Conducting research is quite a lonesome activity. But it does not need to be. Peers can help you to see clearer what you are looking for. On May 21 2019 THEA Joint Research Group, an informal research platform on the theatricality and the real reuniting both academic and artistic researchers affiliated to Brussels-based universities and art schools organizes a day of reflexion, discussion and exchange. Along the lines of the philosophy of Entre-Aide (a term coined by the anarchist Kropotkin as early as 1902 as an antidote to the devastating competition of social darwinism) we will discuss your research and that of your fellow travelers.

Several THEA members have invited artists and/or academics to discuss their work with the group in different set-ups. Frans-Willem Korsten, professor of Literature & Culture at Leiden University and mentor at Piet Zwart Academy, will be our fellow traveller for the day and will provide you with feedback on your work.

Time schedule:

10u Ellen VERMEULEN (PhD in the arts RITCS/VUB): the ethics of documentary. Invitee: Pieter De Buysser

11u Marte VAN HASSEL (PhD in theatre studies ULB): decolonization and its methodological consequences. Invitee: Sanne Sinnige.

13u30 Michèle FORNHOFF (PhD theatre studies ULB). Ethnoscenology as practice/theory for academics and artists. Invitee: Jean-Marie Pradier.

14u30 Rodrigue YAO NORMAN (Doctorat Arts et Sciences de l’Art ULB/INSAS) – Théâtre, didactisme, militantisme et émancipation citoyenne au Togo. Invitee: Yves Claessens.

15u30 Jan GEERS (PhD in the arts RITCS/VUB). The community of socio-artistic practice. Invitee: Jan Vromman.

16u30 Frans-Willem KORSTEN: concluding remarks, perspectives, discussion.

Tuesday 21 May 2019 10:00 – 17:00, RITCS School of Arts, 3rd floor, Rue A. Dansaertstraat 70, 1000 Brussels.

Please confirm your presence by sending an email to

Org. THEA Joint Research Group in collaboration with RITCS, VUB and ULB.


3e Forum des Nouvelles écritures dramatiques

THEA is participating in the Third Forum for New writing for theatre, which will be hosted by the Festival of Avignon on July 7-8 2018. More information here.

L’émergence de nouvelles écritures dramatiques en Europe est particulièrement marquante aujourd’hui. Ce Forum, après ceux de Strasbourg (2016) et de Bruxelles (2017), entreprend de les explorer en invitant dix auteurs européens à deux journées de discussions et de débats. Les mises en lecture d’extraits de leurs textes par des élèves de grandes écoles de théâtre initieront pour chacun les échanges avec les élèves, les auteurs, leurs traducteurs, des spécialistes des écritures contemporaines et le public.

Auteurs Michaël Bijnens, Carly Wijs (Belgique), Lola Blasco (Espagne), Beniamin M. Bukowski (Pologne), Joana Craveiro (Portugal), Zinnie Harris (Grande-Bretagne), Bonn Park (Allemagne), Pier Lorenzo Pisano (Italie),Tyrfingur Tyrfingsson (Islande), Tomislav Zajec (Croatie)

Traducteurs Séverine Daucourt, Inge Floré, Federica Martucci, Laurent Muhleisen, Monique Nagielkopf, Blandine Pélissier, Clarice Plasteig, Marie-Amélie Robillard, Karine Samardžija, Agnieszka Zgieb

Production et co-organisation Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre National de Strasbourg, Esact Liège, RITCS Bruxelles, Université Paris Nanterre, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Maison Antoine Vitez

Screening Night has come and PhD defense Peter Van Goethem

The film Night has come, which Peter Van Goethem made in the framework of his Doctorate in the Arts, will be presented on Friday 2 March 2018 at 15:30 in Cinematek (Kunstberg, Baron Hortastraat 9, 1000 Brussels) followed by the public defense of the Doctorate and a reception. You are kindly invited to attend. Entry is free but reservations are required (please send a mail to Inge Pieters at before 26 February).

