The Master Institute of Visual Cultures sets out to widen the debate on where we can take artistic education and establishes further the impetus for developing an art and design research culture. The institution will play a vital role in generating new ways of thinking and innovative creative practice, empowering our learning community (both students and tutors) towards excellence through artistic research, scholarship and knowledge exchange.

Our distinct pathways/programmes of study in art and design, facilitate political and socio-economic key issues. In the period 2019-2021, our educational programmes will address urgent global challenges of the twenty-first century. We will connect to six thematic currents in the field:

  • Migrant Aesthetics
  • Heterodox Identities
  • Economics of production
  • Emerging technologies
  • Ecological Degradation
  • Creative Industries

Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology

At the Master Institute we work closely with the professors and research groups from the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology (Caradt). Many of our tutors hold a research position at Caradt where they develop projects, which then feed into the curriculum. Through research-led teaching, educational activities are aligned to our distinct research pathways and this is disseminated across our programmes.


Research Groups

Research is commissioned by and conducted in collaboration with the St. Joost School of Fine Art and Design and the Avans Communication & Multimedia Design courses. The future artists and designers of Avans University of Applied Sciences assist with research, making a valuable contribution to the field and the economy. The guiding principles are the value of knowledge in itself and the importance of applying it in education and in the professional field. The aim is for research to lead to an even better relationship between education and professional practice, while preparing students for their future roles as highly skilled, reflective professionals.

Research Group Autonomy in Art, Design & Technology

This research group explores processes of autonomy  in art, design and technology. The main theme is Autonomy as Performative Defiance. Subsidiary research themes are:

  1. Authorship/usership. Visual artists, designers and photographers are authors, but they can also act as assistants, initiators, curators and mediators. The Research Group Autonomy looks at how authorship should be understood and applied in the contemporary era. 
  2. Interdisciplinary collaboration. For economic, social and artistic reasons, autonomous artists have long sought association with each other through multidisciplinary fellowships. Today, however, the nature of the collective collaborations appears to be changing. The Research Group Autonomy looks into how vocational art education can respond to these current shifts.
  3. The changing role of the artist. Artists’ professional practice has been undergoing significant changes. The stereotype of the artist working in the studio in total isolation from the outside world conforms less and less with present-day reality. In this light, the Research Group Autonomy scrutinises the persistence of binary oppositions such as: specialists versus generalists, craftsmanship versus technique, and internationalisation versus regionalisation.

Research Group Human-Centred Creation in Art, Design and Technology

This research group explores creation from the user’s perspective. The central concern is the user’s working or living environment and how he or she experiences it; users are actively involved in the creative process.

Practice-based research into human-oriented creation provides opportunities for making an abstract ideal – giving the user a central role – realistic. It also enables students to become professionals who remain engaged in research and have mastered techniques for articulating the position and problems of the user. Finally, the focus of this research group lends itself to interdisciplinary projects in which artists and designers make innovative contributions to domains such as energy, safety and care. The main research theme is Situated Art and Design.

On Situatedness Designed products often turn out to be misaligned with how people actually use them; a major reason is that they are designed in the relatively sterile environment of the studio, while the context of real-world use is much more erratic. The main mistake in many design processes is a failure to consider the target user in the context of daily life. The same fundamental error is often made in theoretical research concerning users. Subsidiary research themes within this programme are: 

  1. Situated experience, 
  2. Situated appreciation, and
  3. Situated creation.

Research Group Biobased Art and Design

This research group is a platform for practice-oriented art and design research into the understanding and development of biobased raw materials and processes.

The research group is a collaboration of Avans University of Applied Sciences and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.