When We Were Researching It Together – Ways of Working in Participatory Art-based Research

International conference 16.-18.th of April 2020 in Hamburg

Between 2011 and 2018 two cultural institutions and two universities in Hamburg have teamed up for an experiment in the growing field of artistic and art-based research: Within the programmes Assemblies & Participation and Performing Citizenship they explored formats of research in between art, academia and society that was meant to include not only artists and researchers but also members of other communities, such as kids, neighbours, activists, citizens and non-citizens of different backgrounds.

More than 30 research projects have been conceived and conducted to interweave participatory research, participatory art and cultural studies into a methodology that forms what could be called the Hamburg School of Participatory Art-based Research.

Methodologies developed within these projects have now been documented, analysed and evaluated by a transdisciplinary team of researchers. This three-day working conference aims to discuss first outcomes of this evaluation, wants to question and position these ways of working in the wider field of artistic research as it is evolving in the European context and confront them with experiences and insights of other experts in the field.

Are artistic and art-based research capable of making research more inclusive? How to set up sites, how to design processes of collective knowledge production? How to communicate within and how to coordinate most heterogeneous groups of researchers? Do these ways of working amount to what has been called »Advanced Practices« lately?

The three-day conference is focussing on formats of research which suggest new practices and propagate alternative realities through their collective and multi-dimensional enactment.

In working groups we will explore and discuss on different kinds of formats, their potentials and limits, including practical, experimental and discursive perspectives. For applications: pabr@hcu-hamburg.de

The conference is hosted by the research-project Participatory Art-based Research and Knowledge Production, a cooperation by HafenCity University, FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research and K3 – Centre for Choreography | Tanzplan Hamburg.

Participatory Art Based Research

academic-artistic research as participative knowledge production with HafenCity University, FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research , K3 | Tanzplan Hamburg, 2019-2021

Participatory Art Based Research (PABR)

The research project PABR evaluates the methodologies and formats developed in the course of the two art based research programs Assembly and Participation (2012-2014) and Performing Citizenship (2015-2018). It aims to present coherent approaches of participatory art based research derived from the conducted 20 experimental, participatory, transdisciplinary, and artistic research projects carried out within the programs. To advance research in between academia, art and social practices the project will describe ways of working and best practice models and provide them in an online publication on how to conduct participatory art based research.

In a first phase the existing experiences, data and formats from the various projects are analyzed and charted into more general approaches. In a second phase the derived results are tested in newly conceived art based research projects. Hence, the project unites research ON and WITH artistic practices.

The approach of participatory art based research situates itself in the international discourse on art based research, as well as in citizen and participatory research, and tries to expand both with its combination. A focus of this research project rests on the verification that art based research has the potential to open academic research and make it more inclusive.

Participatory Art Based Research is a cooperation of the HafenCity University Hamburg with FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research and K3 | Tanzplan Hamburg and is funded by the Department of Science, Research and Equality of the City of Hamburg. In April 2020 we hold a conference to put forward our results and organize a workshop for further discussion.


Dr. des. Maike Gunsilius

Dr. Sebastian Matthias

HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU):

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Wildner

FUNDUS THEATER/ Theatre of Research:

PD Dr. Sibylle Peters

K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie | Tanzplan Hamburg:

Dr. Kerstin Evert


Mail: PABR@hcu-hamburg.de