MISSION, OBJECTIVES AND HISTORY
Hexagram is an interdisciplinary network dedicated to research-creation addressing the relationships between arts, cultures and technologies. It comprises around forty co-researchers, about fifty collaborators, and a little over 200 students from various artistic disciplines related, in particular, to living arts, visual arts, design, and media arts, while also touching disciplines in the social sciences and humanities or natural sciences and engineering.
- It promotes collaborative work and the sharing of facilities by federating human and material resources mainly from Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University, but also those of Université de Montréal, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Université Laval, and McGill University.
- It supports the development of experimental or critical research-creation projects by offering residency programs and national and international mobility grants.
- It helps explicate and disseminate the various methodological approaches and theoretical foundations of research-creation through the publication of books, radio broadcasts, and videographic material accessible online.
- It organizes artistic and scientific events such as symposia, conferences, exhibitions, concerts, shows, and other creative forms in public space.
- It creates opportunities for knowledge-sharing between experts from different creative disciplines and various fields of research by facilitating collaboration between members in interdisciplinary activities.
- It encourages knowledge-sharing and exposure for emerging artist by developing partnerships with educational institutions, artistic organizations, and cultural businesses located in Quebec, Canada, and abroad.
2020-2027 PROGRAMMING OBJECTIVES
1. To support and explicate research-creation practices at the intersection of the arts, culture, and technology
Research-creation being an as-yet emerging field in academia, Hexagram must maintain and foster conditions conducive to the development of creative and innovative productions based on issues that can generate new knowledge. Hexagram facilitates access to the spaces, equipment, and technical expertise that accompany both the conception and production phases of creative work and its dissemination. Hexagram offers its members a place for methodological and theoretical exchanges by generating opportunities for situating the issues, explicating methods, and setting out results. Hexagram provides student members many opportunities to familiarize themselves with the workings of research-creation and to put it into practice alongside their more experienced peers.
2. Establish and strengthen links between artistic and scientific disciplines through research-creation
Research-creation crosses several academic disciplines that are connected to various departments, faculties, and universities. It is still little known and recognized by other fields of research in the social sciences and humanities or in natural sciences and engineering. Hexagram helps to counteract the effects of compartmentalization, not only between so-called artistic disciplines, but also among other academic research settings. It addresses the methodological and epistemological foundations of research-creation, transversally between artistic disciplines, while articulating them with common issues regarding other forms of knowledge. Its “network” form encourages it to build bridges with other strategic groupings or research communities conducive to the integration of research-creation issues.
3. Promote and share research-creation expertise with spheres of professional practice and cultural organizations.
This objective lies at the heart of the mission of a strategic network that aims to maintain lasting spaces of exchange between the academic research community and society, on the part of both professional practitioners and cultural organizations addressing various types of audiences. It is not just a matter of sharing explicit knowledge and specific know-how, but of also building and sharing common imaginations that can only be transmitted through performed, material, and situational aesthetic experiences. The wished-for collaborations target the organization of conferences and roundtables, but also of demonstrable experimentation in the form of tangible prototypes, of shows, concerts, exhibitions, films, or other forms of sensory experience. It also a question of creating various channels for research-creation transmission in a variety of contexts of industrial application and cultural dissemination.
In 2001, Hexagram Institute, a non-profit organization, received significant support from Valorisation-Recherche-Québec (VRQ) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This investment allowed for the creation of a research technology infrastructure and a platform for new media arts at Concordia and UQAM, in partnership with l’Université de Montréal.
This research platform served as a basis for the creation of the Hexagram Institute, providing a unique gathering point for research-creation in Montreal and the rest of Canada. Prior to its formation, university arts faculties in Montreal enjoyed an enviable reputation both nationally and internationally, but researchers and independent artists tended to work in isolation.
Hexagram became a crucial link in tying together the work of many of Quebec’s researcher-creators. Since its inception, numerous enduring partnerships have been made possible, not only in the university context, but also with industry, non-profit organizations, independent artists and cultural producers.
The Hexagram Institute ended in 2008 when the VRQ funds were depleted, leading to the formation of two new organizations: CINQ (Consortium en innovation numérique du Québec), an independent body supporting collaborations between universities and the commercial media industries, and two university-based research platforms (Hexagram-Concordia and Hexagram-UQAM).
Hexagram’s most recent development since its inception in 2001 is the partnership/consolidation with the former CIAM — Le Centre interuniversitaire des arts médiatiques (2001–2010, funded also by the FRQSC) which was also bringing together researchers from Uqam, Concordia and Université de Montréal. Hexagram and CIAM were supporting the same researchers, with Hexagram focusing on the transfer of technology and direct support for research-creation, while CIAM fulfilled its mission of training and support for students, transfer of knowledge, and dissemination of research. In addition, Hexagram and CIAM successfully united French and English Montreal University cultures.
In 2008, FRQSC evaluators recommended the merger of Hexagram-Concordia, Hexagram-UQAM and CIAM under the banner of HexagramCIAM. The mission was to establish a unique international network for research-creation in media arts, design and technology, specialized in research, training and dissemination. In Spring 2011, Hexagram | CIAM was born and funded (2011–14 FRQSC)
Now, in its state as a mature network, the organization is known as Hexagram.