CCC Research-Based Master program

CCC Research-Based Master program

Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)

Research diagram of Committee of Naming/Renaming conceived during the Unmaster Class: Committees of Decolonization with ruangrupa and Nabil Ahmed,  2015. Photo: Eric Philippoz.
January 19, 2016
CCC Research-Based Master program

Application deadline: April 8, 2016
Open doors:
Friday, January 15, 2:30–8pm,
Saturday, January 16, 10am–6pm

HEAD – Genève
Boulevard James-Fazy 15
1201 Geneva

 The CCC Research-Based Master program addresses students interested in developing new vocabularies for articulating the political and social implications of a changing world. Research methodologies, artistic thinking and public display strategies operate today in profoundly shifting geospatial and techno-political constellations. Globalisation, migration, computation and climate are a few of the keywords that point to reordering processes on a planetary scale within contemporary societies.

How can we make our way in the world through a situational understanding of our position within such complexity? Where is the location from which to speak, in-between systems, technologies, generations, time-zones, borders and entangled histories? What happens to “knowledge” in a socio-technological epoch that predominately calculates the unknown into capital growth? If we are “planetary subjects rather than global agents” (Gayatri Spivak), then our histories entangle on the street, through processes of transitional justice or during the work of translation. If the art of the 20th century produced a space to analyse social and political realities, then the art of the 21st century is the space to activate new vocabularies as realities inside of superstructures.

The bilingual (English/French) two-year Master program at HEAD – Geneva School of Art and Design welcomes any candidate that wishes to embark upon an original research project by contemporary means. The program’s trans-disciplinary environment addresses future researchers from any cultural and educational background committed to art-led thinking processes. Founded by Catherine Quéloz and Liliane Schneiter in 2000, the program carries the strong history of critical thinking from the program (critical curatorial cybermedia) Research-Based Master program in the European context of Higher Education. Since September 2015, under the new direction of Doreen Mende, the program aims to further new vocabularies that can participate in debates in art, activism, political movements, social initiatives, situational interventions, institutional infrastructures and mobile curatorial projects.

The curriculum is built around two main educational elements dedicated to the individual and collective discussion of student’s work: Research Practices and Situated Practices. While the seminar Research Practices focuses on critical methodologies, Situated Practices develops project-related forms that translate research into specific public appearances such as presentation, exhibition and publications. Further seminars in Theory Fiction, Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, Political Studies, Curatorial Concerns and the Reading Group are constitutive for students’ research. Students here learn about new concepts, encounter unfamiliar thoughts, test new ideas, and develop working protocols for conceiving their own research method. In 2015/16, the Curriculum is framed by Thinking Under Turbulence, a one-year colloquium that currently is ongoing with public talks and closed work sessions.

Art-led research processes develop and take place through both practice-led theory and theory-active practice. Accordingly, the program addresses issues in critical visual cultural production, while also stretching into fields of geospatial politics, visual economics, science and technology. Research materials from political theory, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, politics of memory, contemporary art, architecture, design, filmmaking, journalism and philosophy are given the same standing as critical resources from field trips, militant investigations, conceptual experimentation, decolonising processes, queer projects and social struggles. Seminars are partly project-based, which means that students develop work for the actual seminar context, and/or through departures from institutional and independent collaborations outside of the art academy. The program provides an environment for the participants to develop their own working methodology over two years, translating their research into a public statement.

Students will graduate with a written MA-thesis between 7,000–14,000 words (English or French) plus a practice-based iteration of the research. The program also supports the development of work towards a PhD project. Furthermore, the participants will learn to situate their work into a salient, formative and enduring cross-section of theories, projects and debates. Beyond graduation, the program activates student to build his/her own research library as a resource for future initiatives. The public appearances of the research-based and art-led work may extend beyond the art institution or the curated exhibition to also engage social and political organisations, self-organised and activist environments, computational platforms and hubs, second lives, non-governmental infrastructures and extra-state agencies.

Faculty: Cécile Boss, Kodwo Eshun, Pierre Hazan, Aymon Kreil, Doreen Mende, Marion von Osten, Denis Pernet, Eric Philippoz, Anne-Julie Raccoursier, Gene Ray, Janis Schroeder.

Guests (2015/16): Nabil Ahmed, Gilad Ben-Nun, Ursula Biemann, Isabelle Benoît, boabooks (Izet Sheshivari), Yann Chateigné Tytelman, Laboria Cuboniks (Helen Hester, Katrina Burch), Laure Giletti & Gregory Dapra, Glass Bead (tbc), Anselm Franke, Aurélien Gamboni, Samia Henni, Yoneda Lemma, Armin Linke, Julia Moritz, Griselda Pollock, Catherine Quéloz, ruangrupa (Farid Rakun), Ilana Salama Ortar, Joshua Simon, Françoise Vergès, Grant Watson, Eyal Weizman, among others.

Doreen Mende, Head of the Program, [email protected]
Janis Schroeder, researcher, [email protected]

Bachelor degree. 600 words research proposal. Short bibliography. Letter of interest. CV with selected works. Contacts of two referees. Fluent in English (understanding and speaking). Thesis can be written in English and/or French. Geneva is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.


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Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)
January 19, 2016

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