AAA's research activities help to define AAA’s overall framework and act as a catalyst in instigating dialogue and critical thinking around the material in the archive. Through thematic archiving projects and research grants, AAA’s research team works closely with the library to identify areas of priority and oversee the development of the collection while residencies, workshops and symposia serve to bring new readings to the Archive, continually shaping and redefining the idea of the 'archive’ itself.

AAA’s Research team is made up of Archive staff in Hong Kong with research posts throughout the region. The team drives the Archive's collection development through a variety of research activities ranging from the documentation of key events and exhibitions and identification of rare materials to the production of in-depth interviews and the initiation of specific research projects. In 2002, AAA established its first research post in Hong Kong, and has since set up research posts in 11 Asian cities including Taipei (since 2002), Beijing (since 2003), Bangkok (since 2005), Seoul (since 2005), Tokyo (since 2005), Singapore (2005-2006), Yokohama (2007-2008), Manila (since 2007), New Delhi (2007), Mumbai (2008), and Lahore (2007-2009).

AAA recognises the impossibility in documenting the entire history of contemporary art from Asia and has no desire to do so. It therefore identifies and develops particular strengths within its collection and programmes while collaborating with a growing network of institutions and individuals to share information, work on new research areas, and build knowledge networks.