/ Editorial

Inaugural issue of an emergent journal on arts, design, and performing arts 

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the HUB, the Journal of Research in Art, Design, and Society. HUB has been created to bridge a gap within the current cross-disciplinary space of arts and design research by providing a platform for exchanging ideas to foster new forms of inquiry and documentation of artistic research. As a result, HUB intends to provide an opportunity for discussion concerning the eclecticism of creative processes and methodologies and the educational impact of artistic research. At the same time, it seeks to stimulate the debate surrounding the social, cultural, and technological frames of art and design practices.

Over the past decades, significant transformations and methodologies have emerged in art and design. The audience is increasingly included in the art and design creation processes as equal stakeholders or collaborators — even though, for some, these changes may have been feared as a threat to highly specialized research or artistic practice. What was seen as hegemonic thinking (of Northern Hemisphere and Western Europe, from where we are currently reporting) had to consider expanding the space of knowledge in conjunction with the other (or even reestablishing the
cult of the amateur, as Andrew Keen put it so eloquently in the past about Internet culture). In this way, we can also better understand how perspectives and contributions from the global South have been boosting the artistic agency.

Researchers, educators, and practitioners have since developed an extensive and complex way to call up different ways of doing and thinking in the contemporary context by bridging cross-disciplinary fields of expertise such as art and technology, design and computation, artistic research and social sciences, to name a few examples. Collaboration between disciplines produces an eclectic self-reflexive and inter-reflexive structure capable of crossing boundaries and taking an active critical posture in the face of societal and global concerns. The tools and processes of thinking-making and making-thinking in each field of knowledge can enrich the various areas of expertise through the entanglement of their application strengthens transnational reflection networks and their specificities. We can confidently affirm that in the early decades of the 21st century, the arts and design are no longer just looking inwards but actively seeking collaborations in other social and technological fields of knowledge. And this has helped push the envelope of the arts and design. Hence developing a better society overall.

The HUB journal has been created within such a context. Hosted on the Research Catalogue (RC) platform
, the journal seeks alternate forms to question artistic research. The RC allows for the creation of expositions beyond the traditional text-based article. By hosting and supporting static and dynamic media through RC, HUB welcomes and promotes additional ways to report and reflect on the arts and design and intends to foster sharing and dialogue based on the democratization of knowledge. The RC accessible framework, which is open access and whose design aims to accommodate further methods of linking text, image, audio, video, and organizational charts, can serve as a foundation for additional approaches to knowledge organization and visualization.

This inaugural issue aims to inspire and, to an extent, set the tone intended for the journal. Being a journal reporting on arts, current artistic research is also viewed and analyzed through the perspective of speculative research. Without an overriding theme, this issue is rather a provocation. We challenged established researchers and practitioners in the arts and design fields to report on the emergent topics in their area. Responding to our invitation, authors from various origins, geographies, and domains of expertise reflect on key research programs of the i2ADS research unit.

John Baldacchino invites us to reflect on aesthetics education and its limitations, using the curation of the sea as a formative and pedagogical exercise. Introducing us to the sea, taken as a commonplace by people in the coastal area worldwide, connecting their individuality to the waters, “the same waters,” refutes the possibility of that same individuality. The concept of curating practice is introduced as a combination of what it is and what it means. The analogy is used as an exercise to help with the imagining process. As a result, Baldacchino uses the analogy of the sea to establish a potential and contingent site of curation.

pETER Purg explores the role of artistic research in addressing global issues and navigating uncertain futures. He invites us to think of art as a research field that requires critical thinking and positioning on the dynamics and tensions of the milieu in which it operates. Hence, artistic research can challenge dominant politics and corporate capitalism by adopting an approach that values radical sympathy, care, justice, and solidarity. Drawing on cross-disciplinary perspectives from art, science, and technology, Purg suggests artistic researchers should learn from the collective practices of the Global South to generate new knowledge and reach other forms of consensus. At the same time, the author also highlights the need for repositioning artistic research as a cultural avant-garde against dominant narratives and aesthetics. By challenging dominant politics and corporate capitalism, artistic research can contribute to crafting better worlds even in uncertain futures. Through this framework, art and art-thinking can hint out directions to be tested and design pathways yet to imagine.

Annette Arlander presents us with a proposal highlighting the impact and importance of artistic research by demonstrating how it can generate meaningful insights and reflections on new knowledge and perspectives on important issues. The author argues that using artistic methods to engage with nature can help articulate observations and ideas that may not have come to the fore in other circumstances. Artistic research can provide a unique perspective on complex issues and contribute to broader discussions regarding human-environment interactions. Therefore, this presentation allows us to consider the value of diary writing as a tool for artistic practice and the reflection that results from that activity.

Johanna Drucker discusses the current issues of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and agency development. The essay explores the different forms of agency, such as mechanical, incidental, probabilistic, and intentional, and how they are largely assessed based on behaviors. Moreover, how complexity allowed by computation and its literacy may be the key to understanding and harnessing the power of these AI systems. Discussing the critical challenges and steps required in designing [computational] AI agency, it ends up debating in physics about determinism and probability as they relate to human intentional actions. And, in these editors' eyes, it forces us, the readers, the designers, and the end users, to question the role of education and current and future educational practices.

Stig Møller Hansen proposes an original model for understanding the evolving role of designers in the era of AI. Based mainly on the concepts of deduction and induction, and how the algorithmic processes are able to be mimicked by the machines, and effectively outsourced to AI, Hansen highlights abduction as the core creative tasks that are still best performed by humans and are hard and complex to be done by non-designers. But far beyond a techno-fatalist memetics discourse, Hansen encapsulates the argument in a positive constructivist attitude, emphasizing the importance of understanding how the users and designers should collaborate with AI, the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating it into the design process, acknowledging the continued importance of human creativity and the designers’ intuition in the field.

Through this cross-disciplinary issue #0, the journal addresses current artistic research topics in the Arts and Design. HUB is available for contributions in an open international reception with English and Portuguese as instrumental languages. It hopes to support researchers, educators, and practitioners in the arts, design, and performing arts to shape a more sustainable and critically responsible future of artistic research.

Editorial Note: it was not possible to process Michael Schwab’s essay until the closing date of this editorial note. Nevertheless, in due justice to the author and his timely submission, we’ve decided to append this note highlighting his essay’s contribution to this issue.


Michael Schwab explores the evolution of Artistic Research as a comparatively recent development and its relationship with empirical science. It highlights a paradigm shift from the importance of "artistic knowledge" in the 19th century to a focus on research driven by empirical science. The author emphasizes that the ownership of artistic knowledge by specific individuals or its embodiment in objects has become less tenable. The paper also discusses the need for a credible framework for artistic research in the face of societal crises. It suggests that the historical separation between art and science reflects a breakdown in our culture, which needs to be addressed through different or new, expositional forms of knowledge as to remain engaged in today’s complex world.