Communicating Academic Knowledge Beyond the Written Academic Text: An Auto-Ethnographic Analysis of the Mirror Palace of Democracy Installation Experiment

Nico Carpentier


The article first discusses five approaches that aim to transcend, complement, or overturn the hegemony of the written academic text. These five approaches are (1) the cluster of science communication, science popularization, and knowledge dissemination; (2) the cluster of knowledge exchange, and participatory, transformative, and interventionist (action) research; (3) multimodal academic communication; (4) the cluster of visual anthropology and visual sociology; and (5) arts-based research. As each approach deals with (overcoming) the hegemony of the written academic text differently, the first part of the article details these approaches. In the second part, the Mirror Palace of Democracy installation experiment, which had the explicit objective of moving beyond the written academic text while still remaining in the realm of academic knowledge communication, is autoethnographically analyzed. The experiment allowed reflection on the integrated and iterative nature of academic communication, on the hybrid academic–artistic identity, and on the diversification of publics. Both the theoretical discussion on the five approaches and the Mirror Palace of Democracy installation are part of a call for more experimentation with, and theorization of, multimodal and/or arts-based academic communication.


academic communication, multimodal scholarship, arts-based research, installation art, democracy, representation, participation, contingency

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