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Dr. Ties van de Werff will be the new lecturer of the What Art Knows reseach centre from September 1. This falls under the Maastricht Institute of Arts and it stimulates the development and application of ‘artistic research and engagement’ in and with Zuyd’s art courses.

Van de Werff is very proud and happy that he can take over from Ruth Benschop. Benschop led the professorship for almost ten years and has now chosen to transfer her task. Van de Werff: “Under Ruth’s inspired leadership, we have developed our own Maastricht style of artistic research and managed to put it on the map nationally. We have also made PhDs in the arts possible through Maastricht Experimental Research In and through the Arts Network. This is a partnership between the professorship, Jan van Eyck Academie and Maastricht University.”


In the coming years, Van de Werff wants to further develop the vision on artistic research together with the courses and translate it to the various art courses. “I would also like to make our expertise in artistic research and engagement more accessible to teachers, students, artists and cultural institutions in the region. This way we can better involve them in our research and education. The professorship and Maastricht Institute of Arts have a lot to be proud of and we should show that,” says Van de Werff.


Another example is the Artful Participation project. The research centre investigated how, for example, concertgoers can program their own evening based on personal stories around their favorite music. The research group conducted this research together with philharmonie zuidnederland, Conservatorium Maastricht and Maastricht University. This approach not only changes the concert experience, but also the entire organization of a concert.

Research Methods

The research centre is currently investigating traditions and practices of artistic research and experiments within the various art courses at Zuyd, from design to theater. The researchers see manufacturing processes as a form of research that produces specific knowledge. For example, researcher Ulrike Scholtes examines what role the artist’s body plays in art education and how you can train the artist’s body as a research instrument. And researcher Marlies Vermeulen experiments with drawing as a research method in various courses.

Ties van de Werff

Van de Werff (1981) studied Health Sciences (MSc), Culture and Science Studies (MA) and the research master Cultures of Art, Science & Technology (MPhil) at Maastricht University. He then worked as a program maker and copywriter. He worked for STRP Festival, Dutch Design Week, Dutch Design Awards and Next Nature Network, among others. He also founded the social design collective Tante Netty in the Woensel-West district in Eindhoven.

From 2009 to 2020, van de Werff was a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at Maastricht University. Here he obtained his PhD in practical philosophy in 2018. Since 2016, the new lecturer has been affiliated with the Zuyd research centre What Art Knows as a senior researcher. In recent years he has mainly been concerned with the ethics of artistic research and how art becomes valuable in society. In addition to his professorship, he is also a senior lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Arts program and secretary of the Zuyd Research Ethics Committee.

Wild reading

Van de Werff is a great music lover, from roots reggae to noise. He played as a bassist in several bands and currently plays in the lo-fi punk band We Are Joiners. He also enjoys ‘wild reading’. By this he means reading outdoors, preferably in busy places. He also likes to cook Indonesian. Van de Werff lives in Eindhoven with his eight-year-old daughter and cat and his girlfriend and seven-year-old bonus son will soon join him.