10th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research 2019

10th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research 2019
Zurich University of the Arts, March 21-23, 2019
March 21-23 2019
10th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research 2019 Productive Gaps Enhanced Dissemination Formats Inspiring Failures
Call is closed. Registration opens on January 27th


For the 10th SAR conference on Artistic Research the Society for Artistic Research (SAR) is back in Switzerland, where the society was founded 10 years ago. Since then, SAR and its activities have seen encouraging developments: the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR) is published three times a year; the Research Catalogue counts more than 10,000 subscribed users (still growing); the number of members and portal partners have grown significantly; and the Annual Prize for Excellent Research Catalogue Exposition was successfully introduced at the SAR conference 2018; and last, but not least, the annual SAR conference is now the place where the international artistic research community of all disciplines meets and eats, discusses and disputes, builds networks and gains new friends.

The 10th SAR conference is not guided by one theme, but organized around three topics and two types of session formats for input and discussion. This format puts the manifoldness of artistic research practices at the centre of the conference. The three topics are Productive Gaps, Enhanced Dissemination Formats, and Inspiring Failures, and contributions are invited in short and long formats (see the 'Call for Contributions' for details). A keynote presentation will be delivered for each of the three topics.

SAR encourages individual researchers and research groups, 3rd cycle candidates, postdocs, senior researchers and professors to submit for this conference!

The three topics and two formats available for input into sessions aim to engage individual researchers and collaborative groups alike. We encourage reserchers to choose the right format for their contribution at proposal stage and to think about the questions, aspects, and problematics they wish to discuss and dispute in the time available for discussion in each session. The conference has a particular emphasis on the development and use of the time available for discussion within sessions.

The 10th SAR conference is organized by the Society for Artistic Research and the Zurich University of the Arts. It takes place at ZHdK in Zurich, March 21-23, 2019.

The Three Topics

Topic 1


A gap is a space between things. It can be wide or narrow, huge or small, large or tiny. Often in research projects a big gap opens up between expectations and what is delivered. The gap in the fence for the rabbit to dart through, the irreconcilable gap between disciplines within every interdisciplinary work, the gap of cultures, languages, methods, skills, knowledge, gender, or identity. The gaps in order to identify innovative links between academics and the arts. By welcoming and stressing gaps, how does one learn from “the other”? Where do differences appear and how can they become productive, especially in collaborative and transdiscipinary research projects?

In scientific research, gaps need to be closed or at least bridged. One thought follows the next, and arguments pursue a logical consistency. But what about the gaps in artistic research? Should we claim the immanent need of gaps in artistic research and seek out the chances they bring? This topic focuses on research collaborations, shared experiences of useful inconsistency, gainful apertures, helpful blank times and prolific empty spaces. We invite individuals and groups of researchers of inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinary projects to discuss productive fractures and constructive interludes, helpful differences and effective interruptions. Present and discuss with us your most gratifying notch or beneficial rupture, give us an example of rewarding hiatus and advantageous slit or slot. In short: do not mind the gap - map the gap!

Topic 2

Dissemination Formats

The dissemination of artistic research results raises a crucial question regarding its vitality and development. Dissemination, and the type used, has an effect on artistic and other types of research, and on the arts and society in general. Contributions for this topic should focus on the question of different formats of dissemination and their targeted recipients (or both). We welcome applications that discuss fundamental and applied artistic research, which put an emphasis on the following, either taken as a singular or combinded focus:

– „for whom?“ the specific research is for, and respectively, how a specific group of recipients is targeted and approached. Recipients may be a specific artistic research community,  artists working in a specific field or discipline, peers and experts, or the general public

– on the format of dissemination in enhanced publication formats. This may be digital, perhaps disseminated through the Research Catalogue or other digital platforms, or analogue, such as performances, objects, exhibitions and events, etc.

Topic 3


Failure is inevitable, a part of life. Without failure there is no possibility to measure success. Within research and the pursuit of developing new insights and knowledge, failure, mishap and error exist as blips, spaces of contemplation and ‘what now?’ The hurdles, stumbling blocks, sticking points and errors are part of the process, and often bring the most opportunities for improvement. For as John Cage stated, ‘there is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time.’ 

Within artistic research, failure presents itself conceptually and practically: the idea might not be robust, the methodology might be inappropriate for the subject, the material might not hold its intended form or the artistic outcome may not be on par with what was intended. The project may be tested under the influence of such failures and respond accordingly, gathering inspiration through reformulation. So where exactly and how does this occur? What are the specific ways in which artistic research projects fail and how is the process managed? 

