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Dilemmas for Artists and Designers

Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

This research project is a follow-up to the YAFF (Young Artist Feed Forward) project. 

Young Artists Feed Forward is a collective of recently graduated artists that was set up in 2017 in collaboration with Caradt researcher Rob Leijdekkers.  

YAFF explores and develops commercial models in connection with the changing social positions of autonomous visual artists. The collective also advocates substantial changes in the current understanding of the creative industry. Attitudes within the creative industry embrace the principles of creative autonomy (the idea of art playing an innovative role, for examplewhile, simultaneously, there is very little space for actually expressing that autonomy. 

After two years of intensive collaboration, Rob Leijdekkers withdrew from YAFF. The collective now continues independently. Reflections on the YAFF collaboration provided Rob with the foundations for new research. Based on the initial findings, an educational module was developed that focuses on the dilemmas of young artists. The uncertain future is an issue for most students, but is often ignored through a dedicated focus on projects. Conversations with artists, colleagues, alumni and students have resulted in a working method that can be meaningful in practice. 

The publication (currently in progress) The Conflict Model (working title) will be an invitation to place the arts within society, to engage in conflict, and to link a sense of community to a diversity of artist practices. The model advocates indirect benefits, as opposed to direct benefit. This is why our art students can no longer be kept at a distance from societal issues: we must let them take their place. We must not protect them from the dilemmas of being an artist, but rather make these dilemmas a part of their practice and approach. 


The main result  in addition to a number of lectures and workshops  is that within the art education of St. Joost School of Art and Design and the Communication and Multimedia Design programmes more explicit attention is paid to the importance of collectivity, citizenship and, art and designs contribution to social issues. A contribution that is not based on offering solutions to these questions, but on offering insights into possible alternatives. 

Research question 

What are the dilemmas for artists and designers who want to deal with and relate to social issues?Which (alternative) forms of (independent) practices are required for this? 

Ongoing research, started in 2020. 

Principle investigator
Rob Leijdekkers

Other researchers involved
Bart Stuart (external researcher / Caradt)
Eke Rebergen
Hedwig Houben
Brenda Tempelaar
Collective YAFF: Mirron Looijmans, Gerrit-Jan Smit, Rob Leijdekkers, Reinier Vrancken, Lisette van Doren, Roel Neuraij, Eef Schoolmeesters, Ruben Mols, Carl Alexander, Eva Hoonhout, Amanda van Wijk,  Rozemarijn de Booij, Camping Viervaart,Renée van Oploo, Dagmar Marent Esther Schaminée
Hans Leijdekkers
Hans Scholten
Sanne Feenstra
Klaar van der Lippe
Floor Snels

Sebastian Olma

De Fabriek Eindhoven
Gemeente Rotterdam
Jeugd Cultuur Fonds
InBlik Radio (Malú van der Bijl and Sofie Hollander) 

Avans University of Applied Sciences   

‘As a result of my current research, I ask the students the questions “what is your work” and “what works for you.’

Rob Leijdekkers is a researcher at the Cultural and Creative Industries research group and a tutor at the Art & Research programme at St. Joost School of Art & Design. 

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Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries investigates the role of artists and designers as creative innovators and drivers of social and economic change. Affiliated researchers analyse the cultural and creative industries from a critical point of view and examine the conditions under which timely forms of aesthetic expression and social connectedness can actually take place within the precarious reality of this field. What economic models are required by artists and designers to create a meaningful practice within the aesthetic, social, and economic intentions of the cultural and creative industries? What skills sets are required for those artists and designers who don’t just want to follow movements, but actually shape novel social and economic models of the future?

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