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Expand your thinking. Embrace new ideas, new concepts, look towards what is NEW, that manifests at the edges or interfaces between traditional disciplines — be it arts, sciences, or everyday life. Consider ‘in-between’ spaces — virtual or physical — where we as academics, artists, or creatives can invent, innovate, compose, and create. Let us investigate the limits of our doing and test boundaries between different worlds while at same time, shaping and reflecting on our practices. By exploring the limits, we are expanding the arts.

The ELIA Biennial 2020 is dedicated to examine new crossovers and collaborations between the most diverse disciplines in art, science, and society, both inside and outside the walls of academies and universities. Today, thinking and reflecting across disciplines has become a ‘must’. In this context, transdisciplinarity in the arts goes beyond breaking down silos between artistic disciplines as different as design and music. It raises the question of how arts and creative practices can collaborate with other fields to come up with innovative solutions and new formats. The concept of transdisciplinarity appears as a form of cooperation that can lead to innovative perspectives, questions, and solutions.

Transitioning from STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) to STEAM is a current topic in the policy agenda. Integrating perspectives of arts and design into the classical STEM canon could offer new solutions to the ecological, economic, social, and cultural challenges of the future.

The ELIA Biennial 2020 wants to relate these developments to the reality of higher arts education institutions.

Leading questions:

  • How can art universities take on an active role in the debate around transdisciplinarity?
  • Is the comprehensive and transdisciplinary art university a model for the 21st century? Or is it a concession to the economy of scale, the imperative of efficiency?
  • How can small, mono-disciplinary institutions take part in such a process and debate?
  • Does transdisciplinarity change the way subjects in the arts are considered and curricula are developed?
  • How can we achieve the same level of quality and critical reflection in one discipline while collaborating across disciplinary boundaries inside and outside the arts?