Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)

Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)

Valais School of Art (EDHEA)

February 24, 2022
Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)
Application deadline: April 8
Selection interviews: May 5–6
Valais School of Art (EDHEA)
Route de la Bonne-Eau 16
3960 Sierre Valais/Wallis

T +41 58 606 95 11
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MAPS—Master of Arts in Public Spheres—is geared to artists, who wish to explore the relationship between art and environmental, political, cultural, and media-related dimensions of the public sphere. The multi-sited two-year program is part of the HES-SO University of Applied Arts and Sciences and foregrounds travelling and displacing as part of its experimental approach to artistic research.

The program is composed of eight stations per year, each consisting of seven to ten days, in which the student’s work becomes a starting point for continuous reflections and artistic exchange. These fluid node points with their various forms of (un-)learning, include research activities, seminars and workshops, screenings, performances, exhibition making, collective and face to face discussions. Stations conceived by visiting lecturers, students and tutors foster highly concentrated and convivial moments during which the participants interrogate the public spheres. They intervene by investigating environmentally and socially engaged art practices, considering writing and publishing as an artistic practice, and adopting alternative approaches to pedagogy.

In between the stations, the artists continue their research individually or within self-organized Study Groups, a process that is supported by tutors. Due to the program’s pluri-national context, collective exchange usually take place in English. However, navigating in-between linguistic spaces has become a common practice.

As part of EDHEA - the Valais School of Arts, MAPS is located in the alpine town of Sierre / Valais. Surrounded by an idyllic landscape, the valley is also witness to (post-)industrial development and has become an international laboratory for studying the effects of climate change. Situated at the crossroads between several language borders, Sierre is well connected to various regions of Switzerland as well as to Italy and thus offers access to a broad view on cultural practices. From here we operate and provide fundamental infrastructure.

Some of the stations take place in Valais, and others outside the canton and in exchange with national and international institutions as well as independent art spaces or initiatives with which MAPS has established a sustainable network. Recent partners and hosts include, among others, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (IT), the Vilnius Academy of the Arts and the Nida Art Colony (LT), TRAIN – Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation of Chelsea College of the Arts London (UK), the Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella (IT), Walking Encounters in Psarades (Florina School of the Arts, Greece), the far° Festival in Nyon, the Arsenic (Centre d’art scénique contemporain) in Lausanne, CAN - Centre d’art Neuchâtel and VOLUMES – Independent Art Publishing Fair, Zurich.

Current research questions investigated by the faculty include art and labour, politics of attention, environmental crises, speculative narratives, transformation through repetition, critical site-specificities as well as feminist, post and decolonial art histories.

Collaborations with art residency programs such as the Villa Ruffieux (Sierre) or La Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz), offer a fluid transition between the program and the ensuing artistic career. The program’s sustainability is also founded on the regular contributions of alumni whom MAPS support as artists, cultural agents and co-researchers.

Finally, MAPS students can also exchange with the teachers of the Bachelor in Sound and benefit from the high-quality infrastructure specific to this orientation, which is unique in Western Switzerland.

Admission is competitive. Qualifications required: arts or applied arts school diploma, university degree in a related field or equivalent training or experience.

Application deadline: April 8, 2022
Selection interviews: May 5-6, 2022 (on site or online)

Wyss Foundation scholarship
The Wyss Foundation scholarship is a fellowship for international emerging artists from Latin American, Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. It is awarded to selected MAPS students by the Hansjoerg Wyss Foundation. Eligible candidates who wish to apply additionally enclose the Wyss Fellowship form (EDHEA website) to their MAPS application.

EDHEA—The Valais School of Art also offers a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Sound Arts, a vocational training in graphic design and a foundation course in Art & Design.

*Images above: (1) MAPS study trip to the Grande Dixence dam, 2020. (4) Workshop curated by Madeleine Amsler with Sarina Scheidegger and Steven Schoch. (5) MAPS study trip to the Rhône Glacier, 2021. 

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Valais School of Art (EDHEA)
February 24, 2022

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