Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW

Art Embodies
What about studying with us?

It is easier to describe a study program than a social environment. To study is not only to perform certain tasks and to get familiar with ideas, discourses, and values, it is also a period of your life that you belong to a social space, shaping it as you go. We could even think of this period as a collective artwork, a moment where one absorbs and gives, inhales and exhales knowledges and practices. This collective breathing constitutes a mandate to protect and care for life. Why I am saying so? Because to study—and particularly to study to become an artist—means to discover the skills one possesses to create experiences that reflect on life itself. Reflecting on life must include its more difficult moments, and yet the premise that art is a marvelous speculative ground that allows for the mind to travel without harming anyone remains. Art is there to be able to see the real from all angles, to enhance our capacity to find a way through even during the more destructive eras of history. Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW is an organism. This is a life form constituted by multiple independent parts—teachers, students—functioning together as a whole. The seminars, carefully proposed by each faculty member every semester, emerge from each teacher’s practices and passions; the symposia emerge from imagining future collective scenarios for art and culture, poetics and politics. Then the very large series of podcasts we produce, and the digital publication series Wild Papers…. each of these elements are features of a larger atmosphere and world. What defines, then, our master’s program? Imagine for a second a dandelion flower. Multiple fluffy white delicate parts called pappus are attached to a small base. Imagine the delicacy and the effort of keeping these parts together creating a sphere in which every part is interdependent with every other part. Likewise, in our program, everyone is attentive to the ideas of the larger project, and also to the possibilities of inventing new ways of breaking through, of creating languages capable of stabilizing a democratic space free of violence by fostering a way of mutuality and living with the arts. Together we explore possibilities, while also creating restorative forces capable of facing the many problems we have as communities within a social fabric. Art is a multi-textured substance that has the ability to adapt and respond to the rapidly growing rigidity at the core of our worlds, a rigidity that prevents generous movements and impels us toward destruction instead. Today we need to become more generous than ever to be able to act without hate, without fear, and without the impulse to censor others. This is a very difficult task that no one can accomplish alone. The study of art is a chance to exercise peace, and to advocate for more equitable futures.

Chus Martínez
Head of the Institute Art Gender Nature

Campus Dreispitz, HGK Basel FHNW, photo: Pati Grabowicz

Campus.Workshops, HGK Basel FHNW, photo: Pati Grabowicz

Alan Sierra working on his graduation project at the artists’ studios, photo: Christian Knörr

Dimitra Charamandas at the Campus.Workshops, photo: Christian Knörr

Master Symposium Shores of Sahara-Sahel: Waves, Forms, Futures, Binta Diaw, Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW in collaboration with Culturescapes 2023 Sahara, 2023, photo: Gerta Xhaferaj

Performance by Virginie Sistek for EL GRAN GRITO, Graduation Exhibition Institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel FHNW, Kunsthaus Baselland, 2023, photo: Christoph Bühler

The Community
One of the most significant traits of our program is the way in which we center our students. Access to collective and individual presentations of their work, dialogue about the ideas and methodologies that they are considering in their artistic practice as well as their references and ambitions are central to the program. Phoenix Atala, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Onome Ekeh, Astrit Ismaili, Roman Kurzmeyer, Quinn Latimer, Chus Martínez, Filipa Ramos, Mathilde Rosier, and Yvonne Volkart form the lecturers’ community of our MA. Our lecturers, technical experts, and constant flow of guests from various fields, are all there to help our students gain a comprehension of their works’ possibilities, but also of its social and political contexts.

The Skills
The technical workshops available are an important asset of our study program. From digital tools to wood, metal, and sculpture workshops, everything is offered so as to experiment and understand materials and their possibilities. Addressing our relationship with nature and our responsibility with the planet also implies understanding how art and artists might work in ways less damaging to life. Skills need to be understood as a form of relation with technique, with technology, with matter, and with space… The goal here, hopefully, is to modify our perception and realize our relation, making us more receptive to better material practices.

The Two-Year Cycle
The difference between the two years of studies is that the first year features more course work, and the second is more centered around the production of the project with which each student will graduate. Otherwise, the two groups are very close—and close as well with the bachelor students. The access to projects and opportunities to exhibit are open to all. The graduation exhibition is always curated in collaboration with international guest curators, and takes place at Kunsthaus Baselland, a renowned institution for contemporary art. This exhibition is prepared with great care and with several production and assessment meetings. It is always well attended by both local and international visitors, giving us all another chance to address what we did and the values that animate our making.


The application deadline is 15 March 2024, with the MA program beginning in September 2024.
More information about the program and the admission process can be found online.