T: +43 1 71155-4380

Ungargasse 22/1/16, 1030 Wien

email: zembylas@mdw.ac.at


Professional Education

2003 Post Doctoral Thesis / Habilitation

1997 PhD in Philosophy

1995 Master in Philosophy

1991-1997 University of Vienna. Studies in Philosophy, Sociology, and History of Art


Academic Career

2010-2021 Member of the Institute for Music Sociology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

2009 Visiting Professor for Culture Institutions Studies at the Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany

since 2003 Associate Professor for Culture Institutions Studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

1999-2003 Assistant Professor at the Institute for Culture Management and Culture Studies (IKM), University of Music, and Performing Arts, Vienna.

1997-1999 Lecturer for aesthetics and sociology of arts at the University of Vienna, and at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

1997-1999 Free-lance researcher. Research projects on artistic education, working conditions and unemployment of cultural workers.
Projects in cooperation with several institutions such as “Industriewissenschaftliches Institut” at the University of Economics, “Österreichisches Institut für Berufsbildungsforschung” (ÖIBF), “Arbeitsmarkt-Service” (AMS)


Academic Networks

2012-2020 Board Member of Mediacult – International Research Institute for Media, Communication and Cultural Development

since 2008 Member of Research Network Implicit Knowledge (FORIM)

2008-2013 Board Member of the Association of Culture Management Germany

2004-2016 Board Member and from 2011 to 2013 chair of the Research Network Sociology of Art – European Sociology Association

2000-2007 Board Member of the Austrian Society for Cultural Economics and Policy Studies

Research Specialisations

  • Epistemology of artistic practice
  • Sociological Theories of cultural sector
  • Public funding of the arts
  • Public art conflicts

Research Projects

2013-2015 Project: Tacit Knowing in Musical Composition Process. The project examines the musical composition working process with regard to the role played by practical artistic knowledge, specifically in art music. The goal is to identify and analyse the cognitive as well as bodily anchored knowledge components with which composers cope with various artistic, technical, organisational and emotional challenges. The research approach is qualitatively empirical; the questions are generated based on the theory of tacit knowing. The data collection concentrates on documenting composing practices in actu aiming at a comprehensive analysis, i.e. from the first idea to the last revision.


2011 Project: Evaluation of the public arts funding policy of the city of Graz (together with Juliane Alton, commissioned by the City Council). The evaluation investigates the actual effects of the public subsidies for the arts (ca. 46 Mio. Euro per year), identifies and analyses problematic developments in the cultural sector and elaborates concrete proposals to support cultural diversity and artistic innovation in a sustainable way. The evaluation report has been accepted by the majority of the members of the municipal council and is published in internet.


2008 Project: Being Good, Getting Better: Arts funding as a normative and administrative challenge (together with Meena Lang)
This project comprised a comparative analysis of the legal framework of public arts funding at provincial level – Austria is a federal state consisting of nine federal provinces – and included reports by representatives of the lobby association, the “Interest group of independent and alternative culture”, about actual steps taken by cultural administration bodies in each province. The final report covered 16 thematic issues followed by recommendations, and was not published immediately but presented at various closed meetings with high-level representatives of provincial authorities. A few weeks ago, that is to say, almost nine months after the end of this research project, the report was published on the internet too.


2006-2008 Project: Literary writing as a discrete process (together with Claudia Dürr)
The research project focused on the process of literary writing. This includes various experiences and cognitive aspects that, in the long term, lead to the development of literary competence. These experiences and cognitive aspects are sometimes discrete and implicit, that is to say, not fully conscious or articulated, and they occur simultaneously with distinct conceptualisations of text production. Our main research interest was on the discrete aspects of the writing process, i.e. those components that are not manifest, obvious or directly observable. Here we recognised a practical “knowing how” that cannot be described as application of formulas or explicit rules.
The research project generated several insights on the epistemic complexity of the creative process and on the difficulties involved in transferring literary competence.


2005 Project: “Good Governance” in Public Arts Administration. An empirical investigation
During the last years there is an ongoing public discussion in Austria on the formal quality of the funding process. “Quality” in public administration processes indicates a normative concept which is partly explicitly formulated through legal stipulations and jurisdiction. Theoretical considerations on the concept of procedural standards is complemented by an empirical survey (96 standardised interviews) on arts subsidisation processes by Austrian federal government bodies. The empirical results of the survey lead to practical insights regarding problem areas in current funding practice in Austria.


2005 Project: Employment of young cultural managers
Cultural management is a profession that has not yet been institutionalised. There are no unions, professional associations, and not even legal regulations referring explicitly to cultural managers. The aim of this empirical project, which is being carried out in our institute (IKM – see http://www.mdw.ac.at/ikm) and offers since 1975 profe­ssional education in cultural management, is to investigate the fields of activities, the steps of professional career, the soft qualifications, and the income level of the graduates of our institute since 1989.


2003 Project: Culture Institution Studies
The new scientific focus called “Culture Institutions Studies” (a translation of the German term “Kulturbetriebslehre”) aims at synthesizing a cultural studies and an economic approach to cultural goods and services. It investigates therefore the social organization of the production, distribution, reception and conservation of cultural goods. The focus is on the epistemological significance of cultural practices that often remain tacit and invisible.


