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The Laboratory for Art Research

The Laboratory for Art Research is a department set up under The Schools of Visual Arts

You find the The Laboratory for Art Research, inaugurated in 2015, in a back yard in the centre of Copenhagen. Situated among The Royal Danish Academy's other laboratories, studios and auditoriums within the spaces of art making itself makes a crucial point for the institute. Artistic practice is the place from which our theoretical, historical and research-based teachings and investigations take place. Instead of focusing on a separation between practice and theory, the institute is founded on the knowledge that they presuppose one another and our task is to help making the theoretical components strong within the artistic practice.
As a theoretical department we focus on two areas: teaching and research. Together our theoretical and historical teachings form a backbone throughout the BFA and the MFA. The first year of the BFA, students attend a course in art history and together with a thorough theoretical course with invited lecturers at the second year of the BFA, they provide the foundation for our students’ further historical and theoretical development. Students at the last year of their BFA together with MFA students attend our research-based Open Practice and writing courses (more below) that aim to further the investigative and verbal part of art practice.
Minor in Writing and Research
The Laboratory for Art Research provides a Minor in Writing and Research. The Minor in Writing and Research is an elective, specialising course that offers students the opportunity to strengthen their artistic education by focusing on a theoretical, reflected understanding of art and on written modes of expression aimed at the field of research. The Minor in Writing and Research consists of three Open Practice courses followed by an MFA essay at the student’s final year on the MFA programme. The Minor in Writing and Research is open to students in their third year of the BFA programme and students in years one through three of the MFA programme.

The Open Practice course is intended as a way of opening up investigative practices and is based on theory and artistic research method. Each Open Practice course lasts one semester and is taught by one of the institute’s academic artistic researchers on at topic related to their research project. It comprises a mixture of lectures given by experts, reading groups, a writing course, an art based seminar or field trip and a day of reflection at the beginning and end of the course. In the reflection day, the students are actively encouraged to reflect on their own practice and its questions regarding conceptual framework, fields of study, method and analysis. The Open Practice course offers a prism for presenting and conceptualising artistic investigation for each individual student, while giving them tools through following an advanced researcher in his or her own research process.

The MFA essay that concludes the Minor in Writing and Research is intended for students who wish to delve down into a subject of their own choice. Individual tutoring and regular submissions guide and support the otherwise autonomous writing, where essays take shape within the spectrum of more traditional academic essays to performatively written essays. During this process, the students build up their theoretical and historical insight in relation to their subject and gain in-depth insight into main texts and analyses thereof. Students will also upgrade their written practice and learn how to meet the requirements associated with written academic practices.

To qualify to write the MFA essay, students must have completed three Open Practice courses on embarking on the essay. The essay is written during the last year of the MFA.
Research is an integral part of the The Laboratory for Art Research and the head of institute is also head of research of the entire academy. A crucial point for working with research in an art context is to assume and work with the fact that materials have their own ideas. Listening to the ideas of materials is a fundamental starting point for letting them speak. The research staff comprising PhD students, postdocs, researchers, associate professors and professors shows an array of artistic and art historical research. Sustainable plastic for casting, ruins, archives, nation building, outer space, ecology, concrete, scale, display, performance lectures, global art histories, monotypes, education and many more topics are all subject to thorough and sustained research. What the artistic research projects share is that theoretical and practice related developments presuppose one another and that the artistic practice is necessary for undertaking the investigation in question. Through the emphasis on questions of the materialization of theoretical, scientific and societal investigations, the character of our research challenge and accentuate, in short, how we know.
For the coming years, the two main focus among the research staff are the relationship between art practice and theory and material knowledge. This focus unfolds in study groups, lectures, teaching and our ongoing discussions among the staff. A pivotal point for unfolding the research practices and our understanding of what artistic research is, is to let the practices speak for themselves through their chosen language of artistic research and thereby base our discussion within the field on concrete projects rather than philosophical discussions about the term artistic research. For that purpose, we have created two simple meeting points for sharing research among the staff, students and the public: Rundgang Research and Skabet for Kunstnerisk Forskning og Relaterede Aktiviteter (The Cabinet for Artistic Research and Related Activities).

Rundgang Research has run as a public symposium since 2016 during Rundgang at the end of the school year. Here staff and students are invited to present their research and the programme takes form according to the incoming proposals, which have come about in an array of presentations, performance lectures, interventions, performances, screenings etc. Rundgang Research is organized by and takes place at Institute for Art, Writing and Research. Due to the growth in size and interest from the public in the recent years, we have decided to schedule the next Rundgang Research for November 22-23 2019.

