Research at Kyushu University

Research Projects and Initiatives

Recent Studies at Faculty of Design

Social Art Lab: Shaping the Intellect and Visualizing Richness

What is the Social Art Lab?
 The Social Art Lab was founded in the Graduate School of Design on April 1st 2015. Social Art, often referred to as Socially Engaged Art, is here defined as art practice that confronts issues in society and creates new relationships between people. The Lab engages in research, education, practice, and advocacy, aiming to find new directions for the potential of art in society today.

■Founding Principles

 Art in the modern era had developed for its own sake, perhaps in order to escape from religious restraints, break free from the social norms of traditional communities, and establish a distance from politics and rapidly emerging commercialism. Art was thought of as an expression of an artist’s inner world and believed to be autonomous. However, today, it is increasingly becoming a form of mediation to reconnect our inner and outer worlds as well as reconstruct diverse relationships between people. The reason for this is because we have so many problems which presuppose the separation of reason and emotion and of public and private, that cannot be solved by modern science and politics.
 Therefore, by promoting democratic interaction between diverse groups, the Social Art Lab aims to propose designs for our future society. Here, “art” is not limited to the fine arts, but is used in a broader sense. Art practice is emphasized, while the representational effects of art are not underestimated. This interdisciplinary lab emphasizes art practice, utilizing approaches art from the perspective of environmental design, technology, and management.

Solving Problems with an Interdisciplinary Approach


 Through joint interdisciplinary work, we will engage in research, education, practice, and advocacy for social art practice which deal with issues in society that are difficult to solve with science and reason only. The Lab aims to carry out its mission in society, being conscious of the dynamics of research, education, practice, and advocacy.

Correspondence between Research and Practice

■Our Activities

☆Arts Management Human Resource Development Project
 With a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ “University-based Culture and Art Promotion Project,” since 2015 we have been carrying out the arts management human resource development project, “Creating New Spaces for Exchange: Constructing Networks for the Development of Arts Management Human Resources in Kyushu and Okinawa.” This project aim is to propose a systematic educational program for arts managers, who can confront regional issues, plan and operate art projects that work with traditional culture and natural resources of local areas, while creatively utilizing regional networks

The 2015 Human Resource Development Program

☆Regional Resources: Discovery and New Methods of Sharing
 The Lab continuously attempts to discover regional cultures and resources in order to present them in new collaborations between art and technology. In 2015, we produced and staged a kagura music performance utilizing sounds from the fermentation process of shochu (distilled sprits) , a speciality of Kyushu.  

View of performance: Contemporary shrine music utilizing the fermentation sounds of shochu: “Kame no otonai” (Sound of Earthen Jars).

☆New Cooperation between Kyushu University and the Media
 Since 2016, the Lab has been conducting a study of “Regional Development and Inter-Regional Exchange through Radio” with LOVE FM International Broadcasting Co., Ltd., a radio station in Fukuoka prefecture. In this joint study, we are engaging in action research to assess and analyze the effects of producing new program sections in conjunction with art projects. (Japanese)

 The Social Art Lab also collaborates with other on-campus departments, other universities, local communities, institutions, and overseas research institutions in various projects. For more information, please visit our website. (Japanese)


Core Members
Akira Omoto, Director (Department of Communication Design Science, Professor, Applied Acoustic Engineering)
Mia Nakamura, Deputy Director (Department of Communication Design Science, Associate Professor, Sociology of Music and Arts)
Kazuo Asahiro (Department of Environmental Design, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture and Conservation)
Mikako Tomotari (Department of Content and Creative Design, Associate Professor, Sculpture)
Yuichiro Nagatsu (Department of Communication Design Science, Assistant Professor, Arts Management)
Hazuki Kosaka, Lead Administrator (Department of Communication Design Science, Research Fellow)

Project Members
Mamoru Fujieda, Director (Department of Communication Design Science, Professor, Music Composition)
Minako Ikeda, Director (Department of Design Strategy, Associate Professor, Contemporary Design, Design Journalism, Information Design)
James Jack, Artist and Postdoctoral Fellow
Haruka Inomata, Arts Manager

Torao Osawa, General (NLI Research Institute, Center for Arts and Culture, Associate Senior Researcher)
Kan Ito, PR (Kyushu University Graduate School of Design, Part-Time Lecturer)

Office Staff
Yumi Sasakura (Technical Staff)
Youmei Ishigami (Technical Staff)


Social Art Lab Office
Tel & Fax: 092-553-4552
E-mail  : sal(★)
Web   :

*Please replace the (★) in the e-mail address with @.