March 6, 2020

TRANS– Socially Engaged Art Practices master program

Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)

Workshop collaboration with Thomas Hirschhorn, Robert Walser-Skulptur. © microsillons.


TRANS– program is one of the three master programs of the Department of Visual Arts at HEAD – Genève. It offers its students an ideal framework of reflection about collaborative production modes on a long-term. Art as a possible vector for social transformation, the artist’s engagement in society and the use of pedagogical processes as a tool for collaborative artistic production, are the specifics of this program.

Indeed, TRANS– program aims to foster a conscious, ethical and problematized approach of artistic work in a social context, based on alternative, critical and feminist pedagogies (in relationship with a reflection on new masculinities) in particular, and on the concept of transpedagogy, that is to say the action to blend art and education in order to create singular forms of exchange and knowledge production.

In order to broaden intellectual and professional perspectives, TRANS– invites international guests, artists or researchers in the field of socially engaged art practices and of critical gallery education. Those interventions, nourished by the singular practice of each guest lecturer, take multiple forms and invite students to immerse in exploratory propositions and processes (presentations, conferences, workshops, guided tours, urban promenades) which mingle theoretical, critical and visual research.

TRANS– proposes different forms of public address (exhibitions/ projects, open seminars, un-conferences, publications, etc.) to open the frame for discussion about the role of artists in society. The bilingual (Fench-English) program also engages the students in public conferences on socially engaged art practices or radical education in international contexts, and within different research fields led by the teachers.

Teaching organization
Going through diverse practices—such as situationnist, activist, interventionist or transpedagogical ones—the seminar sessions, supported partly by the teaching team and partly by the students themselves (reading group) seek to question different alternative strategies to an individualist and competitive approach to art.

In order to stimulate exchanges and to encourage the emergence of forms of solidarities between the students, a standard week in TRANS— program is composed of three days of shared presence in the TRANS— spaces (seminars, workshops, individual or collective mentoring sessions) and of two self- managed days dedicated to the development of individual practices and collective projects.

Each student has the opportunity to get a place inside a collective working space. Apart from pursuing one’s practice in the field of contemporary arts, TRANS— program offers professional perspectives in gallery education, artistic intervention in formal or informal educational contexts and art practices in social contexts.

Conditions for admissions 2020/21
Online application on and sending of a portfolio of personal works till April 3, 2020.

After the first round of selection consisting in the examination of personal portfolios by teachers of HEAD – Genève, the selected candidates will be invited to an individual interview.

Interviews for the admissions to MA in Fine Arts will take place from May 4 to 8, 2020, in Geneva. HEAD – Genève exceptionally accepts Skype interviews, upon written request, for candidates living outside Europe.

Head of the program
microsillons collective (Marianne Guarino-Huet and Olivier Desvoignes)

Teaching staff
Marie-Antoinette Chiarenza, Claude-Hubert Tatot, Mathilde Chenin

Invited Speakers since 2015 (selection)
Jorgge Menna Barreto, Mabe Bethônico, Bureau d’études, Isabelle Chladek, Kadiatou Diallo, Dias & Riedweg, Janna Graham, Pablo Helguera, Thomas Hirschhorn, Myriam Lefkowitz, Olivier Marboeuf, Mathieu Menghini, Carmen Mörsch, Nils Norman, Nicolás Paris, Marie Preston, Rester. Étranger, Greg Sholette, Nora Sternfeld, Tilo Steireif, Wochenklausur.

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