Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)

Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)

Valais School of Art (EDHEA)

January 4, 2024
Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)
Call for applications
Online information session: January 30, 7pm
Application deadline: March 25
Selection interviews: May 7–8
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.

As part of EDHEA—the Valais School of Arts, MAPS is located in the town of Sierre / Valais. Surrounded by an alpine 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 France and thus offers access to a broad view on cultural practices. From here we operate, providing the basic infrastructure and spanning a network with national and international institutions as well as independent art spaces or initiatives with which MAPS has built a sustainable network.

Collaboration with residency programs such as Villa Ruffieux (Sierre) or La Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz) enables a fluid transition between the program and subsequent artistic careers. The sustainability of the program also relies on the regular contributions of alumni, whom MAPS supports as artists, cultural agents and co-researchers. MAPS-students have been contributing to many exhibitions such as the Venice Biennial or the Berlin Biennial, as well as to independent projects and artist initiatives and founded publishing houses.

MAPS foregrounds traveling and displacing as part of its practice-led approach to artistic research and 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. Since sound and listening practices are a key focus at EDHEA (which also offers a BA program in fine Arts specialized in sound) the MAPS students can also exchange with the respective BA teachers and benefit from the specific high-quality infrastructure.

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 plurinational context, collective exchange usually takes place in English. However, navigating in between linguistic spaces has become a common practice.

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.

Applications and requirements
Admission is competitive. Qualifications required: arts or applied arts school diploma, university degree in a related field or equivalent training or experience. Application deadline: March 25, 2024 / Selection interviews: May 7-8, 2024 / Online information session: January 30, 2024, 7pm (Zoom). All information on the EDHEA website

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: (2) Seminar with Robert Ireland and MAPS1 students, 2023. (3) Master Symposium A FOODCULTURE DAY, Théâtre Les Halles, Sierre, 2022. Curated by: Simon Würsten Marin. Guests: Nyamnyam, Kenza Benabderrazik, Philipp Kolmann and Suzanne Bernhardt, Jonas Van. (4) School start at FurkArt, 2023. (5) Queer Performance Festival in relation with a transdisciplinary research of the EDHEA and HES-SO, 2023. (6) Study Trip in Marseille with MAPS1 Students. 

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Valais School of Art (EDHEA)
January 4, 2024

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