Master of Fine Arts programme in Fine Arts
This international master’s programme prepares you to make critical artistic contributions to society. Courses focus on the many challenges that face us in being public together and on debates over the roles art and artists may have when producing publicness. You will explore these concerns while developing skills in artistic research. You will join a small group of students with diverse backgrounds and learn with teachers with considerable research expertise and professional practices.
We live in times when there are many demands and challenges in the present but also for the future. Complex challenges in society demand that critical relations between art and artists, and concepts of publicness, need to be analysed, re-cultivated, and, importantly, practiced. This is the focus of this international programme. What, when, how, in what situations you produce – and for whom - are important programme questions. These are tied to ethics, aesthetics, methods and material, and developing forms of dissemination that often differ from conventional forms of exhibition.
You are taught to identify, pose, and artistically respond to questions about a topic, challenge, problem, or phenomenon etc. as prioritised by you. Art production is key to your response. You will incrementally develop skills to design, implement, contextualise, share, and evaluate your own projects. We call these projects ‘Artistic Enquiries’.
Artistic Enquiries are projects designed to increase knowledge for others, not just oneself. Your projects are formed through being taught how to apply research methods and skills – relevant for art and artists – that fuse art practices and production with theories and contextualisation. Writing and documenting processes also play a role.
Over four terms you will learn how to make increasingly specific and nuanced artistic projects, with their own systems and logic, to ask questions about publicness and the roles of art and the artist.
You will learn how to:
• Analyse problems, challenges, and phenomena in society as an artist.
• Apply artistic research skills whilst producing artworks and projects.
• Produce artistic projects that are specific in their logic, methods, and media.
• Specify how your art works, project and practices are shared.
• Communicate the significance of your art and practices.
With honed critical, production, and communication skills, you will be able to test what art is and does, contribute to debates over what being an artist may mean, and argue for the relevance of your work.
Teaching, via lectures, seminars, workshops, projects etc., is interspersed with self-generated, and cooperative learning. You will be assessed by coursework and oral and written exams. We categorise your learning by three objectives:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Skills and abilities
• Judgement and evaluation
The Academy has multiple local, national, and international partnerships, including with L’Internationale Online, the Hasselblad Center, and Röda Sten Konsthall, in addition to research centres and the PARSE platform for artistic research. Multiple public symposia, seminars, lectures, and conferences happen, and you will benefit from them. The programme is developing a network of cultural actors engaged in art and publicness within the Gothenburg area.
Programme structure and content
Year one introduces concepts of publicness, questions about the roles of art and the artist in society and methods to practice artistic research. You will learn to identify subjects for artistic research, test methods via practical experiments, analyse theories, and develop writing skills. In term 2 you will take an elective programme course, in which students from different specialisation meet and expand their knowledge together. Students apply for the elective courses based on an annual course offering.
In year two you will advance your artistic research skills, increasing your competence by accounting for artistic strategies, media and materials, decision-making, and theoretical relevance. In term 3 you will write a substantial text on a specific area of interest for your practice. Practically you continue with production while planning how your project and practice will be disseminated publicly. Term 4 focuses on the production, contextualisation, and public dissemination of your artistic enquiry project. Your project will be part of a larger cooperative project that is co-organised between classmates, teachers, and any external partners.
Who should apply?
You can come from any cultural background. You want to advance how you and your art can critically engage with societal challenges. You want to focus on publicness, the roles of art and artists, and gaining artistic research skills to inform your production. You are theory-curious. You want to learn individually and in a group. You have some existing command over artistic media, materials, and production. You want to self-challenge and co-challenge – respectfully. You are open to thinking and practicing differently to pre-existing conventions. You want to contribute to an artistic and intellectual educational environment.
Prerequisites and selection
Bachelor's degree in fine arts of at least 180 credits or equivalent. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS. In addition, approved work samples are required.
Find the portfolio instructions for the MFA programme in Fine Arts here:
The selection is based on an assessment of submitted work samples and a personal interview.
Graduates receive the degree of Master of Fine Arts.
Graduates include artists exhibiting in galleries, museums, and biennials. Others have established alternative platforms to those of the conventional art world. We have educated activists, cultural producers, researchers, academics, curators, critics, writers, educators, commercial gallerists, DJs, tattooists and farmers.
Based in the centre of Gothenburg, HDK-Valand’s facilities consist of lecture rooms, studios that are shared but partitionable, bookable project spaces, equipment borrowing, production workshops, and two galleries, that are currently student-run.