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The ArchiVolt research group comprises both research projects ‘about’ the arts as well as ‘in’ the arts, to allow for interesting cross-fertilization. ArchiVolt is short for research into ‘Archives and Avant-gardes’ and originates from the Theory Department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

ArchiVolt aims to do more than just historical, archival research. Archive activation is a main objective of the group. ArchiVolt wants to be a think tank and a research platform for ideas, projects, presentations and publications around the notion of the archive and/as avant-garde. Not only do archives encourage reflection and discourse, they also stimulate action and creation. They are crucial for both the academic and the artistic practice. They constitute, as it were, a no man's land between the arts and sciences. Ethical and aesthetic elements meet in the archive. What is preserved – and has the potential to become history – and what is not? What happens when artists and historians look at the same archive? Can they find a common ground? Can the artistic approach provide inspiration for new publication and presentation models? And, on the other hand, can an art historical approach inspire and inform artists?


  • mapping the (postwar) avant-garde initiatives and their urban context in Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
  • discover and provide access to (postwar) avant-garde archives in Belgium through research projects, exhibitions, publications and symposia
  • reflection and debate about the role of physical and digital archives in contemporary academic and artistic practice
  • consultancy services to the education sector, the public and the government with regard to archives of artists, writers, art collectives, galleries, periodicals and publishers
  • collaborating with artists who have an interest in archives
  • investigate the role of physical and digital archives in academic and artistic practice together with students of the Master in Visual Arts

Focus: research into ‘Archives and Avant-gardes’.

Chairman: Thomas Crombez -

Research team: Johan Pas, Thomas Crombez, Hans Theys, Nico Dockx, Stephan Peleman, Els Dietvorst, Alexis Gautier, Bence Rohanszky, e.a.