Voice Johan Leysen / Music Guy Van Nueten / Sound design Guy De Bièvre / Editing Peter Van Goethem / Second Editor David Verdeure / Script and editing advisor Peter Krüger / Produced by Inti films

The Film Director as Archivist

The practice-based PhD project The Film Director as Archivist investigates, through the use of existing archival material, the relationship between factual and artistic representation of history. At the basis of the research are the archival films about Brussels in the Royal Belgian Film Archive Cinematek. In the framework of his Doctorate in the Arts Peter Van Goethem created the found footage film Night has come, wrote a book entitled Restitutie and created a portrait series Tipping Point.

The film is constructed as a mosaic of memories of the main character. The archival material provides visual substance to these memories. The manner in which these memories are given shape in the film is a metaphor for the intricate ways in which human memory works. The memory of the main character is not unambiguous. His memories are heavily selective, distorted, fragmented, repetitive and forgetful. The book recounts the life story of Raymond Devaux, the creator of a series of family films which Peter Van Goethem used in the film Night has come. With this book he explores the relationship between historical fiction and history using historical sources. In addition he re-examines the relationship between fiction and truth by calling on non-existent sources, such as the manuscript of Raymond Devaux, that he wrote himself, or on existing materials which receive new meaning in other contexts, such as his portrait series Tipping Point, presumably painted by Devaux.

Peter Van Goethem

Peter Van Goethem is active as a director, producer, author and painter. He studied Pedagogical Sciences (Ugent) and Philosophical Pedagogy (KULeuven) before studying documentary film at RITCS. He regularly writes for the cultural magazine rekto:verso where he was also a member of the editorial team until 2012. With the support of the Foundation Pascal Decroos, he wrote together with Pieter Verstraete (KULeuven) the book: Iran: de kunst van het ontwijken (Acco, 2011). As a director, he has concentrated on creative documentaries in which the visual aspect of human actions and surroundings are the central theme. In his work as a painter, he draws on the tradition of landscape and portrait painting. He approaches the documentary film genre as a form of portrait. Peter Van Goethem will defend his Doctorate in the Arts “The Film Director as Archivist” on 2 March 2018.

VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL (VUB) | Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte
UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES (ULB) | Faculté de Lettres, Traduction & Communication

Prof. Dr. Klaas Tindemans, VUB promotor/ Prof. Dr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck, ULB, promotor/ Peter Krüger, RITCS, artistic co-promotor/ Prof. Dr. Roel Vande Winkel, KULeuven, co-promotor

Advisory Commission:
Paul Aron, Université libre de Bruxelles, chairman/ Erik Martens, Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds / Sylvain De Bleeckere, Universiteit Hasselt


4/09 17:00 PhD Defense Maurits Wouters

Filmmaker Maurits Wouters is awarded a PhD with his artistic interpretation of an old railway track

A Personal Trajectory

‘From the start of my artistic PhD, I have been interested in analog home video. I associate it with my childhood and family history and in this way, I see this research as an investigation of my roots. Furthermore, I wanted to work with a specific collection of home videos; namely the tapes that document the life around ‘Het Bels Lijntje, a lost railway track between Tilburg and Turnhout. This material brought me closer to my family history’, says Wouters.

‘From the start I have been preoccupied with different questions. First of all I wanted to know how people used analog home video to literally “ìmagine” ‘Het Bels Lijntje. In 1995, analog video got replaced by it`s digital variant and because of this analog video became a memory in itself. What is the influence of this deprecated medium on the filmed images? How do we look at these analog videos in our digital times and what impact does it have on the experience of watching? My interest in analog home video is intricately linked to the questions I ask myself about my own profession as a filmmaker; how can I as a young maker of films, use this medium in an artistic way? ‘


‘Analog home video doesn’t exist as such. It is more an amalgam of different carriers of memory in which it’s not the cultural practice of filming that forms the fundament.  It is the video tape itself, as carrier, which becomes important’, Wouters clarifies.

