Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Two programs in Salzburg

A call went out for a new Austrian doctoral program “at the interface between science and art”. On October 1, 2024, two collaborating Salzburg institutions - the Paris Lodron University (PLUS) and the Mozarteum University (MOZ) - will be starting a 4-year thematic doctoral school Cultures in TransformationThe program is following their 2019-2023 incarnation The Arts and their Public Impact: Dynamics of Change (see here), set up by the same two organisations and with half of the six candidates promoted and the other half in the final stages.

The new inter-university effort will award the coveted full-fledged Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. The program is held in German, but the dissertation can be submitted in English. Seven paid positions (50% FTE) are offered.

Applications for the new program need to be in by March 15, 2024. All info here.


While that doctoral school’s goal is “to contribute to the development and expansion of knowledge in both areas [of science and art]” and to have the students “make an independent contribution to academic and artistic research”, I am told it is strictly speaking not an AR program. For that, the Mozarteum University has its own inter- and transdisciplinary 6-semester PhD in the Arts program. This one does not offer scholarships or otherwise paid positions. Content-wise, both programs overlap, but the topical one does not feature AR at its core, and its main output is the dissertation. The PhD in the Arts, on the other hand, fully in English, leaves the format of the output to the doctoral candidate, i.e. it could be a sole artwork that incorporates the research findings.

The application deadline for the PhD in the Arts is March 28, 2024 - info here.

These two programs show an interesting institutional take on the discussion about where AR should be situated in the structures of higher education, especially about which type of output should present the research outcome, and which degree is awarded. The one program is directed towards the traditional concept of a dissertation covering all documentation, without mentioning an art work necessarily being in the mix, while the other considers the new knowledge to be sufficiently disseminated through its embodiment in the art work alone, without requiring a written component. This situation is reminiscent of The Netherlands, where the docARTES program is complemented by the new Professional Doctorate (cf. here), though not by all of the same institutions.

The Salzburg duality also fits the national Austrian doctoral AR landscape. Graz considers its dr. Artium program to be neither "purely scientific" (i.e. Dr. Phil), nor a "professional artistic advanced qualification" (referring to for instance a DMA) - see here. That there is nevertheless something posited in between must have to do with the extent to which the PhD proponents wish to see the tradition of their discipline's requirements and title be protected: the dr. Artium dissertation is stated to be "around 100 pages", which seems restricted for a PhD, and rather more typical of a DMA. It is not clear what the difference is between the dr. Artium program and a DMA.

The Linz University of the Arts boasts having over 100 candidates in its PhD program (of which I couldn't calculate the number of music related projects based only on how their topics are titled), and doesn't explicitly mention the dissertation requirements, other than, somewhat cryptically, that "The development of a form (methodology, material, media, as well as the format of the manifestation of the results) corresponding to the project out of the research process is just as important as that of an own language or adequate media in order to document, contextualize and reflect the respective project in a transparent and comprehensible way."

The Vienna Academy of Fine Arts offers a PhD in Practice program "of artistic-academic research". The candidates are "not asked to do research and afterwards develop art works out of your findings, or the other way around" (no doubt taking its cue from the by now famous "in-and-through" designator) but the detailed curriculum requirements are clear about the crucial position of the dissertation. 

The Vienna program also issued its call for new candidates. Three four-year paid positions are available (75%). The deadline for application is February 29, 2024. All information here