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Merging the Critical and the Creative

Research-Creation: Merging the Critical and the Creative

Students will learn about an approach to research that engages artistic expression, scholarly investigation, curiosity, and experimentation.

We are currently not open for applications. We will announce the new course offer in August 2023. Please leave your details to receive the announcement when we open registrations for VU Graduate Winter School 2024.

Research-creation is an approach to research that engages artistic expression, scholarly investigation, curiosity, and experimentation. In research-creation, the process of creation is integral to the research process. This means that research topics are selected and explored through a creation process, such as the production of a film or video, performance or installation, sound-work (e.g. podcast, sound-walking), zine, or multimedia arts/texts.

Research-creation is important in a variety of fields, cultural institutions, and disciplines. In recent years, universities have used it to boost their public profiles and promote community-engaged collaborations. That being said, the increasing institutionalisation of research-creation must be approached critically, and situated within a broader context of power relations within academia, education, and research. For this reason, in this course, research-creation will be framed as an intervention and invitation for scholars to push disciplinary boundaries, challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about what academic work entails, and consider ways to make their work more sustainable, accessible, and responsive to issues concerning social justice. 

Special attention will be given to research-creation projects that critically address the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, dis/ability and other intersecting categories of difference shape our experiences of the world. The course will pair reading-based discussions with examples of research-creation in practice, and engage with broader discussions concerning methodology, engaged scholarship, and ethics. To this end, this course will include presentations by scholars and practitioners from inside and outside of academia.

By foregrounding lived experiences with research-creation in practice, this course aims to highlight the possibilities, as well as the pitfalls, of research-creation.

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, students will:

• Have a deeper understanding of the possibilities and pitfalls of research-creation.
• Have a broader perspective on research methods and ways to “go public” with/share research findings.
• Be able to challenge normalized assumptions about how to “do” research.
• Have cultivated a critical perspective of academia, academic research, and collaboration.
• Be able to consider the ethical implications of research-creation and how to go about the research-creation process with care and intention.
• Feel inspired to pursue research-creation within their scholarship.

Forms of tuition and assessment

The course will be taught through  lectures, seminars, and interactive workshops. Readings should be completed in advance.Students are expected to come to class prepared to participate actively in each session.

There will also be approximately 35 hours of self-study that students will need to make time for. These will be divided into 15 hours in preparation for the course and 20 hours for the final assignment.

The final grade of the course will be the sum of: attendance and active participation, daily soundwalks, a final reflection, and a co-created zine.

From 9-20 January, the classes will be online daily, from 13:00-15:00 and 16:00-18:00 CET Amsterdam time. The course is structured this way to accommodate several presenters who are based in the Americas.

Please note that there will be two exceptions to the schedule: 

On 9 January, the class will start a little earlier (at 12 noon).

On 19 January, there is no class scheduled, and participants will have time to work on their final assignments.

Course Coordinator: Alexandra Greene

Course Coordinator: Alexandra Greene

Alexandra Greene (she/her) has an interdisciplinary background informed by research-creation, intersectional feminist practices, and a humanities education. Since 2019, she is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research is embedded within the NWO-VICI project Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change, led by professor dr. Halleh Ghorashi. Her research explores the practice of solidarity across difference in the context of the migrant justice movement in California.

Find out more!

Guest speakers

  • Diana Al-Halabi

    Born in Lebanon; 1990, Diana Al-Halabi is now a Rotterdam-based Artist. She pursues an interdisciplinary practice, with a focus on moving image, text, and painting. Her autoethnographic research-based projects are at the core of her practice. Find out more!

  • Emilia Thorin

    Emilia Thorin has a background in gender studies and is currently active as practitioner, curator and organiser across dance, performance and social work. Find out more!

  • Fabian Holle

    Fabian Holle (they/he) graduated as an actor/theatremaker at the HKU (University of the Arts Utrecht, Netherlands) in 2004. Currently, Fabian is a PhD candidate within the VICI project: Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change led by prof. dr. Halleh Ghorashi. Find out more!

  • Gustavo Valdivia

    For almost a decade anthropologist Gustavo Valdivia has been ethnographically exploring the worlds that are emerging in the high Andes of Peru as the Anthropocene unfolds. His work is principally based in the Quelccaya, the largest tropical glacier on the planet, and articulates an eclectic body of theory, methods, and practices to provide an ethnographically grounded account of those significative moments in which Nature challenges human comprehension and control. Find out more!

  • James Parnell

    James Parnell is a curator, zinester, educator, and dancer based in the Hague, NL. He does community building through workshop facilitation and event programming. His past projects have focused many topics, including anti-racist organizing, radical imagination, queer and trans knowledge distribution, healing justice, and embodied pleasure. Find out more!

  • Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki

    Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki is a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex. Prior to that, she was a post-doctoral research fellow on the GlobalGRACE project housed at the African Gender Institute (AGI) and the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS) – University of Cape Town as well as the NGO – Sex Workers Advocacy and Educational Task Force (SWEAT). Find out more!

  • Vinicius Marquet

    Vinicius Marquet is a designer, artist and researcher. Currently, Vinicius is a PhD student in Arts at KU Leuven in the Luca School of the Arts (Belgium) where he researches the remediation of collaborative storytelling workshops into the network and programmable media. Find out more!

  • Julia Dyck

    Julia E. Dyck is an artist, hypnotist and radio producer originally from Treaty One Territory/ Winnipeg who currently works and lives between Brussels and Montreal/Tiohtià:ke. Dyck's relational and speculative practice explores the possible connections between the body, consciousness, technology and the environment through performance, composition, installation and transmission. Julia often works collaboratively as a member of artistic duos Future Perfect and Platitudes and is a member of the ffiles radio collective and Artist Commons in Brussels. Julia studied Communication Studies at Concordia University and was a fellow of the Art By Translation international Post-Masters program (École supérieure d’art de Paris Cergy). Some recent works include Audio Placebo Plaza, a DIY audio placebo and live radio centre with Erin Gee and Vivian Li (Karachi Biennale PK, Suoni Per Il Popolo CA, 2021-ongoing), Salon, a solo exhibition as a fantastical center for aesthetic transformation and care (Cunst-link BE, 2021), Auditory Fantasy, a hypnotic lecture performance (Fonderie Darling CA, Punctum Krásovka CZ, SUB AT, Volksroom BE, 2018 - ongoing) Wave Debris, a telematic performance for the sunset with Diana Duta (Q-O2, Brussels, The Watch, Berlin, Crash Symbols, US, 2019 ongoing) Infinite Source, a narrative sound work with Amanda Harvey as Future Perfect (Q-O2 Brussels, Art Pop, Montréal, 2020-ongoing), Some Words, an audio-visual installation (Galerie Art et Essai, Rennes, 2019) and Frequency Interference, a science fiction radio performance (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2018).  

We are here to help!

Feel free to contact us anytime.


  • Bianca
  • Programme Coordinator
  • Celia
  • Summer and Winter School Officer
Celia VU Amsterdam Summer & Winter School
  • Helena
  • Summer and Winter School Officer
Helena VU Amsterdam Summer and Winter School