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Workshop with Prof. Dave Beech and Prof. Mick Wilson at Bard College campus Berlin, students from Art & Politics course, from Bard CCS, and from De Appel Curatorial Programme 2018.
Photo: Workshop with Prof. Dave Beech and Prof. Mick Wilson at Bard College campus Berlin, students from Art & Politics course, from Bard CCS, and from De Appel Curatorial Programme 2018. Photo: Kjell Caminha.

Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics

Bachelor’s level
15 credits (ECTS)


A distance course introducing key political themes and questions in contemporary art practices, theories and institutions. This international distance course, delivered in English, is free to EU nationals. The 2021 course is delivered in partnership with Vector Studio and "George Enescu" National University of the Arts in Iasi, Romania. Contributors include: Mick Wilson, Åsa Sonjasdotter, Catalin Gheorghe, Corina Oprea, Sarah Tuck, Daniel Jewesbury, Vivianna Chechia, Cathryn Klasto, and Kjell Caminha.


There is a long tradition of interaction between questions of politics and questions of art. However, arguably in the current decade this dialogue between art and politics has intensified, leading to a fundamental interrogation: What is at stake now in the different intersections of art and the political? How are the terms ‘politics’ and ‘the political’ articulated within contemporary art? What, if any, is the specific political agency of artistic practice?

These questions have acquired ever greater urgency in the wider political context of ascendant national populisms and racisms; mass displacement and anti-migrant mobilizations; the failure of governance structures to respond effectively to climate change, ecological collapse and pandemic; the illiberal populist appeal to strategies of ‘culture war’; and changing formations of political mobilization from the Arab ‘spring’ to renewed indigenous resistance movements; from Extinction Rebellion to Black Lives Matter; from Rhodes-Must-Fall to #MeToo; from Anonymous to QAnon.

Through taking this course you will have an opportunity to build your own map of the multiple intersections of contemporary art and the political with particular attention to questions of life/death – and various constructions of noso-, bio-, thanato-, necro- and eco-politics.

We will also explore together how the intersections of contemporary art and the political are re-constellated by recent changes in the wider political field and the recalibration of the international relations after the latest waves of globalization. For more information, including the 2020 reading list, go to the Course Public Portfolio.


There are 16 online lectures and seminars and 2 workshop intensives.

The online presentation and seminar sessions are scheduled at 4 pm (Swedish time, CET) on the following days: June [8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, 30]; July [19,20,21]; August [11, 12, 13, 25, 26].

In addition to the weekly presentations and seminars, we also have two workshop intensives, where we work in smaller groups to explore specific topics and issues.

Tuesday–Thursday, June 22-24

Wednesday–Friday, August 18-20

You will require reliable internet access and headphones with mic. Presentations will typically be recorded and posted online for students to access during the course. Participation in the course means that your contributions to discussion in response to the formal presentations may be recorded for this purpose.

The formal presentations can be attended live and also accessed via recordings published online, at whatever time suits your personal timetable needs. However, it is strongly recommended that you attend the ‘live’ online the discussion sessions, as these will not be recorded and offer the best opportunity to interact with the other participants.

Further information

Reading lists will be published 7 April 2021.
Names of invited speakers will be published as these become available on this further information page:

Apply for the course

1. Apply for the course on
Application period: February 19 - March 15 2021

2. Submit your work sample through SlideRoom:
Period to submit portfolio: February 19 - March 22

More information about HDK-Valand - Academy of Art and Design here.

Prerequisites and selection


General entrance requirements

Special instructions for application

Letter of intent

1. Upload a letter of intention in English stating why you wish to attend the course (200 to 350 words/max 3500 characters including spaces).

2. There is no need to submit a portfolio.  

3. Submit your letter of intention through SlideRoom. 

Your application must be anonymous. Do not include name or contact details anywhere in this material. All texts must be in English.