The Az - Azulejo Research Network (Rede de Investigação em Azulejo) is a research group of ARTIS - Instituto de História da Arte da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa.
It aims to study the manufacture and/or use of azulejos in Portugal, from the first known examples, dating from the 15th century, to the present day.
The group’s main goal is to become a reference in the field of azulejo, both in Portugal and abroad, in terms of research, inventory and documentation, but also in providing the scientific community with all of this information, structured and validated according to scientific standards.
In keeping with the concept of network interaction, the Az seeks to promote studies on azulejo in conjunction with other research units, both in Portugal and internationally, in partnership with institutions responsible for safeguarding the national tile heritage, such as museums, municipal councils, churches, etc. (see Partners).
Following the work carried out by Santos Simões and other researchers, the Az aims to develop research on the manufacture and use of azulejos, both from a general and a more specific research standpoint. It explores new technologies available today, capable of systematically organising and cross-referencing data, and ultimately of generating new knowledge.
Bringing the azulejo into the digital age also means unveiling a unique heritage, making it available to the global scientific community through an online information platform, the Az infinitum - Azulejo Reference and Indexing System, developed in partnership with the National Museum of Azulejo and Sistemas do Futuro, and acting as the research group’s anchor project.
Accordingly, the Az promotes the use of controlled vocabulary and the development of related projects (see Research Projects), having published in 2014 the Azulejo in situ Inventory Guide.
The research group organises the monthly seminar AzLab (in collaboration with the National Museum of Azulejo), exploring new analytical perspectives on various issues related to azulejos, including research, inventory, collecting, safeguarding, artistic creation and dissemination.
Developed by Sistemas do Futuro