The Art of Criticism, European collaborative research project for the future of art criticism, has started

The Art of Criticism project seeks to bring together, strengthen and develop experiments in art criticism. Initiated by the Institute of Network Cultures, Domain for Art Criticism, Archined and Kritiklabbet, the aim is to build a European consortium and set up a research collaboration for the future of art criticism. The project will provide opportunities for exchanging tools, experiences, and best practices, between magazines, web platforms, editors, staff, and researchers.

There are three important principles that form the framework of the project. The first is the believe that solid ground for reflection on art and culture in both niche and mainstream media is absolutely necessary in sound democratic societies. Second, we see a decline in thorough reflection and critique, which has gradually been replaced in the media with human interest and public relations, partly due to severe budget cuts in the arts and culture sectors across Europe. This is something that should be turned around before it’s too late. Third, keeping criticism available in national languages and directed at local cultures and art production is an aim that should be persistently pursued. To keep alive and strengthen the diversity of cultures in the different European countries is important in a world increasingly focussed on Anglo-American media production. The diversity offers opportunities to show many perspectives, to enrich each other, with many different art and cultural works worth sharing.

The Art of Criticism has sprung out of an ongoing collaboration between the Institute of Network Cultures, PublishingLab, the Domain for Art Criticism and a large amount of cultural magazines and websites in the Dutch language region (Netherlands and Flanders): De Kunst van de Kritiek. We asked the question what possibilities digital technologies offer for art criticism in an online environment. Over the course of the years we have organised several expert meetings, workshops and masterclasses. Different tools were developed to put the future of art criticism in practice. Examples are Edit This Post, a collaborative writing tool and Debat Online, a web application for online discussion. Publications in multiple formats and for a diverse range of audiences have come out (mostly in Dutch), such as ‘Utopia van de kunstkritiek’ and a special edition of the journal for cultural policy Boekman.

Having gained all this experience and knowledge the time has come to broaden the scope of the project and to reach out to other critics, media, researchers and cultural practitioners who have the same goals and dreams for a sustainable and exciting future for art criticism.

The Art of Criticism is supported by Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek SIA.