Over the last decade we have been observing a new trend in the humanities towards the systematic use of empirical methods. The first three Art + Science Conferences on Empirical Methods in Art History and Visual Studies in 2015, 2016 and 2017 proved that Art History and the Visual Studies are no exception to this international trend.Methods for example traditionally stemming from Psychology and Neurology or the Social and Computational Sciences are gradually implemented in art research not only to question premises of classical approaches but to tap new perspectives on our field. The incorporation of these methods also allows transcending encrusted disciplinary boundaries and fosters interdisciplinary dialogue as well as interdisciplinary connectivity.
Despite the uncontested benefit of interdisciplinary research when accessing new methodological ground, the crucial necessity to at least partly re-embed one owns work in the ancestral field remains: a goal that can only be reached, if the art sciences find common ground not only with regard to theoretical but also with respect to methodological issues within their own field. The aim of the Art + Science Conference series is to give new approaches in the art sciences a platform and to support exchange among scholars concerned with empirical approaches to art research.