Skabet for Kunstnerisk Forskning og Relaterede Aktiviteter consists of four vitrines and is situated in the entrance to Peder Skrams Gade 2 accessible to the public. Here the research staff exhibits ongoing research for a period of three weeks during the school year. The aim is to display the research outside of our studios, offices and laboratories and share and discuss it in a straightforward manner.
Research fellows
Academic researchers with external research funding hosted by the academy are all based at the The Laboratory for Art Research. In the past years, the laboratory has grown to become a vibrant environment across ages and disciplines such as art, art history and art theory. Two to four times a year we host master classes chosen and organized by the research fellows, who also in most cases teach an Open Practice course based on their current research project. Research fellows are granted a shared office space, which supports this active research environment where interests meet despite differences in research projects. We highly value the ongoing creation of the research environment and count on the engagement of researchers in collective events. Having in mind that the The Laboratory for Art Research is the main institutional framework for artistic research within the visual arts in Denmark, we reckon that such a research environment only develop through a committed, collective and open spirit. For that reason, and because the institute is still relatively young, we encourage collaborations both internationally through individual research projects and through networks such as KUNO collaborations and SAR (Society of Artistic Research) and nationally through collaborations with the University of Copenhagen, AArhus University and KUV-netværket (Network for Artistic Research).

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts does not grant PhD degrees and does not provide funding for PhD research or other kinds of research. Please follow this link for further information on the topic.
Examples of Open Practice courses:
Fall 2017. Rikke Luther: The Eco-Commons … In the Time of Messed Up Democracy
Spring 2018. Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld: Archives that Matter
Fall 2018. James Day: In Media Res
Spring 2019. David Hilmer Rex: Artistic Practice and Systems Change
Fall 2019. Honey Biba Beckerlee: Digital Matters
Spring 2020. Christian Danielewitz: Hidden Flow: The Production of Invisible Territories in the Age of Digital Visibility
Current semesterplan available here

Honey Biba Beckerlee

PhD student

Honey Biba Beckerlees practice based PhD Digital Matters situates itself in the paradox between, on the one hand, the culturally wide spread assumption that cyberspace is bodyless and the internet is immaterial, while on the other hand the overconsumption of energy and the extraction, distribution and transformation of massive land masses in the consumption of raw materials in digital technologies, which end up as great amounts of toxic electronic waste and recently has given us an outlook to the depletion of several chemical elements.

The project seeks to find new understandings of - and ways of relating to the digital, by drawing on post-human and more-than-human perspectives on the technology. Inspired by feminist versions of quantum mechanics and (new) materialism, that question classic distinctions between mind/body, immaterial/physical and ultimately what can be considered living and not living, this practice-based research project seeks to make art works that take the body and the plastic resources back into the center of an understanding of the technology.

Through a method of intra-action inspired by Karen Barad, the project aims to make artistic experiments that facilitate new materials, forms of expression and processes with digital raw materials. From a notion of distributed agency the project asks: What new ways of cognitive comprehension lies in taking into consideration the entanglements between people and technology by tracing how chemical elements travel from nature into computers and humans? How is our understanding of an extremely temporary technology if we consider it in a perspective of deep time through the journey of minerals over thousands of years? Can one develop a new sensibility towards digital technology through art, that takes finitude into consideration?


Maibritt Borgen

Associate professor, Art Theory, Acting Head of Institute

Maibritt Borgen is educated in Art History from University of Copenhagen and Yale University, from where she also holds a Ph.D. Borgen is a former Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow from the Whitney Independent Study Program and she has worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Yale Art Gallery.

Borgen's research and teaching center on the aesthetic, social, technological and political systems, visual arts are part of, and she has published articles on multimedia performance and communication technology in the 1960s.



+45 2425 2376

Nanna Debois Buhl

PhD student

My PhD project Sky Studies: Cosmic Code, Images, and Imaginaries focuses on explorations of space across astronomical, computational, aesthetic, and futurological realms, in order to rethink well-known (hi)stories of space research, and nurture attentiveness to more complex historical textures.

The aim of the project is to examine the following research questions:
- Can we, by studying the work of women and other groups omitted in traditional histories of astronomy and space sciences, reach more attentive conceptions of how history happens, and how the future is made?
- Can we through studies of their work conceive of new ways of thinking about relationships between art, craft, and science; between analogue and digital technologies?
- Can we conceptualize histories of space which does not just add to earlier histories, but which makes us sensitive not just to who, but to how people (and things) are included and presented?
- And can such a broadened understanding allow us to imagine different futures?

