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Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics, 15 hec

(Course code: VFSPOL)


First cycle


There is a long tradition of interaction between questions of politics and questions of art. However, arguably it is in contemporary art that this dialogue between art and politics has become most intense – leading to a fundamental interrogation of the nature of both: What are the limits and the agency of artistic practice? What is the political? How are these terms articulated? What is possible in this intersection?

We are seeing today, what seem to be fundamental changes in international political cultures and geopolitics:  ethno-nationalism, Brexit, various separatisms, Erdogan, and Trump; geo-political contestations Ukraine, Central Caucus, the Horn of Africa, the Middel-East, the Latin American “pink tide”, and the South China Sea contestation for hegemony; the changing contexts of climate change and environmental policy; changing formations of political action including occupy, street protest, direct action, Black Lives Matter, Rhodes-must-fall, feminist mobilisations locally and globally and continuing struggles by indigenous peoples.
There has been for decades now a massive growth in the diversity and volume of issues arising within different art practices. Issues as diverse as the relationship between art and activism, feminism, queer culture, ecological crisis, postcolonialism, decolonialism, racism, zenophobia, anti-capitalism, the role of the avant-garde, renewed nationalisms, institutional critique, self-organisation, and many other conjunctions of art and politics, ranging across the macro-and the micro-political scale.
Through taking this course you will have an opportunity to build your own map of the contemporary art field and the different ways it intersects – or fails to intersect – with questions of the political. We will also explore together how this may now be changing under the impact of recent changes in the wider political field.
As part of this process you will also be given a brief introduction to some of the key theorists and ideas shaping contemporary political theory and debate.

Key Information points:

  • The course is taught as a distance course through English, and includes online presentations based on pre-set readings and viewing of material online.
  • The course runs Monday 5 June to Friday 24 August
  • You are expected to attend ONE of three workshops (Berlin, London or Gothenburg) in person and participate in discussion.
  • There are no online meetings in weeks 26 & 27 and 29 & 30, however, there are extensive set readings and material to be veiwed online.
  • Assessment is based on a visual essay (a format described and explained during the course itself).
  • Final assessment takes place in the week Tuesday 21 – Friday 24 August via online submission.
  • The course is free to EU nationals.
  • Students are responsible for their own costs of attending the workshop(s).
  • Admission is based on letter of intention (in English) stating why you wish to attend the course (200 to 350 words in length).

Entrance requirements and application

Entrance Requirements: General entrance requirements


Selection is based upon your average grade from upper secondary school or the number of credits from previous university studies or both.

Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics, 15 hec
Start Full/part time Period Apply
Summer 100 %, Web based 4 Jun 2018 - 26 Aug 2018 Opens 19 Feb

Admission Summer 2018

Application period: 20 February - 15 March.

The application is made in two steps:

  1. Register for the course at universityadmissions.se.
  2. Upload a letter of intention in English stating why you wish to attend the course (200 to 350 words) in Slideroom cloud service. Detailed information below.


For the purpose of handling and reviewing work samples, we use an external service provided by SlideRoom Technologies Inc. By using the service, you agree that the University of Gothenburg may handle your personal data and material submitted via SlideRoom in order to evaluate your application for education. The material you upload remains with SlideRoom until you choose to remove it from their servers.

The University of Gothenburg may, by individual agreement with the applicant and in a way that the university decides, offer an alternative opportunity to submit work samples.

Enter SlideRoom to upload your portfolio (link updated in February)>>


If you have any questions on application, please contact: admission@akademinvaland.gu.se

More Course Information

In GUL you can find schedule and other useful Course Information

Page Manager: Anna Holgén|Last update: 1/18/2018

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