Rosanne van Klaveren: Towards Togetherness: Probing as a Decolonizing Approach for Artistic Inquiry

Doctoral Project

Rosanne van Klaveren, PhD in the Arts

In the art-based PhD research Towards Togetherness: Probing as a Decolonizing Approach for Artistic Inquiry, participants were probed for their knowledge and guidance within two projects: the Food Related project and the Niva to Nenets project. Probology, which is an approach that uses probes to encourage subjective engagement, empathetic interpretation and a pervasive sense of uncertainty (Gaver), functioned as the guiding paradigm of this artistic inquiry. Decolonization processes set the stage, while actor network theory (ANT) inspired the practice. The probing was put in place with creative questionnaires, sets of cultural probes, props, Picnic-Quizzes, an online platform, and an interactive road-movie.

The presented findings give possible answers to the question how probing art can establish connections between people(s) to stimulate knowledge sharing. Probology opened up the creation process for participation and enhanced the inclusion of different, sometimes opposing, viewpoints. Shared creativity, commensality, ambiguity and imagination are among the key values of the probing practices. Special attention is given to the role of the artist acting out the probing. This role is multiple in essence, as it includes the initiation, organization, creation, approach, moderation, artistry, presentation, and more. In all its various aspects lies a possibility to decolonize, and to experience a temporarily feeling of togetherness.


  • Prof. dr. Patrick Devlieger (supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Dr. Liesbeth Huybrechts (co-supervisor, U Hasselt)

Research Unit: Inter-Actions

Duration: 2010 - 2018