2001 Project: Public Art Conflicts and Social Analysis
The study investigates two types of public art conflicts: (1) conflicts that, at first glance, revolve around the interpretation and the aesthetic appreciation of an artwork; and (2) conflicts that explicitly call into question the legal legitimacy of publication of an artwork. This investigation aims to reveal the variety of contents and conditions which pre-structure public conflicts. Further, it opens a normative discussion of the current forms of dealing with such conflicts in the mass media and in the jurisdiction. Such a critical discussion is necessary, since the political quality of a society can be assessed on how it relates to its own conflicting nature.


2001 Project: Reconsiderations on the concept of art, and cultural work
The constantly ongoing conceptual modification of the concept of art correlates to the diversification of professional activities of the artists, and their role within the contemporary society. This project that had been developed in cooperation with “Forschungsgesellschaft für kulturpolitische und kulturökonomische Studien“ (Austrian Society for Cultural Economics, and Policy Studies – FOKUS) aimed to investigate the theoretical frameworks of the leading concepts, and classification of cultural policy, and state subsidies of the arts. A part of this project was the organisation of an international conference “de-fine arts” in Vienna 28th of Feb. – 2th of March 2002 (see http://www.t0.or.at/~fokus)


1999 Expert’s Report on a new academic course of study „Comparative Cultural Studies“ applied by the University of Klagenfurt. Survey on the curriculum’s concept, and the labour market for the graduates. Commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Culture.


1998 Conception and preparation of a project on the evaluation of the new curricula of the Austrian Universities of Visual Arts. Collaboration with the Österreichisches Institut für Berufsbildungsforschung.


1998 Research collaboration on a survey about the employability of young academics. Commissioned by Austrian Employment Service (AMS) and Interdisziplinäres Forschungszentrum für Wirtschafts-, Arbeitsmarkt und Sozialpolitik (W.A.S.) Interdisciplinary Centre of Research for Economics, Job Market and Social Politics (?)


1997 Director of a survey on professional fields and the professional situation of the graduates of the Austrian Universities of Music and Performing Arts. (Commissioned by Austrian Employment Service.)


1997 Director of a survey on professional fields in visual arts and on the professional situation of the graduates of the Austrian Art-Universities. (Commissioned by Austian Employment Service.)


1995 Academic research study on the forms of presentation, and conveying understanding of contemporary arts in exhibitional institutions
(supported by the International Centre for Cultural Studies, Vienna).

Published Books


Composing Processes and Artistic Agency: Tacit Knowledge in Composing
(Zembylas, Tasos und Niederauer, Martin)
London: Routledge, 2018 (158 Seiten)


Contents and Abstract.pdf

Praktiken des Komponierens: Soziologische, wissenstheoretische und musikwissenschaftliche Perspektiven
(Zembylas, Tasos und Niederauer, Martin)
Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2016 (192 Seiten)


Die Mönchsrepublik Athos. Eine spirituelle Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
Wien: Passagen Verlag, 2010 (112 Seiten)



Wissen, Können und literarisches Schreiben Eine Epistemologie der künstlerischen Praxis
(Zembylas, Tasos und Dürr, Claudia)
Passagen Verlag, 2009 (165 Seiten)


Kulturbetriebslehre. Grundlagen einer Inter-Disziplin
Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2004 (373 Seiten)


Das Subjekt in der Malerei. Anatomie eines sterbenden Mythos
Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2000 (288 Seiten)


Kunst oder Nichtkunst. Über die Bedingungen und Instanzen ästhetischer Beurteilung
Wien: WUV-Universitätsverlag, 1997 (259 Seiten)



Edited Anthologies

Knowing in Performing. Artistic Research in Music and the Performing Arts.
Bielefeld, Transcript, 2020 (224 Seiten)

e-book, open source

Artistic Practices. Social Interactions and Cultural Dynamics
London: Routledge, 2014 (206 Seiten)


Die Kunst des Möglichen – Management mit Kunst
Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2013 (428 Seiten)
(hg. im Auftrag des Fachverbandes für Kulturmanagement)


Zukunft Publikum
Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2012 (428 Seiten)
(hg. im Auftrag des Fachverbandes für Kulturmanagement)


Kurt Blaukopf on Music Sociology – An Anthology
Frankfurt am Main u.a.: Peter Lang Verlag, 2012 (151 Seiten)


Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik
Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2011 (402 Seiten)
(hg. im Auftrag des Fachverbandes für Kulturmanagement)


Theorien für den Kultursektor
Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2010 (369 Seiten)
(hg. im Auftrag des Fachverbandes für Kulturmanagement)


Arts Management: A Sociological Inquiry
Special Issue of The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society
Vol. 40, Nr. 1, 2010 (91 Seiten)
Guest Editor zusammen mit Volker Kirchberg


Forschen im Kulturmanagement
Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2009 (264 Seiten)
(hg. im Auftrag des Fachverbandes für Kulturmanagement)


Kulturbetriebsforschung: Ansätze und Perspektiven der Kulturbetriebslehre
Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2006 (185 Seiten)


Der Staat als kulturfördernde Instanz.
Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2005 (176 Seiten)


Kunst und Politik – Aspekte einer Problematik
Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2000 (128 Seiten)