Artful Participation

The Artful Participation project was a four-year project, funded by NOW/SIA, in which researchers together with musicians and staff from philharmonie zuidnederland seeks to further innovate the practice of symphonic classical music by asking what it means to participate in it as an audience.

The project ran from 2017 to 2021. Artful Participation was a collaboration between philharmonie zuidnederland, Maastricht University, and Zuyd University of Applied Science (the research centre for Arts, Autonomy & the Public Sphere, and Conservatorium Maastricht).

The representatives of each of the partners for the project are Dr. Ruth Benschop, lector at Zuyd University, Dr. Peter Peters, professor at Maastricht University, and Dr. Stefan Rosu, intendant philharmonie zuidnederland. In addition, Dr. Ties van de Werff joined as postdoc, Veerle Spronck as PhD candidate and Imogen Eve as musician researcher.


The researchers focused on three main areas of interest which are outlined below.

Veerle Spronck conducted ethnographic research in order to closely examine how four symphonic orchestras in the Netherlands are innovating participation in their everyday practices. In researching these orchestras, she questions how participation varies across actors and activities, how the materiality of symphonic music shapes the possibilities for participation, and how new meanings and values emerge when orchestras are innovating participation.

Ties van de Werff’s postdoc focused on learning from observing and experimenting. Together with musicians and staff from philharmonie zuidnederland, Ties worked on five experiments and observed three experimental concerts with the objective of learning what is needed to take the audience seriously as a potential artistic partner in orchestral practice.

Imogen Eve, the musician researcher within the project, worked together with van de Werff designing the experiments with philharmonie zuidnederland. In addition to her role with the experiments, Eve also worked at Conservatorium Maastricht coaching Master students. In her publication ‘The Same but Differently’ Eve explores (and proposes) new rituals, perspectives and skills which can be fostered by classical musicians in order to become more reflexive, and flexible, performers.

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The outcome of this project is available on the Artful Participation website.

Furthermore, the team presented their research during an online event on 20 October 2021.





Eve, I. (2020). The Same but Differently. Maastricht: Lectoraat AOK, Zuyd Hogeschool/MCICM.

Peters, P.F. (2019). Het orkest als laboratorium. de Klank. Magazine van orkest en vrienden philharmonie zuidnederland, 6(4), 30.

Peters, P.F. (2019). Mahler aan de stamtafel. de Klank. Magazine van orkest en vrienden philharmonie zuidnederland, 7(1), 61.

Peters, P.F., Rosu, S. & Benschop, R. (2020). The Researching Orchestra: Innovative collaborations between symphonic orchestras and knowledge institutions. In Tröndle, M. (Ed.). Classical Concert Studies: A Companion to Contemporary Research and Performance (pp. 342-350). London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Peters, P.F., I. Eve & T. van de Werff. (2020). Hoe klinkt Maastricht Noordwest? de Klank. Magazine van orkest en vrienden philharmonie zuidnederland, 7(4), 39.

Peters, P.F., T. van de Werff & I. Eve. (2020). Een salon voor de vrienden. de Klank. Magazine van orkest en vrienden philharmonie zuidnederland, 7(3), 26.

Peters, P.F., T. van de Werff, R. Benschop and I. Eve. (forthcoming). Artful innovation: How to experiment in symphonic music practice. In Chaker, Sarah & Petri-Preis, Axel (eds.), Tuning Up – Innovative Potentials of Musikvermittlung. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

Peters, P., Eve, I. & Van de Werff, T. (forthcoming). The People’s Salon: A pragmatist approach to audience participation in symphonic music. In Benschop et al. (eds), Participatory Practices in Art and Cultural Heritage: Learning Through and from Collaboration. Maastricht: MACCH.

Spronck, V. (2022). Listen closely: Innovating audience participation in symphonic music. [Doctoral Thesis]. Maastricht University

Spronck, V. (2019). Drawing Instruments drawing instruments: Over tekenen als methode voor reflectie. FORUM+: for research and arts, 26(1), 4-13.

Spronck, V. (2019). A Laboratory for Performance Practice: The Case of MusicExperiment21, In: P. De Assis & L. D’Errico (Eds.). Artistic Research: Charting a Field in Expansion. Washington DC: Rowman & Littlefield.

Spronck, V. (2020). We dreigen het cultuurpubliek te vergeten. Trouw, 27 April.

Spronck, V. (2020). Playing by heart/Music as open dialogue. In I. Eve Cooney. The Same but Differently. Maastricht: Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy & the Public Sphere.

Spronck, V. Peter Peters & Ties van de Werff (2021) Empty Minds: Innovating Audience Participation in Symphonic Practice, Science as Culture.

Spronck, V. (forthcoming). Luisteren als een etnograaf. DeKlank.

Spronck, V. (forthcoming). Beethoven as open dialogue: Doing participation differently in symphonic music? In: Benschop, R., Rausch, C., Sitzia, E. and Van Saaze, V. (Eds.). Participatory Practices in Arts and Heritage: Learning Through and from Collaboration. Springer.

Spronck, V., P.F. Peters and T. Van de Werff, Ties (resubmitted). Empty Minds? Performing Audience Participation in Symphonic Practice. Special issue on participatory innovation of Science as Culture.

Van de Werff, T. and I. Pasmans. (2019) Music in the Making: an open and collaborative experiment at Conservatorium Maastricht. In Sætre, Jon Helge & Gies, Stefan (eds.), Centre for Excellence in Music Performance Education publication series, Oslo: Norwegian Academy of Music.

Van de Werff, T. (2020). Een tijdelijk en gretig publiekje

Van de Werff, T. (2020). Assuming Audience Participation. In I. Eve Cooney, The Same but Differently. Maastricht: Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy & the Public Sphere.

Van de Werff, T., Smith, N.T., Rosu, S., Peters, P. (2021) Missing the Audience: Online musicking in times of Covid-19. Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy.

Van de Werff, T. Eve, I. & Spronck, V. (in review) Experiments in Participation: performing audiences in the symphony orchestra practice. In Dromey, Chris (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Applied Musicology. London: Routledge.