Arts, Media and Culture

Programme outline

The topics we study and the questions we ask have a strong social dimension. AMC’s concern with theories and methods reflects this emphasis on the social dimension of our research. The programme is interdisciplinary not only in the sense that we represent and combine various disciplines from within the field of the humanities, but also because we explore possible methodological crossovers with the social sciences.

Research in AMC focuses on three themes:

•    Gender & diversity
•    Media & aesthetics
•    Cultural memory & cultural heritage

Research focusing on gender & diversity  analyses the ways in which the crucial social differences of age, religion, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, language and nationality continually redefine each other. We study art forms from high culture and popular culture (i.e. fiction, poetry, film, photography, life writing, the performing arts and children’s media).

Research in the context of media and aesthetics studies how (digital) media technologies give rise to new aesthetic forms and how digital aesthetics structure the social and cultural participation of media audiences. As such, it investigates how the dynamics of cultural memory formation is currently being redefined in the context of new media, for instance through new mechanisms of bottom-up canon formation through contemporary fan practices, or the use of hackathons for heritage.

Research on cultural memory and cultural heritage investigates both intentional and unintentional forms of remembrance. AMC researchers study the history of commemorations of war; contemporary processes of questioning the truth about painful episodes in the past; the many ways in which truth finding and memorial practices take place and to what effect; and the complex ways in which monuments and buildings are used in memorial practice. Increasingly, we address issues of cultural heritage formation and conservation, in particular of contemporary art – which has resulted in the establishment of a new interfacultary research center, MACCH, and the funding of a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network on the conservation of contemporary art, NACCA.

Several research projects, like those on Global Adoption, Hacking Heritage or Language Culture in Limburg, combine two or all of the research themes.