred to in Danish as ‘PUV’).

Knowledge Building and Knowledge Sharing

In terms of knowledge building and knowledge sharing through artistic insights, the results of Artistic Research are often diverse and specific to the various artistic disciplines. Artistic Research projects are subject to flexible requirements for documentation and reflection on the process and the artistic result. This ensures continuous development of the knowledge base for artistic education on a par with the knowledge building that research represents in universities. In other words, Artistic Research can be compared to regular research. However, it differs from knowledge building in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences or cultural studies. It is knowledge-producing action in and through artistic practice.

In Denmark the English term ‘Artistic Research’ was selected as a translation for KUV (Artistic Development Activity), thereby allying the field with the international development that has taken place in the field of artistic research over the past 30 years, as a special branch of practice-based research carried out by artists. It differs from ‘pure’ artistic practice in that methodology, reflection and knowledge-sharing plays a greater role. However, in Denmark no progression has yet been established from BA/BFA and MA/MFA programmes to the so-called ‘third cycle’: PhD degrees in the field of practice-based art research. Still, as a practice-based field of knowledge, Artistic Research can use art’s aesthetic and performative modus operandi to enhance and challenge scholarly perspectives and to probe current societal issues.

In a report in 2012, a committee appointed by the cultural ministry formulated a short definition of Artistic Research as: “An integral part of an artistic process that leads to a publicly available result and is accompanied by reflection on both the process and the presentation of the result.” You can read the full report here (in Danish).