In 1998, all six Austrian art academies, among them the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, were reorganized as “Universities of Art” (see Kunstuniversitäts-Organisationsgesetz [KUOG] and Eurybase, p. 256 ). This decision was confirmed by the Austrian University Law of 2002 (UG 2002). Research in the arts (“Entwicklung und Erschließung der Künste”, literally: “developing and opening up the arts”) was thus posited next to “Teaching of the Arts”, traditional academic “Research” and traditional academic “Teaching”. Hence the art universities will increasingly be considered as sites of artistic research and knowledge production. Accordingly they are expected, in terms of academic and education policies, to produce like other universities artistic-academic research and artistic-academic researchers. A – rather tentative  solution: artistic research/arts-based research, as funded for instance through programs of funding of arts-based research by WWTF [Viennese Science and Technology Fund] and FWF [Austrian Science Fund]).
These new roles and functions of art universities in Austria are closely related to the increasing integration of institutions of art education in national and international regimes of education and research (keywords: Bologna process, EU cultural and educational programs etc.). These international developments often posit as irreversible and inevitable the implementation of artistic-scientific/scholarly MA and PhD programs.
Next to and mostly independent from such developments and regulations instigated by educational policies and economies of research, there is a manifest interest and desire of artists and cultural workers that institutions respond to the radical historical changes of artistic practices and artistic authorship. Among such changes one may count the tendency already present at the beginnings of modernism to deploy inter- and transdisciplinary methodologies in art production and a more or less explicit focus on “research” as a particular mode of artistic practice. For these reasons the Academy has been discussing since c. 2004 the development of postgradual doctoral studies for art practitioners and cooperations have been sought with other such programs of artistic research in Europe before implementing its own program. Thus, for some years already, the Academy has become a member of EARN (European Artistic Research Network).
Artistic research and doctoral programs for artists also entail the creation of an institutional time-space that allows for the development of long-term, self-determined projects in a stimulating and stabilising research environment. Moreover, one could speak of a strategic strengthening of art universities as sites of artistic-scientific/scholarly production as opposed to other institutional and cultural economic sectors (the art market, museums etc.).


In order to answer this question we would like to refer to the “preamble” of the Curriculum PhD in Practice:
answer currently under construction


The Academy’s PhD in Practice call for applications for new participants is published once a year, usually in december/january. Applications are usually due end of february/ beginning of march the following year. The application process will then be finished around Mid-May. The successfull candidates will enrol at the Academy and take up their place within the PhD in Practice program at the beginning of the winter term in October of the same year.

How long?

4 years.

For whom?

Persons who are active – as artists, cultural workers, theoreticians or at the interfaces of these fields of practice – and have a well-founded interest in pursuing and expanding their practice as artistic research with an artistic-academic/scholarly perspective.

How to apply?

Please click here for information on the application procedure (resp. the materials required for the application process in 2012).
For more information about the procedure please also have a look inside the Curriculum: here.
The basic requirement for every application is a university degree (MA, MFA, diploma level). The program is looking for people who have already acquired experiences as practitioners. It may therefore be of some advantage if you finished your studies already a while ago and had the chance to work in fields outside of the academic environment in which you studied.
For the application, you are asked to hand in a project proposal, already rather developed. This proposal will be the object of discussion in case you will be invited for an interview by the commission in charge of admission.

Who supervises?

According to the Curriculum PhD in Practice:
answer currently under construction

How is the study structured?

answer currently under construction


What exactly is a “thesis” (“Dissertation”) in the PhD in Practice program?

The Curriculum PhD in Practice states:
currently under construction

If the Curriculum speaks of critically reflecting one’s own artistic practice, what could this mean methodologically?

Here, different approaches can be imagined. The type of reflection is not stipulated in terms of methodology. However, it should be demonstrated that one’s own practice is comprehensibly documented, contextualized and commented upon.

To what extent is the study expected to be theoretical-scholarly? And in which way should it be developed and presented?

For instance, would it be feasible to make the development of one’s own artistic qualification and competence (including a systematic documentation) into a significant part of graduation?
The amount of theoretical work within the thesis (“Dissertation”) is not standardized but depends on the character and profile of a given project. However, the PhD in Practice program will be marked by a strong theoretical bias. Expanding one’s theoretical and analytical skills certainly is an important aspect of the program. But here, as always, you should be aware that such a development and extension of your art practice should relate convincingly to the line of inquiry of your thesis.

What are the tuition fees?

According to the new rules from summer semester 2012, currently all students at the Academy only have to pay the student union fees until further notice (presently 17,– €).
For information on tuition fees, also click here.

Is the study funded?

The places in the program are not funded. Attempts are being made by the coordinators to organize financial support from external sources such as artistic research funding schemes, and the participants are supported in finding individual grants and stipends. However, participants have to be prepared to take part in seminars and communal meetings in Vienna for one focus week per month during the semester, even if such funding is not secured.

Where is the PhD in Practice located?

At Schillerplatz, the main premises of the Academy of Fine Arts, an area for doctoral studies has been set up in the west wing (second floor, room DG12) of the building.