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Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics

Bachelor's level | 15 credits | Course code: VFSPOL
75% Distance
Period: 8 June 2020 - 30 August 2020
2 Closed GU-35100
2) Only EU/EEA citizens and students with approved residence permit in Sweden can apply

About the Course

There is a long tradition of interaction between questions of politics and questions of art. However, arguably in the current decade this dialogue between art and politics has intensified, leading to a fundamental interrogation: What is at stake now in the different intersections of art and the political? How are the terms ‘politics’ and ‘the political’ articulated within contemporary art? What, if any, is the specific political agency of artistic practice?

These questions have acquired ever greater urgency in the wider political context of ascendant national populisms and racisms; mass displacement and anti-migrant mobilisations; the failure of governance structures to respond effectively to climate change and ecological collapse; and changing formations of political mobilisation from the Arab ‘spring’ to renewed indigenous resistance movements; from Extinction Rebellion to Black Lives Matter; from Rhodes-Must-Fall to #MeToo.

Through taking this course you will have an opportunity to build your own map of the multiple intersections of contemporary art and the political. We will also explore together how this may now be changing under the impact of recent changes in the wider political field.

This year the course is delivered in partnership with: the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Bucharest Biennale 9 ‘Farewell to Research’ (curated by Henk Slager), and the Curatorial Studies Workshop, “handfuls thrown into air and scattered over earth”. The teaching team includes: Mick Wilson, Sarah Tuck, Daniel Jewesbury and special guests at the workshop intensives.


Times specified are Swedish (CET). You will require reliable internet access and headphones. Some of the content from each workshop will be posted online for other course participants to access. Participation in the workshops means that your contributions to discussion may be recorded for this purpose.

There are 12 online lectures and seminars. The online presentation and seminar sessions are scheduled at 4 pm (Swedish time, CET) on the following days: June 9, 10, 15, 16, 17; July 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9; August 5, 6, 11, 20, 21.

Most of the online sessions can be accessed via published recordings, at whatever time suits your personal timetable needs. It is strongly recommended that you attend ‘live’ online the discussion sessions.


The intensive workshop, involving physical attendance, is chosen from ONE of the following three options. (It is possible to attend two or more if you wish, however, you are expected to attend one at a minimum.) Presentations made as part of the workshop will also be posted online for distance access. In most cases material from intensive workshops may be streamed live, but this may not always be possible.

Bucharest: Tuesday–Friday, June 23-26

Dublin: Wednesday–Friday, August 12-14

Gothenburg: Wednesday–Friday, August 19-21

More Information

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Course Syllabus


Requirements and Selection

Requirements: General entrance requirements

Selection: The selection is based on a submitted Letter of Intent. Information and instructions for the Letter of Intent is found on A submitted Letter of Intent is required for a complete application.

Tuition Fee

Application fee: 900 SEK
Full course cost: 68 071 SEK
First payment: 68 071 SEK

EU/EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students do not pay fees. More information on:

Study Guidance


HDK-Valand - Academy of Art and Design
Box 131
40530 Göteborg
Visiting address: Kristinelundsgatan 6-8

Phone: 031-786 10 00

Page Manager: Pontus Sundén
Last update: 2/18/2020 2:41 PM

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Page Manager: Pontus Sundén|Last update: 10/16/2018

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