What would happen if artists reflected on their approach towards their performative practice through improvisation exploring different points of view derived from other fields and other cultures? 

Improvisation, understood as a skilful activity, always suggests a tension between the own artistic professional practice field and the openness and curiosity towards diverse cultures' perspectives and fields, as improvisation is undoubtedly a phenomenon[1] that can be observed in varying contexts. 

Interdisciplinarity, as an artistic research process, performs itself into Improvisation. 

This Lab 6 intends improvisation as an approach to facilitates interdisciplinary in the way of bringing together researcher/scholars/performers form different traditions and cultures, as well as aims for transdisciplinarity, in the way of subordinating disciplinary perspectives to the task of reflecting to the phenomenon of improvisation. 

This reflection is conceived as an integrative work, individual and collective one: reflecting in the time of doing some improvisation experiences, reflecting in the time of observing some artistic improvisations, and reflecting in the time of discussing as an extended conversation in group as well. 

This Lab 6 has been especially designed in bringing together perspectives on the psychological, historical, ethnomusicological, and philosophical aspects of improvisation with perspectives on its practices and according to this it has a cross-sectorial perspective through and through. 

However, Interdisciplinarity in this lab refers not only to the academic fields from which participants gathered knowledge about improvisation but also to the avenues of questioning that have been raised. Inter is used in reference to the manner in which it has allowed knowledge of one area to feed over into another, or, perhaps more accurately, the ways material and experience have combined to inspire participants to consider their own artistic professional practice in a larger disciplinary context.

The Lab 6 underlines that Interdisciplinarity perspectives on improvisation in artistic professional practices can reframe crucial issues as knowledge construction, metacognition, as well as collaboration.

Many of the common bias and misconceptions concerning improvisation, such as that teaching improvisation needs to be justified, can be overcome dealing improvisation with a wide interdisciplinary perspective. 

Exploring and understanding many of the concepts and perspectives of improvisation with other specifics field of knowledge in an interdisciplinary approach, this helps to share their methods, to explore different backgrounds and to achieve a wider confidence in the practices and results of improvisation in music.

Interdisciplinarity is one of the reasons for Lab 6’s reverberation according to the multiplicity and diversity of its constructs. This does not only apply to the proposal ones considering the difference in their nature, but for many other disciplines it could imply.

Each day has been dedicated to a different discipline: Psychoanalysis, Indian culture, Neapolitan Song, Musicology, and Philosophy.

Further interdisciplinary perspectives can consider fields such as: 

  • Inclusive Education - How can Improvisation designed labs include individuals with disabilities?
  • Critical thinking - How can Improvisation increase students’ mental flexibility and critical thinking skills? 
  • Ethics - How can Improvisation investigate the nature of ethical behaviour, using live encounters with musical ensembles?
  • Anthropology - How can Improvisation design a novel ethnography?
  • Neuroscience - How can Improvisation inquiry the activity of prefrontal cortex?
  • Semiotics - How can Improvisation investigate semiotic theory and analysis applied to artistic practice performances?
  • Digital Technology - How can Improvisation create a new paradigm in dealing with technology?
  • Artificial Intelligence - How can Improvisation explore cybernetics, organization theory, and human computer interaction?
  • Gender Equality - furthermore, as Improvisation is associated to ideas such as freedom and liberation it can promote the discourse on Gender Equality too and not only in the performing arts because it falls within gender studies as “If gender is a kind of a doing, an incessant activity performed, in part, without one’s knowing and without one's willing, it is not for that reason automatic or mechanical. On the contrary, it is a practice of improvisation within a scene of constraint. Moreover, one does not "do" one's gender alone.”[2]

In such a lab like Lab 6, improvisation introduces closer and productive critical encounters with other fields of knowledge to an exploratory way of thinking, that guides participants reliably within the reflectiveness and introduces them to the world outside their own artistic practices too. 


[1] Philosophy of Improvisation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Theory and Practice, Ed. by S. Ravn, S. Høffding, J. McGuirk, Routledge 2021.

[2] Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, New York: Routledge, 2004, Introduction