In 2019 the University of Barcelona and the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) assumed joint responsibility for the organisation of the “INDISCIPLINES” Conference on Research in Arts Practice. This international event was the first major academic activity of Campus de les Arts. The conference took place from 28-30 November 2019.

The conference Proceedings were published in July 2020 and are available online on the Campus de les Arts website.

Campus de les Arts seeks to address the challenges related to graduate studies and research. More specifically, Campus de les Arts has proposed to significantly promote interdisciplinary artistic research as a key factor in the development and innovation in research activity of participating centres, by means of the creation of the CIRAC-Centre Interdisciplinari de Recerca en Arts de Catalunya [Interdisciplinary Arts Research Centre of Catalonia]. In this way, in benefitting the interchange of various artistic practices (visual arts, music, theatre, dance, cinema and audiovisual creation, design and fashion, conservation and restoration) and working on the cutting edge of other areas of knowledge, the CIRAC will seek to host projects related to the five main research areas established for Campus de les Arts: artistic practice; meta-research; materiality in the arts; the relationship between art and education; and the relationship between art and community.

In this context, the INDISCIPLINES conference had a double signification. On the one hand, as its name suggests, it sought to actively participate in collective reflection on the concrete content of artistic research, transcending the internal and external fields more habitually associated with it. It proposed moving beyond the formulation of a scientific discipline that might limit its form of knowledge, without losing sight of the ultimate goal of bolstering artistic education within the broader academic community. In the terms of Campus de les Arts, this means it might work as the theoretical ground for the development of the activity of the proposed CIRAC.

On the other hand, the conference was the starting point for Campus de les Arts’ public activity, with a shared proposal that was beneficial for all participating educational institutions, sending out a clear message regarding the project’s ambition, as reflected for example in its clearly international character.

The conference was divided between a main academic section featuring the papers selected by the scientific committee through an international call, and another section held at ESMUC, entitled PASSADES [Passes], featuring selected practice-based research projects and proposals contributed by Campus de les Arts’ various participating institutions. For the academic section, the invited keynote presentations featured an inaugural address by Professor Mika Elo (University of the Arts Helsinki) and a multidisciplinary presentation by the performer, poly-artist and artistic researcher Alexandra Murray-Leslie, co-founder of Chicks on Speed.

The Conference INDISCIPLINES featured more than 30 academic presentations and was attended by more than 150 professionals. The Scientific Committee, under the direction of Professor Rubén López Cano of the ESMUC, designed the programme and selected the conference content. The coordination of the conference, tasked to Professor Jeffrey Swartz of Campus de les Arts, was done jointly between the staff of the University of Barcelona and the ESMUC, this latter under the direction of Professor Melissa Mercadal.

The conference featured formal academic papers, as well as performative, literary and theatrical proposals. Over the course of three days, these aspects contributed to strengthening academic debate and reaching expected publics, in the setting of the most emblematic historical halls of the UB and the contemporary concert and audition halls of the ESMUC.