The particular approach adopted by the Research Training Group (RTG) is focused less on examining the outcomes of processes of connecting and excluding – so to speak on what is connected or excluded, a self-evident given in systems and networks – and more on the practices of connecting and excluding, which can then be tested against our own actions. In order to describe and comprehend the mutual contingency of practices of connecting and excluding under the structural conditions of globalisation and digitalisation – which at their core concern not only science and scholarship, but all areas of the social lifeworld – it is necessary to rethink methods of identification and criticism. This entails the absorption of existing artistic and creative spaces for reflection and debate – but such spaces also come into being themselves as and when they are able to connect with ‘different’ forms of knowledge and practice from outside the world of science and scholarship, and when social controversies of the present play out before they take on a fixed conceptual shape.
The various threads of the RTG – the collaboration with agents from artistic and creative knowledge systems, the curatorial project as an integral part of the study programme, and not least the practical experience the RTG’s members gain in/with cultural institutions and civic institutions – all culminate to produce the desired interplay between theory, empiricism and practice beyond customary subject-object relations.
In this light, the Academy for Media Arts Cologne and the Köln International School of Design at the TH Köln, University of Technology, Arts, Sciences give the RTG’s members the chance to become acquainted with embodied, situated, relational, processual and transformative forms of knowledge, to test them in the context of their own practical research, and to question them critically as practices of connecting and excluding.