In 2010 the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna launched a doctoral program for research in artistic practice. The PhD in Practice program provides participants with the opportunity to pursue their individual research projects in a collective learning environment with a decidedly transdisciplinary and international bent. The program is coordinated by Renate Lorenz (Professor for Art and Research) and Anette Baldauf (Professor for Methodology and Epistemology). The invited lecturers and guests include: Maurizio Lazzarato, Ángela López Ruiz, Angela Melitopoulos, Suzana Milevska, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Lidija Radojević, Elisabeth Subrin, Frank B. Wilderson III.


Venice Biennale 2017 Image Credit: Jacopo LaForgia

The Program

The PhD in Practice program provides a concept of arts-based research that is built upon critical epistemologies, as they have been developed in the context of feminist, queer, postcolonial, ecological, postmarxist and other political and emancipatory projects. Inspired by these struggles, the PhD in Practice program approaches arts-based research as a space for the negotiation of social, political, cultural and economic conflicts. It refers to a history of research in the arts field, which has been developed in dialog with an array of different fields, including academia, activism, high art as much as pop and subculture. It thus privileges cultural productions, which are concerned with a critique of social hierarchies and exclusions, and it is interested in the development of heterotopic visions. By engaging with these trajectories, the conditions and foundations of knowledge production in the arts field become itself a subject-matter of basic research.
The PhD in Practice program is designed for a period of four years of study. During this time the participants will develop and implement their projects analytically and experimentally in coordination with the academic and artistic team of co-participants and faculty. Participants learn how to write texts, and to conceive, organize, document, as well as carry out independent and/or collaborative research in a research environment that is dedicated to transdisciplinary and international exchange.
Course work is offered in the context of so-called focus weeks, which in the course of the semester takes place one week per month. This “low residency” scheme enables participants to take part and pursue their project without having to move permanently to Vienna (as much as this should be seen as an option). During these weeks the participants and the PhD in Practice team meet for tutorials, seminars, lectures, workshops, excursions and other research and learning events. The PhD in Practice participants have access to the facilities and resources of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and to the institutions and people that form the broader and expanding network of the Academy. Moreover, participants are expected to take an active part in organizing the program, including the conceptualization and organization of coordinating workshops, guest lectures, conferences, exhibitions, screenings, etc..

Entry requirements

Requirements for admission to the PhD in Practice program are: a degree (Magister, MA or diploma) from a recognized university, and the submission of a portfolio and a written project proposal. Applicants who are already engaged in an artistic or academic career are especially encouraged to apply.