Content and goal of the research project
The documentation process encompasses making rarely seen documentary materials (e.g., mission statements, applications, written exchanges) of self-organising spaces in Switzerland available and organising it. Complementary interviews with some of the actors involved (managers, representatives from cultural politics and public administration) provide an overview of the image and visions of self-organising spaces within the Swiss art scene. In a comparative analysis of the two project stages (documentation and interviews), the findings derived from the source materials will be compared with the statements made in the interviews and placed in context—along relevant keywords—with the current cultural-political discourse.
The project is a piece of practice-based foundational research and, as such, carried out for the benefit of the parties involved. That is why the documentation of self-organising art spaces will be made available to them online. In combination with the scientific publication, the documentation also closes a gap in the history of the Swiss art scene. In the project, bespoke formats will be developed to communicate the research results to the stakeholder groups (e.g., cultural politics, administration, art spaces) and thus an exemplary way to transfer research results back to the art community.
Academic and social context
Despite comprehensive and varied research efforts in fields such as museum studies, institutional history, art sociology and cultural management in recent years, there has been no meaningful analysis to date of self-organised and independent art initiatives at a national and international level. The research results of this project are therefore not only significant for the situation in Switzerland: the project itself could serve as a best-practice example for comparable art scenes across Europe.