‘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.
After studying visual arts (BA), Rob Leijdekkers initially focused on sculptures and spatial installations. Exhibitions and commissions gave reason to shape his practice accordingly. Over the years, he began to question the effectiveness of his work. This issue hadn’t been addressed before; Rob’s focus had long shifted from social engagement to more formal issues. A work’s social/political engagement was a part of the image-making, but had ultimately become a secondary concern to a work’s form. This process had begun to manifest during Rob’s studies and had continued since: a transformation from an activistic attitude to a rather formal and visual approach had taken place, almost unnoticed.
For the past 15 years Rob has been reversing this process. Based on a set of (self-formulated) aesthetic and ethical criteria, he attempts to intervene within existing processes and commissions. The results of these interventions are stand-alone gestures. His name is not associated with them. Since 2017, he has been associated with various collectives that focus on the question of how the arts can engage more effectively with social issues.
Alongside his own practice, Rob has been working as a tutor for the Art & Research programme at St. Joost School of Art & Design, since 1994.
Cultural and Creative Industries / YAFF
This research involves intensive collaboration with ten recently graduated visual artists from St. Joost School of Art & Design. The Young Artist Feed Forward (YAFF) collective is working on research aimed at the increasing value of an autonomous position in relation to issues within the Creative Industry. Instead of ‘artists bringing innovation to the economy’, research is being conducted into how you can bring the skills and know-how that you acquire as a visual arts student to the market. The research is carried out by organising collective work sessions. The aim of these sessions is to give meaning to concepts that play a central role in the research, such as conflict (‘Don’t avoid it, deal with it’).
Dilemmas for Artists and Designers
This research project is a follow-up to the YAFF (Young Artist Feed Forward) project.
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?Read more
‘Our research group investigates the role artists, designers and cultural producers in general can play in developing the aesthetics and poetics of a desirable future.’
‘Well beyond their common characterisation as problem-solvers, designers have a role to play in materialising public engagement with collective concern’
‘Performance is about engaging with versions of the self, stretching the gaze to see what others see when they look at you.’
‘To be able to research something thoroughly, you have to deeply engage, not just look at it from the outside.’
‘Doing research connects my practice with teaching; it strengthens and brings them closer together.’
‘The most difficult and empowering thing as an artist is to stay honest about my work and me. And I'd like to help my students to get there too.’
‘Disrupting our contemporary society can be a serious design goal.’