Migrating Art Academies in Vilnius. Photo: Gintautas Trimakas

Migrating Art Academies in Vilnius. Photo: G.Trimakas

Migrating Art Academies (MigAA) is a platform for innovation and exchange in arts teaching and research. It is a network of universities and associated partners across Europe (including Finland, France, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, UK, Russia and other countries). The model uses the concept of migration – of resources, people, competencies, disciplines – as a method of producing knowledge which aspires to expand traditional educational systems.

Literally the Migrating Art Academies is linked to Plato’s school of philosophy which was later called Aristotle’s Peripatetic School or simply the Academy. It is based on a process of thinking by walking. Replacement of the accustomed educational practice with experimental forms of work like doing-while-moving unleashes new forms of creativity and offers a different kind of study and research.

The basic idea behind the project is to challenge the traditional and habitual artistic routines of the emerging artists in order to inspire their continued creative development. The Migrating Art Academies project is an attempt to juxtapose the digital, non-haptic, anonymous, collective, and virtual on one hand with the unique, corporeal, and individual on the other. The project concentrates on social and interpersonal communication and encounters between differing cultural habits. “The breach between locations are the breaches between the individuals,” as the Maître à penser of this project, Vilém Flusser, once stated in his writings on migration and nomadism.

The network facilitates short-term workshops called “creative laboratories.” The laboratories usually last around ten days, with time divided into the three parts: input, process, and output. Each laboratory has a theme that is reflected upon throughout the process. The inputs are typically trans-disciplinary stimuli brought by guest facilitators or other agents provocateur: these act as triggers for the overall creative and individual work processes. Laboratory output is usually a public presentation that include the exhibition of produced ideas along with fruitful discussions reflecting on the concepts brought to the fore.

Since 2008 MigAA was led by different organisations and was supported by European Commission Culture Program, Culture Support Foundation of the Republic of Lithuania, the Nordic Culture Point, the Goethe Institute and other foundations and organisations.