‘On top of that the videos are of inferior quality which is also an important characteristic. When a video gets copied, a part of its content gets lost. Such a tape wasn’t made to be copied, read and shared; one only wants to cherish the memory. Upon inquiry, the owners of these tapes admitted that they had hardly been looked at. They are only an object of remembrance, rather than a historical document. Often people kept their tapes in boxes that looked like the leather cover of a book. In this way, VHS seemed the next link within the tradition of storytelling even though that tradition was already finding it’s end point at that time. It seems like the value lies primarily in the act of filming itself, more than in the transferral. This act of filming prevails on the final visible result. ‘

Two experimental films- The Road Back and The Movement of Phill Niblock- form the result of Wouters`research process. In these films the imagination of nature and landscape play an important role in supporting memory.

The films will be presented in CINEMA RITCS, Antoine Dansaertstr. 70, 1000 Brussels, at 5pm on September the 4th. This screening is part of the public defence of Maurits Wouters. The screening is for free, on condition of reservation through (before 1st of September).

About Maurits Wouters
Maurits Wouters is filmmaker and visual artist. In 2009 he graduated from RITCS as a film director, going on to complete his education at the University of Antwerp with a Master in Film and Theatre Studies. Since 2013 he has been working on a PhD in the Arts, with the sup-port of the FWO (Fund for Scientific Research). Wouters’ work exam-ines the limit between film, photography, visual art and installation. His films have been presented, at the Internationall Short Film Festi-val in Leuven, Experimental Media in New York and FID Marseille, among others and archived by Argos Arts Brussels and Anthology Film Archive New York.

3-4/02 De Vlasbloem: Satisfaction 2

Voorstelling in het kader van het doctoraatsonderzoek van Jan Geers (THEA)

Na de filmische theatervoorstelling Satisfaction 1 presenteert Mister Wolf het tweede luik van een tweeluik over ouderdom. Een niet te missen ode aan de wereld van de toneelliefhebberij. Satisfaction 2 wordt een beklijvende voorstelling vol humor over een actrice op leeftijd die afscheid wil nemen van haar geliefde theater. Haar droom is om nog één keer de rol van Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf te spelen. De repetities van het stuk lopen echter niet van een leien dakje. Wat begon als een droom dreigt al snel een nachtmerrie te worden.


Zie ook:

19-20/01 Beursschouwburg – Symposium “Art & The Future City”

Organized by Brussels Arts Platform in collaboration with Beursschouwburg, RITCS School of Arts and Doctoral School of Human Sciences – VUB. Coordination: Peter Van Goethem (THEA)

What might the city look like at the end of the 21st century?

As we look to the future, the world will be shaped by its cities. The future will be increasingly urban, as the majority of the population will move to live and work in urban hubs. It is estimated that in a few decades, more than fifty per cent of the earth’s population will live in cities or their suburbs. Hence, cities will become the ultimate destination of the new generation, they will play a key role in the lives of everyone in the world. How these cities look, feel and operate has long been (and is still) a topic of interest and inspiration for many artists, designers, architects… Through their artistic work and practice, they imagine, depict and perform what the city of tomorrow might look like. Many of these visions of future cities aren’t constructed yet or they remain fictional, but this does not mean we cannot learn from them. They offer a challenging perspective on social, political, economic and ecological issues. They illustrate how a city can become uncontrollable or how it will remain a centre for innovation and freedom.

Nowadays, the organization of the urban public space and the urban fabric is already developing more and more towards a field of artistic collaboration between artists, designers, (landscape) architects, policymakers, technologists and urban planners. With the belief that artists are essential and hugely influential to the City of Tomorrow, the festival Art and the Future City explores what role the artist plays and which vision he/she has in perceiving, shaping and mapping the fabric of the future city. New and alternative forms of urban living are imposing new demands on cities. How can the future city be built and managed, taking these demands into account? How will it function socially, economically and politically?

