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About the Inter-University Organization Science and Arts

Salzburg can look back on a long artistic and scientific history. The Inter-University Organization Science and Arts (S&A) continues the examination of these topics in a contemporary context. Using current research approaches and mediation projects, the arts are opened up and developed into a multi-layered field of social negotiation. This interconnection makes the profile of S&A unique, and gives it a special academic, artistic and social relevance within the Austrian university landscape.

Science and Arts was established in 2004 as an institutional collaboration between the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS) and the Mozarteum University (MOZ), offering an opportunity unique within Austria to work productively in the long term at the interface of science and the arts. This collaboration thus represents an important university locational factor for Salzburg. Since the spring of 2020, S&A has been a separate organizational unit that, as an inter-university organization, is anchored in the development and organizational plans of both the Mozarteum and the PLUS. It is based in the KunstQuartier at Bergstraße 12a, where many of its public events take place. Broadly diversified, interdisciplinary teams from both universities work here in various focus areas and in a doctoral college, which is supported by the state of Salzburg, within a framework theme that is announced in advance.

Currently, the focus areas Figurations of Transition, (Inter)Mediation. Music – Mediation – Context and Contemporary Art and Cultural Production are active at S&A. From different artistic and scholarly perspectives, they are working together on the framework theme, Art and Public Impact: Dynamics of Change, until the end of September 2023. The work of the focus areas comprises three interlinked pillars: (1) Fundamental interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, as well as scholarly work that contributes to the exploration and development of the arts. The research perspectives and methods used include both artistic research and research on and with the arts. (2) An extensive range of courses offers students from both universities well-founded supplemental education for positions in the field of arts and culture. The inter-university doctoral program also enables students to earn a doctorate at the interface of science and the arts. (3) Finally, the third pillar is the realization of public events and mediation offerings, which address not only the professional audience but also the broader interested public in the city and province of Salzburg and beyond.

(1) Research: The focus areas conduct both basic and applied research, contributing in this way to the exploration and development of the arts. Artistic research as well as the participatory and co-creative approaches and working methods used in the various projects deserve special mention. Outstanding success has also been achieved in the acquisition of third-party funding.

The various research projects are realized with diverse local, national or international partners. Intensive international networking ensures the quality of research and has made S&A renowned far beyond Salzburg.

In addition, there are qualification projects, such as the doctoral college Art and Public Impact: Dynamics of Change, in which the province of Salzburg participates on an equal footing. In the doctoral program, six fellows from different art and knowledge cultures and disciplines (theater studies, sociology, music and art education, directing, curating, social sciences and community arts) are working on their transdisciplinary dissertations. The scientific and artistic management team accentuates questions of diversity, practices an ethic of openness and encourages transfers between theory and practice in the sense of thinking in an ensemble.

The high level and quality of the resulting work is confirmed by the numerous prizes that have been awarded to former fellows. The presence of the six doctoral students at conferences, artistic research projects and workshops, as well as their numerous publications, testifies to the pioneering scientific, artistic and curatorial approaches of the fellows as well as the sociopolitical relevance of their projects.

Particular attention is paid to the communication and dissemination of research, for example at conferences and symposia with high-ranking international experts. A lively publication agenda, which also includes a series of publications and an online journal, ensures that fundamental questions at the interface of science and the arts are put up for discussion and the results of the various research activities are made permanently accessible.

(2) Teaching: The course offerings provide students from both universities the opportunity to acquire key qualifications at the interface of science and the arts in the form of study supplements and a study focus. The offerings consist of the basic module “The Arts: Theories and Discourses,” the two study supplements “The Arts: Practice and Mediation” and “Cultural Management and Cultural Production” as well as the study focus “Art, Culture and its Mediation” based on these. The Inter-University Doctoral Program Science and Arts also offers students the opportunity to complete a doctorate on a topic at the interface of art and science. Currently, around 20 international doctoral students are taking advantage of this program.

(3) Mediation: In addition to research and teaching, Science and Arts focuses in particular on the universities’ task of a “third mission” at the interface with society. S&A is networked in many ways both outside and inside the university. This makes it possible, on the one hand, to introduce social issues into the university sphere and, on the other hand, to promote the transfer of research beyond the university. With public events (workshops, discussion series, concerts, lecture series, symposia, etc.) on the diverse topics of the focus areas, S&A sees itself as a mediator and a link between science, the public and art in the city and province of Salzburg. Central to this are the diverse collaborations with cultural and art institutions and initiatives, as well as the regional and international networks that have emerged from them. With the S&A Forum events series, which is open to the public and is organized by all of the focus areas, Science and Arts welcomes the interested public of Salzburg and beyond several times a year. In this way, the S&A Forum events series offers a platform for discourse on important cultural and sociopolitical issues.