Collective Practices Research Course

Cecilia Vicuña, El Paro / The Strike, 2018, after the lost original 1977. Oil on linen. 54 x 63.5 x 1 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul


Explicitly or not collective practices determine much of what we do. They are qualified by terms like ‘participation, group, collectivity, ensemble, collaboration, community, cooperation, sharing, assembly, commons, networks’. Collective practices exist in all societies and they have a rich yet complex heritage in arts, politics and sciences. Often considered as a strictly human activity, collective practices can also be performed with or by nonhuman entities, such as animals, plants or Artificial Intelligence.How does the current ecological and technological condition affect the way that we live, work and think collectively? Which collective practices foster better understandings and transformation of societal issues?

The course aims to develop an extensive understanding of collective practices in the arts and across other domains and traditions, proposing an experimental method for mutual learning, based on the elaboration of a repertoire of collective practices. The group will teach each other about the current researches, publications and projects involving collective practices in the arts, sciences and society. A seminar will gather specialists to address current controversies and experimentations across domains: through lectures and workshops they will inquire the collective dimensions of key notions like ‘preservation, truth, composition, nonhumans, assembly, community, infrastructure and attention’. The repertoire will embrace attitudes, activities, tools and infrastructures developed by individuals and organizations to critically reflect on the ownership, the governance and the separation of disciplines, and to assemble a more inclusive and sustainable society. 

Collective Practices Research Course is led by Grégory Castéra, curator and co-director of Council (Paris) in collaboration with a faculty of artists and art collectives, curators, academics, and practitioners from other fields. Collective Practices Research Course is a Post-master by the Royal Institute of Art developed in collaboration with Council.

Practical information

The course operates as a practice-based research collective, organized around principles of mutual learning. It consists in the conception and composition of a repertoire of collective practices, encompassing: collective readings, seminars and workshops, group supervision, lectures and site visits. The students and faculty take part in the governance and coordination of the research and form groups to study, experiment with and archive practices that they find relevant to include in the repertoire. 

The course is divided into two modules during one academic year. The semester is divided into six mandatory blocks during the Fall and Spring semester. Between blocks, the students independently develop their part of the research. They can use the school facilities for their own individual practice. The Spring semester will include public presentations of the repertoire.

In order to fully benefit from the collective research atmosphere, we strongly advise to reside in Stockholm. However, we understand that this is not always possible, therefore non-resident students are asked to attend a minimum of six blocks and to submit substitute assignments. The course will also offer field trips in Sweden and abroad. Course participants are expected to pay for part of the costs. The field trips are not mandatory and for those who are unable to take part a substitute assignment will be given.

The course benefits from being located in an art institution of higher learning characterized by an experimental artistic research environment. At the end of the first semester it is possible for course participants to apply for university funding in order to develop their research projects and present it to a wider public during the research week. 

Read more: Course Syllabus

Admission requirements

Master degree or minimum four years of professional experience in the arts (visual arts, architecture, design, performing arts, cinema, curatorial studies, crafts) or social sciences (anthropology, education, philosophy, linguistics, law, cultural studies, political sciences, history), or in another relevant field or equivalent knowledge (activism, agriculture, engineering, for example). 

The course is intended for those who are concerned with the social, political and ecological dimensions of collective practice. Twelve to twenty students are selected. The selection is based on a CV, a short personal letter of interest and the presentation of a work that is related to the theme of the course. In the letter, the candidate should demonstrate in which ways the conceptual frame of the course is relevant for her/his study. A short online interview will be part of the final selection.

If you do not have a formal education in accordance with the stated course requirements, you must show that you meet the requirements through a validation process of prior learning. In order to claim competence through prior learning, objectives as set out in the Higher Education Ordinance for an artistic master’s degree must be fulfilled. Read more here. The applicant is responsible for submitting relevant documents which can be analysed in relation to the stated course requirements.

Information about entry requirements for a Master’s degree.

Application closes: Tuesday 5 May 2020.

Any interviews will take place during week 20.

The Royal Institute of Art is public institution and it is free for participants that reside in Europe. Non-European residents can apply for a scholarship that cover the annual fee required for non-European residents.


Guest professor Grégory Castéra: or