The programme of both days is available here.


Prof. Helen Brooks
02 December 2016, 14:00-17:00 | K.U. Leuven | Faculty of Social Sciences, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven | Entrance is free, but it is required to register in advance here | For additional information, please contact prof. Roel Vande Winkel and/or dr. Leen Engelen |

On Friday December 2, 2016, the Scientific Research Community “Cultures of Spectacle” invites Prof. Helen Brooks (University of Kent) for a research seminar. “Cultures of Spectacle” is an interdisciplinary platform for historical research on film, theatre, dance and musical performance.

Building on her experience of undertaking ‘public engagement’ projects and activities, both with volunteers and partner organisations, prof. Helen Brooks will discuss the benefits and challenges of such collaborations in this seminar. She will explore how she has worked with volunteers on an archival research project into theatre during the First World War, explaining how it was designed and then adapted as it developed, and how she is intending to develop it further, and offering it as one model for ‘citizen history’. She will also discuss her experiences of working with partner organisations such as theatres, archives. Whilst her work as a theatre historian means much of this work is theatre-history focussed, the focus of her seminar will be on methodologies and approaches, and the examples she will discuss will therefore be applicable as models to a range of other historical projects.

The THEA Research Group is part of the Scientific Research Network “Cultures of Spectacle” (WOG “Spektakelcultuur”), that is funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). The Institute for Media Studies (prof. Roel Vande Winkel and dr. Leen Engelen, KU Leuven) will function as the core group.


Call for papers for workshop on 8 December 2016. A selection of papers will be published as an edited volume.

In the last decade, the cultural and creative sector has been a central topic on the agenda of researchers and policy makers alike. Undoubtedly, this sector has undergone significant changes under the influence of new economic realities, globalization and technological (r)evolutions. The creative workforce has changed with it and has arguably become more hybrid, flexible and easily adaptable to the current economic conditions. The evaluation of the outcomes of these changes, however, are much more debated. Some argue that the sector has responded exceptionally well to the opportunities and challenges of recent changes in our society, resulting in a growing creative workforce, in the development of innovative start-ups and in the creation of cultural and artistic infrastructures that facilitate urban regeneration, increase the attractiveness of cities and improves the social mobility of its residents. Others take a more critical position and point to the precarious working conditions, to the growing inequalities in terms of ethnicity, gender and class, to gentrification issues that such a development model might generate and to other potential harmful social, economic and political consequences of the ongoing process of neoliberalization.

Brussels is a particularly interesting case study in this regard because the city seems to have become an attraction pole for international artists and ‘creative’ people. The New York Times recently stated that “there’s a huge drive to make Brussels the new Berlin” and numerous cultural and creative projects emerge on a daily basis in different neighborhoods around the city. Also, the divided institutional structure of the Brussels-Capital Region makes that municipalities, communities, regions and the federal government all have some sort of competence relevant for the cultural and creative sector. This creates a complex landscape of cultural policy actors that is almost impossible to navigate. Nevertheless, local policy makers do not hesitate to announce publicly the importance of a blooming cultural and creative sector for Brussels.

In this workshop, we want to bring together academics and other professionals that do research on the cultural and/or creative sector of Brussels and who use a variety of quantitative (survey, secondary data analysis, network analysis, …) and qualitative (ethnography, archival research, (biographical) interviewing, …) methods. Broadly speaking, we are interested in state of the art research that covers culture and/or creativity. The empirical data should at least partly deal with Brussels. The main goal of this  workshop is to give the opportunity to researchers in a wide range of scientific disciplines to present their research on the cultural and creative sector of the Brussels-Capital Region and to give them the opportunity to interact with colleagues involved in similar research projects in Brussels.

Please see the full Call for Papers (Call research seminar – v8 and Call research seminar – v8 FRENCH) attached for more information.

