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Performing Science, Mediating Knowledge

Arts and Media Archaeology Summer School

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Published on Monday, July 17, 2023


How was (un)conventional knowledge circulated in the 19th century? Learn all about the relation between performance, history of science, knowledge, objects and media that eventually affects present-day media performances.



Step into the world of the history of spectacular science and the various forms of (un)conventional knowledge that circulated in the nineteenth century through performance and entertainment. Learn about the relation between performance, science, knowledge and its objects and media. Explore how various props such as the magic lantern, panoramas or human exhibitions shaped the public’s perception of science, and how eager audiences became acquainted with the ways in which venues and self-staging tactics were used to frame and communicate knowledge and scientific insights. Discover how art and performance can be analysed as major indicators of shifting ideas, new insights or changing discourses in the realm of science, and how they reflect the impact of new scientific knowledge, observations, and discoveries in cultural history.

This first edition of the Arts and Media Archaeology Summer School focuses on the connection between performance and media culture and the history of science, knowledge and ideas. In a five-day programme, it will deepen participants’ understanding of how performance played a crucial role in the circulation of science, knowledge and visual culture and helped shape modern Western culture. By also considering the interplay between present-day media performances and the archaeological traces they carry, the programme moreover aims to unearth often overlooked prehistories of so-called ‘new’ media. 

The Summer School is aimed at research MA and PhD students and more advanced scholars and artists in the field of Arts, Performance, Media and Cultural History from the University of Antwerp and from other universities in Belgium and abroad. Find out more.

This Summer School is organized in the framework of Science at the Fair: Performing Knowledge and Technology in Western Europe, 1850-1914 (www.scifair.eu) a five-year research project coordinated by Nele Wynants, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under ARIA and related projects at Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO) and FNRS. In partnership with Vlaamse overheid (Departement EWI).


Organised by: Nele Wynants, in collaboration with Eva AndersenSarah J. AdamsEvelien Jonckheere & Elisa Seghers

Day to day programme

The 5-day programme consists of a public keynote lecture by Sofie Lachapelle (Dean of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University, CA), 15 lectures by national and international experts in the fields of Art, Performance and Media studies and the Histories of Science and Knowledge, and 5 presentations by artist-researchers, providing a more practice-based approach to the subject.

Monday 4 Sept

Setting the Stage – Knowledge & Performance

  • Nele Wynants (University of Antwerp) – "Performing Science, Mediating Knowledge: Introduction"
  • Sven Dupré (Utrecht University & Amsterdam University) – Lecture "Knowledge and the Arts: Actors, Performance, Conservation"
  • Karel Vanhaesebrouck (Université libre de Bruxelles) – Lecture "On the Popular and some other Historiographic Misunderstandings"
  • Sarah Vanhee (freelance artist Brussels) – "bodies of knowledge"
  • Sofie Lachapelle (University of Guelph) – Public keynote Lecture "Science on and for the Stage: From the Street Fairs and Magic Shows to the Opera Houses of Nineteenth-Century Paris"

Tuesday 5 Sept

Venues of Knowledge Performance

  • Charlotte Bigg (Centre A. Koyré, CNRS Paris) & Thomas Mougey (ESHS,  LUCK Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge) – Lecture "Performing science at the International Exposition Congresses"
  • Leen Engelen (Luca School of Arts, Leuven) – Lecture "The Panorama"
  • Student Presentations: poster session 1 (work in progress)
  • Wesley Meuris (artist-researcher Sint Lucas Antwerp) – "Extended Gaze"
  • Field Trip I (FOMU) – visit Kaiserpanorama
  • Film screening Broken View, a film by Hannes Verhoustraete (KASK School of Arts Ghent), with introduction and Q&A

​Wednesday 6 Sept

Staging Knowledge​

  • Parveen Kanhai (independent researcher) – Lecture "Amassing Objects, Exhibiting People"
  • Sarah J. Adams (Ghent University & University of Antwerp) – Lecture "Racialization and Theories of Race in Dutch Theatre (1800)"
  • Evelien Jonckheere (University of Antwerp) – Lecture "Faces, Physiognomy and Caricature"
  • Student Presentations: poster session 2 (work in progress)
  • Doina Kraal (freelance artist) – "A Phenomenology of the Peepshow box: The Peepshow Box as a Model for Research and Artistic Practice"
  • Machiko Kusahara (Waseda University Tokyo) – Public keynote lecture "Japanese Touring Attractions"

Thursday 7 Sept

Media and Networks of Knowledge

  • Joe Kember (University of Exeter) – Lecture "Magic Lantern Lecture Networks"
  • Eva Andersen (University of Antwerp) – Lecture "Knowledge Networks"
  • Bart G. Moens (Université libre de Bruxelles & University of Antwerp) – Lecture "Transparent images? On objectivity and photographic lantern slides (1890-1920)"
  • Student Presentations: poster session 3 (work in progress)
  • Peer to peer feedback session(s) student presentations
  • Erkki Huhtamo (University of California, Los Angeles) – Public keynote lecture
  • Evening programme – Magic Lantern lecture and performance by Kurt Vanhoutte Ditmar Bollaert

Friday 8 Sept

Objects of Knowledge (venue: GUM Ghent)

  • Kurt Vanhoutte (University of Antwerp) & Thibaut Rioult (University of Antwerp) – Lecture "Charged Objects: The Embodied Knowledge of Things"
  • Deirdre Feeney (independent artist) – Lecture "Knowing through practice: The hidden life of lenses and other stories"
  • Marjan Doom (Ghent University) – "Curating Science"
  • Field Trip II – Guided tour Ghent University Museum (GUM) + botanical garden and green houses and/or workshop
  • Workshop – Curating Scientific Objects: tbc
  • Concluding round table debate


Arts & Media Archaeology Summer School

Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp

Google Maps

Walking distance from train station Antwerpen-Centraal

Photography Museum (FOMU) Antwerp

Waalsekaai 47, 2000 Antwerp​

Google Maps

Tram 1 and 10 or bus 13 and 14 from train station Antwerpen-Centraal

Ghent University Museum (GUM) Ghent

Karel Lodewijk Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent​

Google Maps

Walking distance from train station Gent-Sint-Pieters


  • Mutsaardstraat 31
    Antwerp, Belgium (2000)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Attached files


  • arts, media archaeology, (un)conventional knowledge, knowledge circulation, present-day media, performance, theatre


  • Elisa Seghers
    courriel : AMAsummerschool [at] uantwerpen [dot] be
  • Nele Wynants
    courriel : nele [dot] wynants [at] uantwerpen [dot] be

Information source

  • Elisa Seghers
    courriel : AMAsummerschool [at] uantwerpen [dot] be


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Performing Science, Mediating Knowledge », Summer School, Calenda, Published on Monday, July 17, 2023, https://calenda.org/1087526

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