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Transformative Research and Education

Today, we can observe how a new type of knowledge is becoming dominant, one that is very different from traditional types of knowledge and science. While 19th and early 20th century science was defined by hierarchies, disciplines and homogeneity and demanded a strict separation of scientific, artistic and social actors, we can now see a much stronger penetration of spheres – in art, design and sciences. Today, they employ a problem focus, project logic, transdisciplinary methods, cooperation and social involvement in their work. Even if in different ways, they are part of the social transformation process – through experimenting, exploration or iteration (cf. chapter 1.4.1 of the development plan until 2027), or through the provision of expertise in public debates. Design, on the other hand, has always been positioned at the interface of concept and application.

With this point of focus, the University of Art and Design Linz commits to the further advancement of art, design and research in terms of societal transformation and a participatory communication approach. The university also, and especially, assumes responsibility in view of its building’s history. Addressing the time of the Nazi regime and the relationship between aesthetics and politics (of memory) continuously and actively is essential to the university. Transformation can only be understood and shaped remembering the devastations of the past.

We will continue our previous strategic positioning in the area of artistic, scientific design research and dynamically enhance it through existing and additional resources at all levels (BA/MA programmes, PhD, postdoc). Especially in the course of our undergraduate programmes, the acquisition of basic qualifications and knowledge of methods for scientific, artistic and design research is an important objective for the years to come. The existing centres and institutes, but also the yet-to-be-established interdisciplinary labs (Co.Labs) must focus on learning – with an eye to social processes, but irrespective of concrete application goals. We promote participatory methods as well as approaches that allow free experimenting, a practical focus, and social and cultural analysis (practice-based research in and through the arts), complemented by collaborations with important regional and international partners. Particularly the promotion of collaborative projects with the global South aims to expand research approaches from a geographical and intellectual point of view.

Corresponding to the third mission, the contributions to important social problems of the future made by scientific, artistic research and design research must reach a diverse public and be part of the public discourse. At the same time, the creation of new (safe) spaces helps face these challenges – from a local position, but within a global context.

Especially within the context of teacher education, the University of Art and Design Linz assumes its social responsibility. Since it is our conviction that art educators should study at the same place as artists and designers, the university, as a responsible institution for art subjects, will actively position itself within the Verbund Cluster Mitte and lay its focus on quality assurance. Access to teacher education, the simplification of administrative processes and the establishment of the programmes Bachelor of Arts and Education/Master of Arts and Education are key objectives. Research contributions to the scientific discourse as well as advanced training/further education for teachers are an important part of the agenda.

For Design:Technique.Textile, we aim to create an additional, temporary (guest) professorship and a professorship for Art Education. Students training to be teachers should also gain expertise in creative subjects for children under the age of ten (‘creativity education in childhood and adolescence’) – which would be unique in Austria. We also aim to lay a focus on the threshold between primary and secondary education – with a new professorship. This offer will not only be available to Lehramt students, but also to students with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education who wish to specialise in creativity education. Activities in the area of art educator training include research, advancement and appreciation of the arts, teaching and ability to work as well as the third mission. The University of Art and Design assumes a special responsibility for future generations.