The methodology is practice-based: research methods often involve artistic experiments or staging, or they use explorative forms through music creation, combined with meta-reflections. Methods that are connected to other established research in technology, pedagogy, psychology or musicology are also common, as are case studies, observations, source studies, quantitative methods/measurements, data compilation and different forms of writing. We view method development as a dynamic process that is strongly connected to an expanded and deepened theoretical understanding of the field of artistic research. The research projects often use theory formation inspired by philosophy, general literary studies, gender theory, critical theory or pedagogy. More recently, such theories as performative theory, new materialism and theories on intersectionality have been given more space.
Increased contact with other artistic fields provides access to broadened concepts and a widened understanding. While contact with musical theatre has always been strong, there is now also close contact with performance art, free art and new media, for example. Senior research is often conducted via cross-disciplinary collaborations with researchers in the humanities and social sciences, educational sciences, natural sciences and technology, medicine and health, for example. The artistic music researchers at the Academy of Music and Drama are practicing musicians/tonal artists, and they use their experience to choose and formulate research questions. This results in critical innovation and different research questions from the ones in other musical research.
Our ambition is for research to be relevant to musical life overall, to higher education in music and to society in general through renewal in musical creation and deepened insights into music as a social phenomenon and expression. With musical performance and interpretation as a research method, alternative perspectives and forms can be clarified and new tools created for an understanding of our era, our relationships to other people and our surrounding world. Research in musical performance and interpretation can articulate the ability of art to critique both artistic and other scholarly experiences.
From the Swedish Research Council’s 2014 Overview of Artistic Research:
Research is conducted through artistic work, supported by investigative methods and the formation of theories, all of which may also be drawn from other areas of research. The purpose is often to highlight artistic production and knowledge processes, questions pertaining to the expression of the art, its terms and sensory, narrative and performative aspects of art. This research involves contextualizing artistic projects and developing research methods and theories, and interactions with materials, history and society. […]
Artistic research is thus of very high and growing relevance to (1) artistic practices in society; (2) artistic education; (3) business and society in a wider sense; and (4) the research establishment, where artistic research can help to develop multidisciplinary themes and methodologies. Artistic research also has particular potential to lend more depth to discussions on quality, expanded concepts of knowledge, and forms of publication and communication.