University of Gothenburg

Artistic research in performing arts

Artistic research in the performing arts at the Academy of Music and Drama spans a wide artistic area that includes several different art disciplines: theatre, music drama, dance, performance art and other movement-based, participatory, or cross-disciplinary forms of performing arts. The research explores questions relevant to the field of the performing arts while interacting with other research fields and society at large. This includes research on acting and directing methods and their application within and outside of the theatre, game strategies within immersive opera, the relation between the live event and the documentary, institutional critique as well as decolonial and intersectional practices, and the exploration of new dramaturgic and narrative methods, and forms for publishing and making public. Research methods often involve bodily, collaborative, and performative aspects, and deal with issues related to archives, documentation, and the staging of experimental situations.

Photo: Natalie Greppi


Artistic research has undergone rapid development in Sweden over the past twenty years. The Academy of Music and Drama has pursued senior research in the field of performing arts and offered a post graduate subject in performance practices since the mid-2000s. For many years, the Academy of Music and Drama has also hosted artistic and pedagogic development projects by teachers. The research may address issues relevant to a particular artistic practice or art field, but it may also deal with significant issues in another field or in society at large, and which concern political, social, or ethical aspects.

Research in the performing arts has largely evolved through individual projects and interests, which coincides with the pluralistic and inclusive approach within our faculty since research activities started, but also with how this research has taken shape nationally. During the first years, there was a significant focus on how the work of performing artists - and the artistic research - could be articulated. There was a need to articulate and document processes, practical knowledge and working methods from within the performing arts. Gradually, the focus of research has shifted increasingly to social and societal themes as well as its political and historical engagements.

Photo: Natalie Greppi

Research environment

The department for performing arts is a relatively small unit, which brings different levels of education and artistic specializations closer. Doctoral students, undergraduates, researchers, and teachers meet here regularly in various forums and there is a dialogue across disciplines. However, the research environment is significantly larger as it also includes the entire Academy of Music and Drama, with its joint seminars, courses and colleges for doctoral students and researchers. In addition to this, there is a joint research school and several research activities at faculty level as well as several research platforms. 

Research in the performing arts at the academy is part of several national and international networks and research platforms, and conducts a number of both international and local collaborations.

Photo: Natalie Greppi

Forms for the research

Artistic practice is the focus of research within the field of performing arts. This field involves the study and development of forms and conditions for the performing arts using relevant methods, in interaction with the art field and society in general. Artistic methods are central to how the research is designed but, are also developed in dialogue with other research fields. Research methods often involve bodily, collaborative, and performative aspects, and deal with issues related to archives, documentation, and the staging of experimental situations. Questions dealing with the immediacy of the live event versus research's requirements for documentation have led to the development of new artistic expressions, methods, and forms of publishing, which are constantly explored further within the field. This also raises questions on archives and memory, in relation to body, time and place.