Friday, December 11, 2015

"From Output to Impact" - the proceedings

‘Impact’ is a big thing in research. From elaborating in grant applications on how academic, economic, or societal relevance will be aimed at (if not achieved) to intricate author-, article- and journal-level citation analyses, research products and producers are ever more considered successful or worthwhile to invest in on the basis of the impact they are perceived and hoped to make on their discipline and its knowledge status.

If quantitative assessment of this impact is seen as deeply problematic in many disciplines, it is really a non-topic for AR yet. I remember talks about bibliometrics, years ago, but I know of nobody among my peers who feels he has reasons to worry about his h-index. At any rate, the number of AR journals is still so small that none of them ‘count’ for those companies that make a living out of propagating such systems.

artistic research, from output to impact

This does not mean that AR should not take into account whether or not anybody out there needs it, aside from the researchers themselves and their bosses. After all, AR is still almost exclusively subsidized by the government. (I know of only one company that invests in AR – the exception that proves the rule, surely.)

For me, the most directly interested party is the musician at large: I consider pianists (professionals on stage, teachers, and students) to be my primary targeted research audience; secondary are colleague-researchers. It is not problematic to get a feeling of whether and how the latter are reached: the academic dissemination channels work reasonably well to that effect (peer researchers attend conferences on AR, read journals, etc.).

It is very different to wonder about reaching non-researcher musicians. My dissertation has been downloaded by thousands, but I can only assume that nobody would do that (it’s a big file) without a practical motive, as it can be viewed online just as well. In any case, I regularly meet musicians who are clearly far from up to date on the AR in their own professional field. We can give master-classes in conservatoires, play on concert stages (instead of only at conferences), hope that students and teachers read the publications that the libraries of their conservatoires buy or subscribe to, etc., but that feels decidedly limited.

artistic research, from output to impact

About a year ago, I convened a seminar "From Output to Impact", on the topic of how to integrate artistic research fingings in the instrumental training at the conservatoire level. It was organised as a joint effort by the Orpheus Institute (Gent) and the Norwegian Academy of Music (Oslo). The proceedings of that gathering, which took place in Gent, are now available online. They comprise 16 presentations as well as the documents pertaining to the event, and are published in the Research Catalogue to take advantage of the possibilities of including multimedia materials.

Next to a pamphlet piece by yours truly and a keynote by OECD Head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division Dirk Van Damme, there are contributions by Elisabeth Belgrano, Jeroen Billiet, Amy Bliers-Caruthers, Johannes Boer, Magdalena Bork & Maria Gstaettner, Paul Craenen, Tom De Cock & Vincent Caers, Anthony Gritten, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Murphy McCaleb, Anna Scott & Alessandro Cervino, Aslaug Louise Slette & Ingunn Fanavoll Øye, Joost Vanmaele, and Susan Williams.


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