Research Project, 2020-2023, funded by Aarhus Universitets Forskningsfond (E-2019-7-8)
Arts institutions, and artistic practices, today lose their traditional grounding within middle-class ‘educated’ enlightenment culture, and they need to reorientate within contemporary contexts of globalisation and digitalisation, while also facing the current challenges to established democratic societal values. This research project interrogates this wider reconfiguration of the field of dramaturgy both at artistic and institutional level through an interdisciplinary and international approach, building on a comparative analysis of European case studies. A key feature of the proposed research is its specific focus on ‘second cities’, i.e. focus on cultural specifics of cities (like Aarhus) that differ from the global cosmopolitan centres such as London, Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen.
The project defines dramaturgy as an artistic practice that operates on two central levels: as production dramaturgy, it contributes to the creation of new theatre work; as institutional dramaturgy, it creates spaces and conditions that make such creation possible in the first place, thereby defining the shape, form, contents and aesthetics of work produced. On both levels, dramaturgy acts as an essentially relational practice: it connects artists and audiences, institutions and people, the local and the global, and thereby forms an important foundation for building a strong, democratic ‘public sphere’ (Habermas). Yet, the dominant institutional and aesthetic frameworks of European theatre, and theatre dramaturgy, have emerged alongside the formation of the European national cultures during the 18th and 19th century. Today’s contemporary culture is situated, however, within a thoroughly globalised and digitally mediatised society defined by global markets and movements (including migration), by the rapid speed and formats of social and online media, by a relativisation of knowledge and ‘fake news’, and by the growing urgency of ecological threats, societal ruptures, and the emergence of populist threats to the democratic consensus. The research will analyse the resulting fundamental transformations of dramaturgic practice within this paradigm of 21st century culture. Its aims and objectives are:
The core questions of our research project are:
We work on three complementing strands:
Research team and projects