December 12, 2022

Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS)

Valais School of Art (EDHEA)

Photo: EDHEA.*

Al Gutierrez, After Laughter Comes Drool, 2022. Video installation. Photo: Laura Morier-Genoud / EDHEA.*

Photo: EDHEA.*

Laìs Cardoso Da Rosa, A Counter Colonial Classroom”, 2022. Performance and installation. Photo: Laura Morier-Genoud / EDHEA.*

Photo: Jérôme Leuba / EDHEA.*

Photo: EDHEA.*

Photo: EDHEA.*

Photo: EDHEA.*

MAPS—Master of Arts in Public Spheres—is geared to artists, who wish to explore the relationship between art and environmental, political, cultural, and media-related dimensions of the public sphere. The multi-sited two-year program is part of the HES-SO University of Applied Arts and Sciences.

As part of EDHEA—the Valais School of Arts, MAPS is located in the town of Sierre / Valais. Surrounded by an alpine landscape, the valley is also witness to (post-)industrial development and has become an international laboratory for studying the effects of climate change. Situated at the crossroads between several language borders, Sierre is well connected to various regions of Switzerland as well as to Italy and thus offers access to a broad view on cultural practices. From here we operate, providing the basic infrastructure and spanning a network with national and international institutions as well as independent art spaces or initiatives with which MAPS has built a sustainable network.

Collaboration with residency programs such as Villa Ruffieux (Sierre) or La Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz) enables a fluid transition between the program and subsequent artistic careers. The sustainability of the program also relies on the regular contributions of alumni, whom MAPS supports as artists, cultural agents and co-researchers. MAPS-students have been contributing to many exhibitions such as the current Venice Biennial or the Berlin Biennial, as well as to independent projects and artist initiatives and founded publishing houses.

MAPS foregrounds traveling and displacing as part of its practice-led approach to artistic research and is composed of eight stations per year, each consisting of seven to ten days, in which the student’s work becomes a starting point for continuous reflections and artistic exchange. These fluid node points with their various forms of (un-)learning include research activities, seminars and workshops, screenings, performances, exhibition making, collective and face-to-face discussions. Stations conceived by visiting lecturers, students and tutors foster highly concentrated and convivial moments during which the participants interrogate the public spheres. They intervene by investigating environmentally and socially engaged art practices, considering writing, and publishing as an artistic practice, and adopting alternative approaches to pedagogy. Since sound and listening practices are a key focus at EDHEA (which also offers a BA program in fine Arts specialized in sound) the MAPS students can also exchange with the respective BA teachers and benefit from the specific high-quality infrastructure.

In between the stations, the artists continue their research individually or within self-organized study groups, a process that is supported by tutors. Due to the program’s plurinational context, collective exchange usually takes place in English. However, navigating in between linguistic spaces has become a common practice.

Current research questions investigated by the faculty include art and labour, politics of attention, environmental crises, speculative narratives, transformation through repetition, critical site specificities as well as feminist, post and decolonial art histories.

Admission is competitive. Qualifications required: arts or applied arts school diploma, university degree in a related field or equivalent training or experience. Application form here.

Application deadline: April 3, 2023
Selection interviews: May 4–5, 2023

Wyss Foundation scholarship
The Wyss Foundation scholarship is a fellowship for international emerging artists from Latin American, Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. It is awarded to selected MAPS students by the Hansjoerg Wyss Foundation. Eligible candidates who wish to apply will complete and submit the Wyss Fellowship form.

EDHEA—The Valais School of Art also offers a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts as well as a Bachelor's degree in Sound Arts, a vocational training in graphic design and a foundation course in Art & Design.

*Images above: (1) Master Symposium “On the Politics of Aesthetics”, Château Mercier, Sierre, 2022. Guests: Paloma Ayala, Kamran Behrouz, Valérie Félix, Anne-Laure Franchette, Ronny Hardliz. Conceived by Kadiatou Diallo, Petra Köhle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin. (3) Workshop with Isabel Lewis. (5) Study Trip in Marseille with MAPS1 Students, Jérôme Leuba and Caterina Giansiracusa, 2022. (6) Study Trip to Venice Biennale with MAPS2 Students, Robert Ireland, Anne-Julie Raccoursier and Petra Köhle, 2022. (7) Workshop ( “Displaced Objects” with Jeanno Gaussi, EDHEA and HKB, 2022. (8) School start in Pfyn/Finges, 2022.

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