BFH Centre for Arts in Context
The BFH Centre for Arts in Context develops solutions for the practical use of the arts in culture, society, public administration and business – from creation and interpretation through to dissemination and preservation.
Knowledge of Materials in Context
Art and cultural assets are composed of a wide variety of materials. Interdisciplinary teams research these materials with a focus on semantics, ephemerality and conservation. The researchers come from the fields of preservation and restoration, chemistry, physics, and art and cultural history.
Visual Design in Context
From billboards about healthy nutrition to the user keypad of an automatic ticket machine, designed information, visualized correlations and user-friendly interfaces accompany us throughout our day-to-day lives. The BFH centre offers comprehensive research and development services covering the entire service portfolio of communication design.
Musical Instruments and Interpretation Practice in Context
This area of specialization is focused on the history and use of musical instruments. It offers everything from lending and the reproduction of historical musical instruments, and the development of new instruments and interfaces, to appraisals, consulting, coaching and launch events, critical editions and the research of historical music theory, performance practice and music education.
Science & Arts in Context
The focus is on social issues, which are addressed in an artistic and research-based manner, topics about artistic creation in itself, and above all the ways and means of process analysis and methods of knowledge acquisition. Working on artistic and scientific projects requires an expansive outlook, the ability to reflect deeply, and critical skills, as well as practical artistic competences such as writing, acting, speaking and communicating. Since development and work processes in the arts always serve as models as well, they can also be applied to other social, economic and political contexts.
The following reference projects give an idea of the scope of the areas covered and the services provided by the BFH Centre for Arts in Context:
Knowledge of Materials in Context
The research team tested the cushioning capacity of a representative selection of packing solutions for the transportation of fragile paintings. The results of the CTI-funded project revealed a high degree of optimization potential: Instead of reducing vibrations, many of the packing methods actually increased them. The reason for this are resonances that can be created through the combined system of packing material, the painting itself and the protective back of the painting.
The feasibility study shows that based on a virtual 3D model, two applications important for historical preservation can be developed: A documentation software that allows sample points and their evaluation to be located in the model, as well as an application that enables inaccessible areas to be virtually experienced for scientific and museum use – and can also convey various historically reconstructed conditions using a timeline as the fourth dimension.
Visual Design in Context
The SBB is expanding its railway stations and redesigning them in such a way that the growing number of passengers will be able to find their destination safely and rapidly in the future as well. The conceptualization, planning and simulation of pedestrian flows (customer flows, movement patterns, etc.) are increasing steadily in importance, and the project opens up new approaches for them. Different aspects of pedestrian flows will be examined thoroughly and presented in a new way based on a comprehensive collection of images. The prototypes of the new presentations developed from this research will form the basis for a catalogue of recommendations and a practical manual to be submitted to the SBB.
INSEL A & E department
Conflicts can arise in the waiting areas of A & E departments due, for example, to worried relatives or inebriated patients. The Bern University A & E department wants to address this issue with well-designed waiting management and a pleasant waiting area. Using the “Waiting Times” project as a basis, the researchers will create a concept for improved waiting zones in adult A & E departments. The visual design of the waiting experience will be improved with the motto “natural design”. The goals include increasing the well-being of patients, employee safety and data protection.
Historical Musical Instruments and Interpretation Practice in Context
Contrabass Clarinet Extended
The poor sound and technical quality of the industry-standard contrabass clarinet will be improved under a radically new premise: The traditional mechanism will be replaced by sensory-dynamic buttons and motorized keys. This will ensure that no compromises are needed when positioning the tone holes. As a result, sound and intonation will be significantly improved, and new audiovisual interfaces for composers as well as players will be created. The goal is to produce a market-ready, newly designed instrument with its own character.
In order to gain an understanding of the models of the time and the corresponding music and then be able to create reproductions, historically informed performance practice needs the opportunity to play original instruments. However, wind instruments made from wood can be damaged by even the briefest amount of playing. To this end, a small, representative selection of wooden wind instruments from the enormous wealth of the Burri Collection in Bern will be restored and researched. They will be available in the future for test playing and projects.
Science & Arts in Context
Development of a set of devices
Within the context of an interdisciplinary collaboration with Ortho-Team, a company specializing in orthopaedic technology, researchers from the fields of art and healthcare are to develop a balance therapy. The research will focus on the feasibility of a mobile set of devices that would provide effective balance training for patients at risk of falling and/or with a history of falls (older patients, patients recovering from an accident). The study will include the development of a prototype and test its usability and relevance for dynamic balance training.
The growing need for people to have more contact with animals while, at the same time, there are animals disappearing from (urban) spaces highlights an ambivalence that characterizes contemporary societies. The project will research the role of zoos in this ambivalent situation. The background of the research is formed by the observation that, for some years now, zoos have been increasingly focused on not only the representation of species but also on their protection and conservation. These issues will be investigated using an interdisciplinary combination of artistic installation media and social-scientific methods.
Whether involved as a support for change processes, in the design of interfaces, in communicating art and culture, or in its restoration and preservation, the arts play a key role in finding solutions for social challenges. Issues, methods and research results in the field of the arts create innovation potential in the culture industry, the healthcare sector, public services, and business. By investigating the entire production and value chain of the arts, the researchers at the BFH Centre for Arts in Context offer well-founded expertise, vast research experience and valuable synergies.
The BFH Centre for Arts in Context works together with museums, government agencies, hospitals, schools, art insurers, transport companies, instrument makers and other SMEs and large companies.
The BFH Centre Arts-co is open at all times to embark upon new projects and ventures with further partners. Please contact the Centre at:
Research and development
The BFH Centre for Arts in Context unites transdisciplinary expertise from various art forms under one roof. Working methods and issues from the arts and cultural sector are also relevant and potentially profitable for business, health and the general public – and this is the transfer that Arts in Context carries out.
Services and consulting
- The staff at the BFH Centre for Arts in Context provide a wide range of services, including:
- Analysis, consulting, evaluation
- Concept development and implementation, project management
- Moderation and organization of workshops and events
Degrees and further education courses
The research results from the BFH Centre for Arts in Context are incorporated into the curriculum of the master degree programme as well as into the further education courses.
Master degree courses