Research Manual


1. Artistic research according to the Brussels model

1.1. Types of artistic research

The government  distinguishes three types of research in art colleges in Flanders: 

a) Research about the arts, not rooted in artistic practice; 

b) Research in the arts with an artistic result, but not together with practice (known as practice-based research), and thus with a written report comprising an explicit, relevant issue, the methodological approach, the reporting on/course of the approach and the results of the research, as well as a reflection on the approach, outcome and context; 

c) Research in the arts that concurs with artistic practice, also known as practice as research, in which the creative process itself is the research, and the product of the research is the artistic product, supplemented with a report. 

The written part of the master examination is consequently different for each of these 3 types of research.  

In light of the foregoing provisions and findings, the NVAO  believes that each master examination in the arts must include at least a written essay on the research topic, the method of approach, plus a discussion of the results and a commentary thereon. 

In view of the different types of research, this essay must be combined with (the submission of) an artistic product, in case of practice-based research in the arts.  Such an artistic product must be related to the research topic in the essay.  If not accompanied by an artistic product, the master examination entails research on the arts, and the written part must consequently meet the requirements of a purely written master examination. 

The essay with the artistic product or the purely written master examination must show the degree to which the academic end results are achieved. 

1.2. Artistic research according to the Brussels model

Research in the arts at the Brussels Royal Conservatory is usually combined with practice as research ©.  The TROBADOR research committee has drawn up its own definition. 

In terms of content, artistic research comprises the following aspects pursuant to the definition of the Brussels Royal Conservatory (KCB): 

The acquisition of knowledge and expertise 

The skill to use intuitive, emotional and spiritual capacities 

The integration of these elements in variable proportions resulting in the production of a work of art embedded in the cultural landscape. 

The foregoing definition shows that a work of art is the result of artistic research and that an artist conducts research.  Artistic research is consequently situated before and during the production of a work of art. The results of the research are in the work of art, itself contained in a language specific to the discipline.  The research skills do not stem primarily from a discursive and reflective component but from the intrinsic qualities of the work of art itself, unlike art historical research, which sees the work of art as an object for study and is situated after the production thereof. 

Artistic research may well delve into existing academic disciplines such as musicology, sociology, philosophy, mathematics, etc. to accumulate knowledge and acquire insights.

1.3. Nature of the research 

The foregoing definition shows that reflection and research are not separate elements but constitute an integral part of the artistic development of musicians.  The point of departure is the artistic discipline. Artistic development, education and research constitute a three-pronged approach at the KCB.

A researcher must therefore be capable of formulating his or her research topic and place it in a broad context; plan and carry out research; and communicate research results. 

1.4. Nature of the research in the KBC: spearheads

Performance practice 

Composition/improvisation and analysis 

Organology/instrument building/artistic tools 

Scholarly (culture, music, history and psychology) 

1.5. Research structures at the KCB, EHB and UAB

TROBADOR, the KCB research committee, is composed of active researchers and consists of performing artists, composers, music theorists and musicologists.  TROBADOR stimulates the artistic and scholarly research at the KCB and helps to chart the research policy lines. 

The departmental research coordinator of the KCB sits also on the Research Board of the EHB (Raad Kunsten en Onderzoek) and the Brussels University Association as the representative of the KCB and in the research council of the VUB (OZR).

The Arts Platform

Created in 2006, the Arts Platform is responsible for the development and quality assurance of the doctoral programme in the arts according to the Brussels model.  The Arts Platform is a cooperative association between the VUB and the art departments of the RITS and KCB, the EHB and a number of external partners. 

2. Possible presentation forms of artistic research according to the Brussels model

Artistic research can be communicated in different ways inside and outside the KCB.  The list below gives the possible presentation forms used up to now by researchers at the KCB, where attention is focused on both the research result and on reflection. 

2.1. Inside: presentations

Concert + essay on the research process 

Lecture recital = verbal reflection on the research process 

Workshop/ master class 

Having students take part in research presentations outside the KCB 

Release of a CD in cooperation with another label 

Internal report 


Coaching for musicians 

2.2 Outside


Music theatre 

CD recording, DVD recording, radio and TV recording, etc. 

Publications in periodicals, books, etc.

Critical edition 

Lectures at congresses/study days, etc. 


Method publication 

Composition publication 



Instrument building 

workshops, master classes 

lecture recital

coaching for musicians 

2. Criteria for good research

Embedded in the KCB’s spearhead policy 

Relevance of research for personal musical development in particular and for the arts in general 

Coherence between the research process and the research presentation 

Qualitative research (= research topic in broad cultural context, sources and critical stance regarding sources, efficient method and planning, presentation). 

Embedded in international context 

3. Proposals for new research 

New research proposals must be submitted to the research coordinator by 1 March.  TROBADOR processes the applications and makes a proposal to the Departmental Board. 

4. Evaluation of the research

The research results must be entered in Rednet, the VUB database.  The research is evaluated by TROBADOR on the basis of the data entered in Rednet on 1 March.  TROBADOR may ask for additional information. 

5. Funding of the research

There are various funding possibilities.  Please contact the research coordinator.