ACPA Joint PhD Session

Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, Leiden (NL)

Each year the Academy of Creative and Performings Arts (ACPA) hosts a Joint Session for her PhD candidates. The aim of this Joint Session is to let PhD's from doctoral programmes docARTES and PhDArts and PhD's who are not pursuing their research through a doctoral programme, come together and explore topics and shared challenges inherent to the field of Artistic Research.

10 Theses on The Archive

This year's Joint Session focused on the notion of the archive, archiving practices, and archival spaces. All participants, presenters, and guests have been prompted to enter into a dialogue with one or more of the propositions in the “10 Theses on The Archive”, elaborated by Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran - CAMP:

  1. Don’t Wait for the Archive
  2. Archives are not reducible to the particular Forms that they take
  3. The Direction of Archiving will be Outward, not Inward
  4. The Archive is not a Scene of Redemption
  5. The Archive deals not only with the Remnant but also with the Reserve
  6. Historians have merely interpreted the Archive. The Point however is to Feel it
  7. The Image is not just the Visible, the Text is not just the Sayable
  8. The Past of the Exhibition Threatens the Future of the Archive
  9. Archives are governed by the Laws of Intellectual Propriety as opposed to Property
  10. Time is not Outside of the Archive: It is in it.

Two days were filled with presentations and breakout sessions and wrapped up with a plenary session in which all attending participants tackled the possibility of compiling a document made up of fundamental statements concerning the work with archives (a manifesto on the archive?). The purpose was to open up a discussion and set up perspectives for continued research on this particular topic in the future.

During the breakout sessions on March 25 and 26th, ACPA candidates were asked to share their responses to one or more of the propositions in Pad.Ma’s document from the perspective of their own work. Persuasive arguments against the relevance of the propositions from the perspective of one's own work were also encouraged, as well as the production of new or altered propositions. These responses and new or altered propositions were collected and brought together in the concluding session.

Special Guests
The Joint session included presentations by ACPA PhD candidates Veronika Aumann, Heloisa Amaral, Carlo Diaz and Donald Weber, as well as a number of special guests including:

  • Daniela Agostinho, assistant Professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies in the University of Copenhagen, one of the editors of Uncertain Archives, and currently involved in the project Archival Encounters.
  • Laurence Libin, former lecturer in the Universities of Columbia and New York, editor-in-chief of the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (Oxford University Press) and former curator of musical instruments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Inês de Avena Braga, recorder player, founder and artistic director of ensemble La Cicala and docARTES alumna. She obtained her doctorate in 2015 for her dissertation Dolce Napoli: approaches for performance - Recorders for the Neapolitan Baroque repertoire, 1695-1759.
  • Andrea Stultiens, photographer, researcher and initiator of the NWO-funded project Reframing PJU and PhDArts alumna. She obtained her doctorate in 2018 for her dissertation Ebifananyi, a study of photographs in Uganda in and through an artistic practice.

Joint ACPA 'manifesto' - Conclusions
The two-day session brought up a diverse range of insights. The relevance of exploring a flexible notion of the archive (engaging in both the past and present) was brought forward. The role of archives in modulating access to experience, its relationship with the realm of collective memory and the technologies of memory, both its hindering role when it is associated with authority and its creative and transformational potential were dealt with.

The concluding exchange proved that the transdisciplinary nature of the session was fertile, laying out opening towards further work in this rich field. "Focusing on the archive turned out to be an excellent choice and the didactic plan with a focus text, contributions from students, (excellent) guest speakers and break-out groups was also very inspiring and constructive.” - dr. Joost Vanmaele, ACPA alumnus and docARTES coordinator.