Every artistic practice is collective

Illustration von Kreisen

In the doctoral programme of the inter-university institution Wissenschaft & Kunst (W&K), doctoral students research and work closely networked at the interface of science and art.


Press conference & information event
on the inter-university doctoral programme

Project presentations by the doctoral students & outlook on the doctoral programme from 2024 onwards

27 September 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
Studio in the KunstQuartier

f.l.t.r. Ivana Pilić, Anita Moser, Luisa Zornemann, Gwendolin Lehnerer, Martina Fladerer, Anna Stadler, Nicole Haitzinger, Ielizaveta Oliinyk, Raffael Hiden

For more than 10 years, students in Salzburg have had the opportunity to complete a transdisciplinary PhD programme on a small scale and to focus on topics at the interface between art, science and research. The inter-university doctoral programme is a cooperation between the Mozarteum University and the Paris Lodron University Salzburg in the joint cooperation focus W&K. "It is trend-setting that an art university and a scientifically oriented university jointly offer a doctoral programme. Especially due to current changes, the question of the horizons of reflection for the perspective of the arts is a big issue where institutional cooperation is actually rather difficult," says Nicole Haitzinger, academic director of the programme. The Kolleg is currently running for the third time, following the current W&K framework theme "The arts and their public impact: dynamics of change". Since 2019, six doctoral students, who are active academically and in artistic or curatorial practice, have been working on phenomena, concepts and processes of social change in their interconnections with culture, the arts and their publics. Anita Moser, executive director of the Kolleg, emphasises the strong interactions that arise here: "The topics come from society and the projects that are developed should also flow back into society." The dissertation topics are correspondingly broad: Ielizaveta Oliinyk deals with social transformation using contemporary theatre in Ukraine, Anna Stadler examines the relationship between paratextual elements and situation-specific art forms, and Gwendolin Lehnerer explores neo-baroque research practices in the dispositif of theatre and exhibition: "For me, theory and practice have not only converged, but have become a common field in which and with which to research. I think that such a form of dissertation can also have democratising effects."

Funded by the two universities and the province of Salzburg, the Kolleg enables doctoral students to work with a close connection to the city of Salzburg, to conduct research and to deal with the question of social relevance in a transdisciplinary way. "This question connects all dissertation topics. It can happen through curatorial research or through working with civil society - we don't want to be 'ivory tower science', but that interface where something in society can be improved and where the thresholds between universities and interested parties are broken down," says Nicole Haitzinger. Raffael Hiden, who is researching the interface of sociology, literature and theatre in his dissertation, emphasises: "Identifying and subsequently reflecting on societal and social problem situations is a project that is always better off in dialogue between fields of knowledge than in mere disciplinary monologues".

The PhD programme is characterised by special framework conditions: PhD students receive a 50% position at W&K, there is an open-plan office as well as a budget for events, for guest talks and projects, and there are strong connections to the city and province of Salzburg - whether with civil society or in the form of cooperation. A unique feature of the Kolleg is the intensive exchange and dialogue that is made possible for the doctoral students, which leads to strong collective work. Anita Moser: "One common feature is the very 'practice-saturated' work, as the doctoral students come from artistic or curatorial practice. This plays an important role, not least because a wide range of their own experiences flow into the works and there is thus also a great deal of personal interest." In this way, a group crystallises that does not compete but develops joint projects with different perspectives. "That is often not the case in academia, which is why it is so important for us to promote that. Not to put one's own at the centre, but to motivate collective thinking and working. Because every artistic, performative practice is collective," Nicole Haitzinger notes. This experience is also confirmed by Martina Fladerer, who works with participatory music spaces and "musicking": "We bring knowledge from the most diverse disciplines and experience from the most diverse fields between science and art. I am convinced that this has contributed to my multi-perspective approach in my research, that it has encouraged me to think beyond my own discipline". And Ivana Pilić, who investigates art practices critical of discrimination, confirms: "In the doctoral college, you are accompanied from the beginning, your own work is discussed and developed further in different formats. The quality gain is considerable, not least because you form a research community with your doctoral colleagues.

The current doctoral programme will be completed in summer 2023, and planning for the next cycle is already underway. The call for applications will start in autumn, the application phase will start in spring 2024. Nicole Haitzinger and Anita Moser are pleased about the deepening of the programme, which will take place with the start of the next Kolleg in autumn 2024: "What will fortunately be different in the future: Up to now, the Kolleg was planned for 3 years, but due to Covid, there was an extra year this time - this is to remain the case in the future, including 50% positions for the doctoral students for the entire period." There are also plans to strengthen networking with the public in Salzburg and internationally, to expand transdisciplinary work and the flexibility of methods in order to be able to offer even more space in every respect.

Inter-university doctoral programme

  • Scientific direction:
    Nicole Haitzinger (Music & Dance Studies, University of Salzburg)
  • Scientific co-leader:
    Lucia D'Errico (Artistic Research, University Mozarteum Salzburg)
  • Executive Director:
    Anita Moser (PB Contemporary Art & Cultural Production, IE Science & Art).

(First published in Uni-Nachrichten / Salzburger Nachrichten on 10 June 2023)

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