I will examine these questions through research and a series of artistic experiments that interweave historical references and new scientific studies. Sky Studies will materialize as photographs, films, weavings, installations, writings, and artist’s books.
The project will be developed at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Copenhagen University, with a planned stay at Comparative Media Studies/Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Christian Danielewitz

PhD student

My research project Hidden Flow: The Production of Invisible Territories in the Age of Digital Visibility focuses on the relation between the destruction of ecosystems and the material production of our mineralbased image technologies. The point of departure is a particular repercussion of mineral extraction, namely radioactive mineral waste deposits, also known as hidden flow.
The theoretical framework of the research project is informed by a redefinition of the relation between the map (generated by the image technologies), and the territory (the contaminted zones of mineral waste). The project aims to visualise this relation as a material causality, where the territory in an environmental and physical sense is produced by the map, or rather, by the material foundation of the map (the minerals).
The relation between the map and the territory, as defined within this context, thus exposes a paradox, which the research project investigates: The mineralbased production of camera technology accelerates the formation of material - but invisible - deposits of mineral waste, which "disappears" in the territory (hidden), but reappears - as an immaterial, digital image - in the map (by way of Google Earth e.g) - which is generated by the same camera technology.


Portræt af Dehlia Hannah

Dehlia Hannah


The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts + ARKEN Museum of Modern Art Research project “The Museum in a Fragile Ecology”  
Dehlia Hannah is a philosopher and curator. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, where her Ny Carlsberg funded project Rewilding the Museum examines the art museum’s status within the fragile ecologies of the Anthropocene. She received her PhD in Philosophy and Certificate in Feminist Inquiry from Columbia University, with specializations in aesthetics, philosophy of science and philosophy of nature.
Rewilding the Museum

Anthropocene discourse collapses the distinction between nature and culture. Under its sign, the artistic gaze ranges beyond the gallery to treat the dominant planetary condition as authored or impacted by human activities. From rock strata to ice cores, wastelands to wilderness, we have come to understand the earth itself as an archive of inscriptions—as a collection to be studied, inventoried, conserved, or restored; to be acquired, exhibited, and perhaps de-accessioned. This perspective posits an expanded curatorial mandate beyond the walls of the museum: the earth as a total exhibition. The stakes of this mandate are high.

Environmental imaginaries have material consequences, as images of ‘nature’ structure how we inhabit the world. In a moment where our environmental imaginaries are increasingly contested, this project examines how contemporary artistic practices occupy fraught conceptual and material territory. If the ancient concept of the museum as the ‘home of the muses’ is to be updated to our present times, we must follow the muses in their wandering beyond the gallery space, off-site, and into difficult terrain, as they inspire artists working with the detritus of modernity, in the great plastic garbage patches in the ocean, urban sewage treatment plants, burning forests, and oil palm plantations.

Conversely, such an expanded curatorial mandate casts a critical gaze upon other forms of technê that seek to transform the earth—works of infrastructure, geoengineering, exclusion zones, shutdowns, blackouts and projects of rewilding. Rewilding, as a practice of environmental restoration, seeks to restore the functioning of ecosystems to a wild or natural state. The practice involves complex retrospective and prospective constructions of nature, involving varying degrees of human involvement.

Without distinguishing between modes of artifice practiced by the arts and sciences, Rewilding the Museum examines how ‘environments’ are represented, mediated, and produced within and beyond the gallery today.
Portrait above by ICI Berlin


David Hilmer Rex

PhD student

My project, titled Artistic Practice and Systems Change, is focused on developing Primer. Primer is a platform for artistic and organizational development, housed in the context of Aquaporin, a global water technology company, in Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Primer is a collective project by Diakron, a transdisciplinary studio I am a co-founder of.
The main objective is to explore and consolidate what purposes, functions and activities an art-based research and development department, might take on, both as integral to and autonomous from Aquaporin. The core questions explored are: 1) What might be the roles, functions and activities of an art-based research and development department, housed in a research-driven technology company? 2) What might result if we renew relations between artistic, scientific, technological and business practices? 3) What does impact look like to unfolding cultural interventions in technology development? The question is not, how do we achieve a specific set of impacts, but what are the emerging impacts?
You can read more about the project at and


Ph.d.-studerende Kristoffer Raasted

Kristoffer Raasted

PhD student

New Connections: Queering the Radio Voice

In my artistic practice, the research I conduct aims to generate new knowledge, insights, and works of art in the intersectional field of synthetic voices, queer studies, performance theory, technology studies, and anti-racism theory. Contemporary art is continually transforming, and to follow that development, I think the methods and theories flexibly must change as well. I engage both artistically and academically with podcasts, DJing, sound art, and art radio as cultural practices that provide a starting point for this research. Webcasting is both a way of presenting and documenting sound pieces. This function was traditionally taken care of by state-organized radio. Today, however, the documentation and broadcasting of experimental sound artworks is largely reliant on independent channels.

