Introduction (VFSPOL)

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Workshop with Prof. Dave Beech and Prof. Mick Wilson at Bard College campus Berlin, students from art & politics course, from Bard CCS, and from De Appel Curatorial Programme2018. Photo: Kjell Caminha

2022 Introduction Summer Course

The Introduction to Contemporary Arts and Politics (15ECTS) (Code: VFSPOL) course at Hdk-Valand, University of Gothenburg is a summer course that has been based on a combination of online presentations and seminars, together with face-to-face intensive workshops taking place in different cities each year between early June and late August. For the 2022 course there will be approximately twenty-five online sessions and there will be opportunities for informal group meet-ups in person at optional gatherings in:

(i) Kassel, Germany (Saturday 25 June);

(ii) Berlin, Germany (Saturday 23 July): and

(iii) Gothenburg, Sweden (Saturday 27 August).

(All subject to Covid19 travel conditions of course.)

This international course, delivered in English, introduces key political themes in relation to contemporary art practices, theories and institutions. It is informed by ongoing research and operates as a summer-long collaborative enquiry.

The 2022 course is delivered with particular focus on

(i) this year’s documenta fifteen (Kassel, Germany) and the animating idea of “lumbung”;

(ii) curatorial research, the question of exhibition and claims upon the political imaginary; and

(iii) the political economy of contemporary art.


On this page you will find information on:

  • 2022 Course Team
  • More about the course content
  • Last year's content as guideline
  • Draft Course Schedule for 2022
  • About previous editions of the course

2022 Course Team

This year the teaching team comprises: Nick Aikens, Nkule Mabaso, Corina Oprea, Thiago de Paula Souza, Mick Wilson and guests.


More about the course content

Topics covered in the course include competing accounts of the political/politics; different readings of the emergence of the aesthetic within colonial-modernity; the nature of exhibition; the geopolitics of the art world's globalism(s); figures of noso-, bio-, thanato-, and necro- politics; feminism and the question of eurocentrism; ecological practices and climate change responses; the political imaginary; the shift from institutional critique to infrastructural activism; the tensions between 'politics of representation' and 'post-representational' thinking; the question of the subject; modes of collectivity; and many other key themes.

The course offers an introduction to a wide range of materials and practices. It is driven by a research agenda, rather than a resolved position. The course attempts to recast the question "what are the relationships between art and politics?" into an enquiry about how the two terms, taken in conjunction, may enable an interrogation of how they each are enacted as fundamentally contested categories.

A key issue considered is the variety of ways in which a separation and distinction between "art" and "politics" has been historically produced and reproduced.  The presumption of the "and" that bridges between the two terms, also marks a division which it is necessary to interrogate. Early in the course there is a basic consideration of the different ways in which the domain of the enquiry is constructed.

Acknowledging the complex field of theoretical, critical and activist positions that operate in the interaction/conjunction of practices of art and practices of the political, the course takes a partial survey approach, and does not claim to be comprehensive, but does seek to achieve breadth. The course interrogates the different claims for contemporary art's political agency and political saliency, rather than accepting these at face value.

The course is also closely informed by the research activities of Hdk-Valand and the work of the platforms: L'Internationale OnlinePARSE Journal of Artistic Research, and PARSE partnerships with Afterall Books: Exhibition Histories and VECTOR Studio, Iasi.

Detailed schedule of course content (lecture topics, seminars and workshops) and the reading list for 2022 will be posted Monday 11th April 2022.


Last year's content as guideline

You can view last year's material here as a general indication of the course orientation.



Review on last day of Berlin workshop, 2018. Photo: Kjell Caminha.

Draft Course Schedule 2022

Times are CET (Swedish time).

M  6 June 15:00-18:00
Tu 7 June 16:00-18:00

W 8 June 16:00-18:00
Th 9 June 16:00-18:00

M 13 June 16:00-18:00
Tu 14 June 16:00-18:00
W 15 June 16:00-18:00
Fr 17 June 16:00-18:00

Th 23 June 16:00-18:00

Tu 28 June 16:00-18:00
W 29 June 16:00-18:00
Th 30 June 16:00-18:00

M 18 July 16:00-18:00
Tu 19 July 16:00-18:00
Th 21 July 16:00-18:00
Fr 22 July 16:00-18:00

W 11 August 16:00-18:00
Th 12 August 16:00-18:00
F 13 August 16:00-18:00

M 15 August 16:00-18:00
Tu 16 August 16:00-18:00
W 17 August 16:00-18:00

Th 18 August 16:00-18:00

W 24 August 16:00-18:00
Th 25 August 16:00-18:00

About previous editions of the course

Participants are normally expected to actively engage online, and to attend at least one meet-up session if feasible, and more of desired. Typically there are three face-to-face sessions opportunities, each in a different city. In 2022 these are in Kassel, Berlin and Gothenburg. In 2021 this was waived because of covid19 disruptions. In 2020 the cities nominated are Bucharest. (June) Dublin (August) and Gothenburg (August). In 2019 the cities nominated were Stockholm (June) Venice (July) and Gothenburg (August). In 2018 the cities nominated were Berlin (June) London (June) and Gothenburg (August). We typically collaborate with different partners in each city to develop an interesting and challenging programme of activities at each intensive. 

In previous years speakers at collaborative events have included: Cătălin Gheorghe (2021), Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić (2021), Vladimir Us (2021), Vasyl Cherepanyn (2021), Paul O'Neill (2020), Anselm Franke (2020), Steven Henry Madoff (2020), QAYYEM (2020), Haseeb Ahmed (2019), Georgina Jackson (2019), Kathrin Böhm (London, 2018), Prem Krishnamurthy & Emily Smith (Berlin, 2018), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Berlin, 2018), and Paul B. Preciado (Berlin, 2018).

The teaching team has comprised at different times: Prof. Dave Beech,  Jason E. Bowman,  Kjell Caminha, Daniel Jewesbury, Prof. Andrea Phillips, Fredrik Svensk, Sarah Tuck,  Arne Kjell Vikhagen and Prof. Mick Wilson.

Application period is February 18 to March 15 2022. Application via  (for international applicants) and via (for Swedish applicants).

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