About Time: Artistic Research and the Contemporary University
The contemporary university has been an inextricable component of the critical discourses on the emergence, nature and role of Artistic Research in the twenty-first century. However, there has not been any recognition of the fact that universities are now permeated globally by neoliberal managerial practices, with detrimental consequences for the physical and mental well-being of academics, and that broadly speaking, artist-researchers continue to flourish in spite of, rather than because of, the institutional environments and circumstances that the contemporary academia affords them. This article takes some initial steps to redress this gap in the literature by considering artistic research in music performance in the context of the contemporary university. The first section introduces literature that evinces the nature of the current crisis in academia, and discusses some of the strategies being developed to resist processes of neoliberalisation with particular emphasis on the so-called slow academia movement. The second section concerns an autoethnographic discussion of my performance experience of the slow movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, which reveals that the significance of “slowness” extends beyond its characteristic as a reduction in speed, and suffuses its qualitative affordances regarding subjective and intersubjective experiences, and the values these affordances embed. The article concludes by considering the contributions the artist-researcher can make to resisting the dehumanising practices of the neoliberal university.