This topic of the conference invites reflections on failure within artistic research and where it acts as a productive, inspiring and, in some respects, significant component of the process. This may relate to projects that fail in many ways, or few, but should address the productivity of its embrace. 



Pre-registration for SAR members opens on January 20th, 2019.

Please note that for reasons of logistics the number of participants is limited to 200!

Registration closes as soon as the maximum number of participants has been reached, or by the deadline of March 10th, 2019.

The fees for conference participation are:

  • Non-members of SAR: €300
  • SAR members: €165 (membership must have been paid before or at the time of registration!)
  • Students (limited number): €70

All attendees, participants and contributors must register for the conference and pay the appropriate fee in advance. 

If you would like to become a SAR member please follow this link

Practical Information

Travel & Venue

The 10th SAR conference takes place on the Toni-Areal campus of Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK. Whether you are arriving by train, bus, car, or plane, Zurich offers excellent connections and public transport in and around the city.

From Zurich Airport

Catch the train to “Zurich Hauptbahnhof” (Zurich Main Station) - they run every few minutes and travel takes approximately 10 minutes.

From Zurich Main Station

Take tram 4 for about 10 minutes (direction: Altstetten) to the stop “Toni-Areal.” The walk from the main station to Toni Areal is approximately 30 minutes (see map).

Conference venue is Toni-Areal campus

Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK
Pfingstweidstr. 96
8005 Zurich


We have arranged pre-booking facility in the following hotels, all within walking distance from the conference venue, Toni-Areal campus ZHdK.

Please book directly with the hotel, using the reference code listed below. Room numbers are limited and the discounted price is only available until the booking deadline listed for each hotel.


Crowne Plaza Hotel

A four star hotel on the other side of the train rails, which is 15 minutes walk from the conference venue. The walk leads across a bridge and provides a view over the new buildings of the Zurich West district. Sober and well-appointed, the Crowne hotel guarantees comfort.

Single room for 120 CHF/night (approximately 105 Euro)

Booking code: SAR19
Deadline: 21 February 2019

Booking by email to: katrin.rodrian1@ihg.com
Phone +41 (0)44 404 4131
Badenerstrasse 420, 8040 Zurich


Novotel Zürich City West

In the middle of the rising fashionable quarter of Zurich West, the four star Novotel provides modern, spacious rooms. It is 5 minutes walk to the conference venue and close to cafes and restaurants in the surrounding area.

Single room for 209 CHF/night (approximately 180 Euro)

Booking code: SARZHdK210319
Deadline: 6 February 2019

Please fill in the following pdf-form to book and send it via e-mail to the address listed.

Email: H2731-RE@accor.com
Phone +41 (0)44 276 22 05
Schiffbaustrasse 13 / Am Turbinenplatz, 8005 Zurich


Ibis Zürich City West

Just around the corner and a 5 minute walk from the conference venue, the Ibis Hotel City West offers rooms for a comfortable stay. Close to the Technopark business centre, this hotel is located at the core of the Zurich West district.

Single room for 155 CHF/night (approximately 134 Euro)

Booking code: SARZHdK210319
Deadline: 6 February 2019

Please fill in the following pdf-form to book and send it via e-mail to the address listed.

Email: H2942@accor.com
Phone +41 (0)44 276 21 00
Schiffbaustrasse 11 / Am Turbinenplatz, 8005 Zurich


Ibis Budget Zürich City West

In the same block as the Ibis City West, the Ibis Budget provides economical rooms in its recently renovated building. It is a 5 minutes walk to the conference venue and you will discover many charming bars and cafes locally.

Single room for 115 CHF/night (approximately 100 Euro)

Booking code: SARZHdK210319
Deadline: 6 February 2019

Please fill in the following pdf-form to book and send it via e-mail to the address listed.

Email: H3184@accor.com
Phone +41 (0)44 276 20 00
Technoparkstrasse 2, 8005 Zurich


For any further questions regarding the 10th SAR conference 2019, please contact the conference manager Laura von Niederhäusern:

Conference committee

Chair: Professor Giaco Schiesser — Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland and SAR Executive Board
Professor Anton Rey — ZHdK, Switzerland
Professor Germán Toro Pérez — ZHdK, Switzerland
Associate Professor Angela Bartram — SAR Executive Board
Johan A. Haarberg — SAR Executive Officer


Concept & Graphic design
TM – David Mamie, Nicola Todeschini

Web Design & Development
Süpèr – Daniel Stutz