The Professorship in Performative Processes researches creative processes in all the arts that have a performative nature. The goal of this research is to generate acceleration, liberalisation and innovation in creative processes within and outside the arts.


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There is a growing need to tell stories using a variety of disciplines, media and platforms. Arts that are performative in nature, such as theatre, music and performance, have great expertise in precisely this area. The research of the Performative Processes professorship responds to the current situation, where former performative practices are being replaced by new forms, in which the borders between disciplines, media and platforms are no longer a defining factor.

Aim of the professorship

The professorship aims to contribute to the development of new performative practices and processes that are suited to hybrid and multivocal artists. The goal of the research is to generate acceleration, liberalisation and innovation in creative processes within the arts and outside them, through conducting research into performative processes.

Performativity is regarded as action; as something that is done rather than something that is seen. This means that the research places greater emphasis on creative and design processes than on artistic products and reception. We view performativity as a dynamic dialogic process, in which spectator, context and technology are regarded as co-creators. In an endless movement, meanings and identities appear and disappear.

The professorship’s focus on creative processes links up well with the current discourse in the creative industry, in which process innovation – the creation of experiences and the design of behaviour – is gaining increasing importance.

Within the ‘research into the arts’ debate, too, there is a growing interest in creative processes. Artists no longer create their art product in isolation, but are compilers of ‘situations’; the artwork is never finished, but is an ‘ongoing project’, and spectators are increasingly taking on the role of ‘participant’ or ‘user’.

In HKU’s vision, the focus on creative processes means a reinforcement of technological innovation, interdisciplinarity and entrepreneurship.

Research programme

The professorship conducts research along three lines of research:

  • Mixed Reality
  • New Narratives 
  • Co-creation

These lines of research are derived directly from questions posed by the professional field. These questions are about dealing with new virtual realities in direct relation to a live physical experience, about transmedia narrative and about the process of co-creation that faces nearly every performative artist today.

Partners from the professional field with which the professorship works or has worked include: multimedia collective PIPS, lab, film and documentary maker Maartje Nevejan, Stichting Operamakers and the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (WKZ).

Research environment

The Performative Processes professorship focuses on the development and further development of ‘environments’. A research environment is a mentality in which students and lecturers are continually encouraged to link their creative and didactic practice with research and theory. It is a climate in which education, the professional field and the outside world can continually experiment and reflect, and where one line of research can inspire another, creating the opportunity for culmination and circulation of knowledge.

In order to develop such a climate, it is also necessary to have a physical research environment. This idea forms the basis for the professorship’s close collaboration with the former MapLab, founded and developed by Joris Weijdom.

We regard the professorship as a research environment or ‘research house’, in which student projects, research processes, experiments, the advancement of expertise, the development of theories and the application of didactics can all take place at the same time and be interwoven with one another.

Professor Nirav Christophe

Nirav Christophe is a writer, theatre scientist and process supervisor. He is specialized in the pedagogy of playwriting.

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Nirav Christophe (professor)

Henny Dörr (core team)

Joris Weijdom (core team)

Falk Hübner (core team)

Pam de Sterke (core team and coordination)

Debbie Straver (core team and coordination)

Marieke Nooren (core team and coordination)

Kaisu Koski

Marloeke van der Vlugt

Daniela Moosmann

Researchers from HKU Utrechts Conservatorium

Researchers from HKU Theatre

Researchers from HKU Music & Technology

Advisory committee

Marcel Cobussen
Caspar Nieuwenhuis


Nieuwekade 1

Postbus 1520

3500 BM Utrecht

The Netherlands

Tel. +31 (0)30-209 1509