More information on our INNOVIRIS Project The diversity of work in the cultural and creative industries: making it work for Brussels is here:

7/05 KFDA Reflection Day #1: “Protection”


7/05 – 13:30  > 17:15, Les Brigittines

With a source of inspiration by Toshiki Okada, an interview with Cathy Blisson, a performance and a workhop by  Rodrigo Sobarzo, a lecture by Shahram Khosravi, and an artistic presentation by Arkadi Zaides.

In collaboration with SNDO (School for New Dance Development at de Theaterschool / Amsterdam University of Arts) & Research Group THEA – Theatricality & the Real (ULB, VUB, RITCS)

Admission free

When the man entered the cave for shelter, he suddenly turned this place into an emblem of the search for protection. Since then, the cave has become above all a place of concealment, but also a visible emblem of today’s search of invisibility.
If the cave reminds us that every protection marks a line between an inside and an outside, between what is protected and that from which it protects, this encounter invites us to think together about the notion of protection. What about going in the cave not to find protection, but rather to question protection?

While we are storing our nuclear waste into the depths of our earth, trying to allow it to transgress time itself, we have allowed the nuclear to challenge human discourses on protection as long as mankind will live, and to define our image of threat: invisible, irreversible and out of control. But what if these threatening categories of natural and nuclear catastrophes, are also used to describe political situations? Does this fatalism of a disaster – invisible, irreversible and out of control – move elsewhere and contribute in constructing other narratives, such as the current one on migration movements?
After letting emerge the spectre of the nuclear with Toshiki Okada, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Cathy Blisson and the work of Berlin, the core of the afternoon questions the narrative of protection of a continent. Within different formats, Iranian scholar Shahram Khosravi and artist Arkadi Zaides investigate the relationship between borders and movement, to eventually open a reflection on the interstices where Europe is not simply seen as a place that protects its borders, but a place in which a protection is possible.

13:30-13:45 (Chapel)         Introduction: The Chance to Recover Our Humanity

13:45-14:15 (Chapel)         Fragments of BERLIN’s Zvizdal [Chernobyl – So Far So                     Close]     and a conversation with dramaturg Cathy                         Blisson

14:15-14:45 (Chapel)         SHIELD), a performance by Rodrigo Sobarzo

14:45-15:00    Break

15:00-15:45 (Foyer)         Shahram Khosravi, Before the Border: Visibility and                     Invisiblizing

After a Q&A the audience can choose between an artistic presentation by Arkadi Zaides, including a dialogue with Shahram Khosravi, and a workshop given by Rodrigo Sobarzo.

15:45-17:15 (Foyer)            TALOS in progress  #1 Movement & Limitation
By Arkadi Zaides in collaboration with Frédérique Vansteenwegen, Nienke Scholts, Claire Bisson, Simge Gücük, Culture Crew and Key Performance. The                         presentation is followed by a conversation between Arkadi Zaides and Shahram Khosravi.

15:45-17:15 (Chapel)         SHIELD)S, a workshop by Rodrigo Sobarzo

13.05: Débat “Le spectacle de la justice pénale en Belgique”

DEBAT LE 13 mai 2016 au Théâtre National (Bruxelles), à l’issue du spectacle Tribuna(a)l

Existe-t-il une justice ce classe? Qui détermine ce qui est juste? Peut-on à la fois être délinquant et victime du système judiciaire? Quels seraient les grands défis du futur?

Intervenants : Manuella Cadelli, juge au tribunal de première instance de Namur et présidente de l’Association syndicale des magistrats, François Troukens, ancien détenu et présentateur à RTL-TVI, Alexis Deswaef, avocat au barreau de Bruxelles et président de la Ligue des Droits de l’homme et Jos Verbist, metteur en scène du spectacle, interviendront dans ce débat.

Modératrice : Christine Guillain, professeur en droit pénal à l’Université Saint-Louis

Org.: Ligue des Droits de l’homme, THEA Joint Research Group & GREPEC (Groupe de Recherche en matière pénale et criminelle, USL)