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Doctoral Studies

The Royal Institute of Art conducts post-graduate education in collaboration with the faculty at Malmö Art Academy, Lund University, which holds the right of degree conferral. The Royal Institute of Art currently has five doctoral students. These candidates work towards a PhD in Fine Arts, which results from a thesis documenting an artistic research project (180 credits).

The doctoral student works under the guidance of a main tutor, who is a professor at the Royal Institute of Art, as well as an external co-supervisor. Twice a year, the doctoral student, together with their tutor, draws up an individual study plan in which their course of study is mapped and documented. The program contains both compulsory and elective courses (2 x 30 credits), sub-tutorials and a final dissertation.

The post-graduate program is regarded as a four-year term of employment at the Royal Institute of Art. The appointment includes work of up to 20 percent (of full-time) for the school, including teaching on mainly the five-year program in fine art. Teaching time is added to the duration of the employment contract.

Chronic Features – On the Materiality and Theatricality of Time

Kajsa Dahlberg

This artistic research project is invested in rethinking and reimagining prevailing capitalist conceptions of terms such as ‘evelopment’ and ‘progress’ by drawing inspiration from recent work in queer temporality studies. In short, it tries to examine the effects and affects of what Elisabeth Freeman terms ‘chron-normativity’: ‘the use of time to organise individual human bodies toward maximum productivity’.

It is an artistic investigation that will formally and technically experiment with disruptive temporalities, temporal gaps and narrative detours. One of the principle ideas of progress in the West was based on the idea that advances in technology, science, and social organisation could produce an improvement in the human condition, and that these go hand-in-hand in a linear path. My project asks whether the tools for mediating chrono-normative timings of bodies can instead be used in ways that interrupt, confuse, or disturb normative historical narratives of progress and productivity.

The doctoral study is a collaboration between the Royal Institute of Art and Lund University. (2016)

Engaging for a Revolutionary Future

Oscar Lara

At a time of apparently unwanted but inevitable globalisation, the appetite for producing artistic projects questioning capital models, condemning postcolonial relationships or supporting mistreated minorities is enormous. But why are we really doing this? How is social practice impacting the human groups to whom we so broadly profess to help? And who really benefits from these exchanges?

Engaging for a Revolutionary Future investigates existing strategies within social practice, analysing the outcomes for understanding its real significance on the societies that it touches. From there on, the project will propose new ways of artistic production that could reach structural change without having to commit to the time-consuming processes that strategic models have followed, but still go further than just generating dialogues.

The doctoral study is a collaboration between the Royal Institute of Art and Lund University. (2016)

The Utopian Image – Absolute and Incomplete. The Conditions of a Utopian Function in Art and Artist-Film

Emanuel Almborg

The project investigates the conditions for a utopian function in contemporary art and the moving image. It starts from the premise that in recent times there has been a growing demand for new political and social visions and scenarios. The project asks what role art and the moving image can play in experimenting with and sketching such visions and scenarios. It takes a starting point in research of historical utopias and fragments of lost futures and potentials. The first part in the project focuses on the 1960s Zagorsk school for deaf-blind children outside Moscow and its pedagogy, established together with philosopher Evald Ilyenkov and based on a social and cultural-historic understanding of consciousness and development.

The doctoral study is a collaboration with the Royal Institute of Art and Lund University. (2014)

Mind of We

Melanie Gilligan

Mind of We is an artistic interrogation into what collectivity is today, developing its research primarily through video and performance works. Mind of We begins from an understanding that in our present moment, collective formations tend to take two interrelated but distinct forms: there is collective contact which takes place in people’s lives through group relations, social affinities, and structures of dependency; and on the other hand there are systemic collective phenomena which are broad-scale and which take the form of abstract connections through systems such as networks of capital flows or the calculations of computational networks.

In our contemporary world, these two levels of concrete contact and abstract phenomena increasingly overlap and intersect, and when they do they often bring new experiences. One example of this was how in the recent economic crisis, individuals became more aware of, and were in palpable contact with, the ways that shifts in the markets impacted the most basic conditions of their existence. This brought with it the awareness that all our activity was connected on some level through financial markets.

As we know, digital communication contributes ever more levels of mediation and coordination to our lives, combining multiple scales of human experience into a complex mesh of data, be it through social networks or in enabling outsourcing of labor and complex networks of logistics. In so many ways, then, the collective scale is now inserted into our daily lives in highly mediated and often alienated forms. Mind of We reflects on how such macro-scale systems intersect with individual lives. This is a question of scale, of perception, and the politics and economies of network phenomena in relation to traditional social forms.

An important focus for this project will be on the current state of collective decision-making and collective action. On the one hand, collective protest movements have exploded once again in recent years, while on the other we witness ever more atomized societies worldwide in which new polarizing antagonisms are ever emerging. To understand the ways that social existence is shaped by collective influences, Mind of We will be attentive to the fragmentary quality in which individuals and collectives shape one other. The project therefore sets an aesthetic challenge: to envisage how the particulars of human experience, such as emotion and social struggle, might be envisioned, in their full breadth – and how such aspects of life can be performed, seen, comprehended and narrated.

The doctoral study is a collaboration with Stockholm University of the Arts/Lund University. (2014)

Society is a Workshop

Olivia Plender

What happens when we collapse boundaries between the artist and audience, reconfiguring the relationship so that spectators become collaborators and an exhibition or performance event can be considered as a form of research?

Society is a Workshop draws on methodologies developed by several 20th century historical models within the fields of visual art, theatre and education, which emphasised ‘creativity’ and ‘playfulness’ as tools for emancipating individuals from apparently ‘in-authentic’ social relations produced by hierarchical institutional structures.

The aim of the project is to find new participatory forms, which stand in a critical relation to the formal and informal institutional structures of the contemporary knowledge economy.

The doctoral study is a collaboration between the Royal Institute of Art and the Swedish Artistic Research School/Lund University. (2012)