I want to research this dynamic by analyzing some of the online radio stations that serve this societal function today. As a practice-based and artistic research project, artistic activities such as participating in exhibitions, performing curations, lectures and artist talks are considered part of the PhD-project on equal terms with, for instance, publishing a peer reviewed article or attending a conference within academia.

The PhD project is a direct continuation of my prior research, which has mainly revolved around sound and performance art. I will establish an online radio station at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, which will serve the double function of documenting and communicating the artistic research to a wider public. The radio station will also be a useful resource in the production of artistic knowledge. I envisage a four-fold output for the PhD: an exhibition, a concluding broadcast, an article-based PhD thesis and a zine with contributions from the collaborators that have partaken in the radio programs. I want the radio station to be an open site for knowledge sharing, that can flexibly adapt to events in the art world that makes new ways of understanding things possible.

It is important to me, in making it as open a format as possible, and I see it as a way of ensuring a curious approach to running the radio channel, that the premise of the radio station is very clearly defined and communicated already at the launch of the radio. For one thing, I want the radio station to have a publicly communicated zero-tolerance for any type of discrimination. In a contemporary visual arts context, sound can be considered an in-between medium, which activates and interacts with many other research areas. With the radio show New Connections, I hope to build a network of listeners on the art scene.


Artist Kristoffer Raasted is educated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts in 2018 with a supplementary MFA in art theory from the Institute of Artistic Research and exchange semesters at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and Faculdade de Belas-Artes Ulisboa, and a three-month internship period at Issue Project Room in New York. Raasted conducts artistic research in the intersectional field between sound, performance and installations and will commence the practice-based ph.d. project at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in september 2020. The PhD stipend is granted by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and is organized in a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and The Academy of Fine Arts.




Ph.d-studerende og leder af Laboratoriet for Lyd, Jenny Gräf Sheppard

Jenny Gräf Sheppard

PhD student, Head of the Sound Laboratory at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts

My PhD project 'Communicating Vessels: Re-defining Agency through Sounding' is a project that contains theoretical and practice-based research in which I explore agency from different perspectives using a concept I am calling Sounding. Sounding proposes a porosity in distinctions between listening and producing sound, re-framing sonic relationships and revealing potential and existing interacting agencies.

The research will occur through an annual series of Radical Listening workshops I will organise in Copenhagen and in field research abroad where I exchange ideas on sound perspectives and practices with sound artists and scholars from different parts of the world. Drawing from a range of fields in which sound, perception and subjectivity is addressed, such as anthropology, neuroscience, feminist theory, indigenous perspectives, and Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening practice, I propose to re-define agency in relation to Sound practices.


Charlotte Sprogøe

PhD student

The practice-based PhD project Exhibition as Psycho-Aesthetic Form will examine the art exhibition as form in itself. Through curatorial research, it will investigate how certain time-based, backdrop including, conceptually complex international contemporary art exhibitions manage to be experienced as formal aesthetic entities in an aesthetic philosophical sense.

The PhD will explore the curatorial sensibility as a co-producer of the work experience and ask the questions:
- How can one curatorial create tensions that vitalize the exhibition as a whole in the visitor’s consciousness?
- What aesthetic experiences of the world of life around us unfold in these curatorial practices?
- Does it make sense to talk about a work as isolated from the total installation experience it is part of?


Undervisningsassistent i kunsthistorie Katarine Stenbeck

Katarina Stenbeck

Associate professor, Art History

Katarina Stenbeck is educated in Art History from University of Copenhagen and Goldsmiths College and has worked as a curator and teacher in institutional and self-organized contexts.



+45 3374 4638

Personalebillede mangler

Amelia Groom


Author and art historian Amelia Groom has been employed as a post doctoral project researcher for the period 1 August 2021 - 15 June 2022 for the project ‘Taken in’ by the Sea, Beverly Buchanan in Denmark, 1980, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. During her time in Copenhagen, Amelia Groom will be researching the artist Beverly Buchanan's visit to Denmark in the summer of 1980, focusing in particular on an ephemeral, water-bound environmental sculpture which the artist made on the beach behind Kronborg castle. The project will expand on Groom's existing research into Buchanan's environmental practice in the American southeast – including her recent book Beverly Buchanan: Marsh Ruins.