Master in Fine Arts - MAPS

Master of Arts in Public Spheres


Degree awarded: Master of Arts HES-SO in Fine Arts, major in MAPS - Master of Arts in Public Spheres

MAPS – Master of Arts in Public Spheres – is geared to artists, who wish to explore the relationship between art and environmental, political, cultural, and media-related dimensions of the public sphere. The multi-sited two-year program is part of the HES-SO University of Applied Arts and Sciences and foregrounds travelling and displacing as part of its experimental approach to artistic research.

The program is composed of eight stations per year, each consisting of 7-10 days, in which the student’s work becomes a starting point for continuous reflections and artistic exchange. These fluid node points with their various forms of (un-)learning, include research activities, seminars and workshops, screenings, performances, exhibition making, collective discussions and face to face discussions. Stations are conceived by visiting lecturers, students and tutors and foster highly concentrated and convivial moments during which the participants interrogate the public spheres by intervening artistically, investigating environmentally and socially engaged art practices, considering writing and publishing as an artistic practice, and adopting alternative approaches to pedagogy.

In between the stations, the artists continue their research individually or within self-organized Study Groups, a process that is supported by tutors. Due to the program’s pluri-national context, collective exchange usually take place in English. However, Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish are frequently spoken languages among tutors and students and navigating in-between linguistic spaces has become a common practice.

The MAPS home base is located in the alpine town of Sierre in the canton of Valais. Surrounded by an idyllic landscape, the valley is also witness to (post-)industrial development and has become an international laboratory for studying the effects of climate change. Situated at the crossroads between several language borders, Sierre is well connected to various regions of Switzerland as well as to Italy and thus offers access to a broad view on cultural practices. From here we operate and provide fundamental infrastructure.

Some of the stations take place in Valais, and others outside and in exchange with national and international institutions as well as independent art spaces or initiatives with which MAPS has established a sustainable network. Recent partners and hosts include, among others, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (IT), the Vilnius Academy of the Arts and the Nida Art Colony (LT), TRAIN – Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation of Chelsea College of the Arts London (UK), the Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella (IT), Walking Encounters in Psarades (Florina School of the Arts, Greece), the far° Festival in Nyon, the Arsenic (Centre d'art scénique contemporain) in Lausanne, CAN - Centre d’art Neuchâtel and VOLUMES – Independent Art Publishing Fair, Zurich.

Current research questions investigated by the faculty include art and labour, politics of attention, environmental crises, speculative narratives, transformation through repetition, critical site-specificities as well as feminist, post and decolonial art histories.

Collaborations with art residency programs such as the Villa Ruffieux (Sierre) or La Becque (La Tour-de-Peilz), offer a fluid transition between the program and the ensuing artistic career. The program’s sustainability is also founded on the regular contributions of alumni whom MAPS support as artists, cultural agents and co-researchers.


Dean of the Fine Arts

Valérie Félix

Head of the MAPS – Master of Arts in Public Spheres

Petra Koehle and Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin

Guests 2021/23

Madeleine Amsler, Martina Angelotti, Kenza Benabderrazik, Denise Bertschi, Mabe Bethônico, Cecilia Canziani, Dayron Carrillo Morell, Eduardo Cruces, Alexios Dallas, Anna Daneri, Silvie Defraoui, Kadiatou Diallo, Céline Eidenbenz, Patricia Ellis, Anne-Laure Franchette, Paul Goodwin, Samia Henni, Martin Jakob, Dominique Koch, Lucie Kolb, Vana Kostayola, Nicolas Kramar, Elke Krasny, David Lemaire, Antonio Lavarello, Federico Luisetti, Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson, Zen Marie, Callisto McNulty, Uriel Orlow, Janis Osolin, RELAX chiarenza & hauser & co, Georg Rutishauser, Aria Spinelli, Stalker, Riikka Tauriainen, TETI Group (Anne-Laure Franchette et Gabriel Gee), Despoina Zelfkili


Admission is competitive. Qualifications required: arts or applied arts school diploma, university degree in a related field or equivalent training or experience


The applications have to be submitted online by April 3 2023. Only completed and validated online forms are considered. Admission interviews take place on Mai 4 and 5 2023.

More Informatione

Presentation of the MAPS - Master of Arts in Public Spheres by Federica Martini: Click to listen

Presentation of the Bachelor in Fine Arts and of the MAPS - Master of Arts in Public Spheres by Camille Villetard and Matthieu Barbezat (duo Barbezat-Villetard), who both studied at the EDHEA

Wyss Foundation scholarship

The Wyss Foundation scholarship is for international emerging artists from Africa, Asia or latin America, including Latin America and the Middle East. It is awarded to MAPS students by the Hansjoerg Wyss Foundation.

Selection criteria for the Wyss Scholarship

Candidates who have taken the entrance examination for the Master in Visual Arts programme at the EDHEA are eligible for the Wyss Scholarship.
The EDHEA Masters faculty provides a preliminary ranking of candidates eligible for scholarships.

Values and principles:

  1. The aim of the Wyss Scholarship is to support emerging artists from the south.

  2. The evolution of inequalities and conflicts in the modern world influences ‘artistic geography’. In this context of constant change, the Wyss Scholarship focuses on developing countries, characterised by the lack of social and/or economic inaccessibility of a study programme equivalent to those provided by the EDHEA.

  3. The EDHEA is committed to developing long-term exchanges with the cultural scenes of the native countries of scholarship students. Since 2012, stable partnerships have been established particularly with Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, southern Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa and Zimbabwe, thanks to the involvement of alumni scholars.

  4. The EDHEA considers the Wyss Scholarship as a tool to open up its art education to multi-faceted teaching, built on diversity where differences are respected.

Criteria for inclusion:

  1. The Wyss Scholarship is only awarded once while studying at the EDHEA. Students who received a scholarship while studying for a Bachelors degree at the EDHEA cannot therefore apply for a MAPS Masters scholarship.

  2. Age criteria: Candidates up to the age of 30 can apply for the Wyss Scholarship.

  3. Previous education: Bachelors degree in Visual Arts or an equivalent qualification according to HES-SO regulations; candidates do not hold a Masters in Visual Arts.

  4. Residence at the time of application and previous countries of residence:
    a. Candidates are not resident in Europe at the time of application;
    b. Applications from artists having lived in Europe for a maximum of 6 months may be considered, after consultation with a representative from the Wyss Foundation.

Assessment criteria:

  1. Quality of the application and portfolio – taking age and previous experience into consideration. Notably:
    a. Commitment displayed in the cover letter;
    b. Commitment to forms of contemporary art engaged with the local community, society and alternative cultures.
  2. Sufficient knowledge of the French language for the Bachelors degree and English for the Masters degree is a basic requirement to be able to work and discuss with students, professors and associates at the EDHEA.
  3. Consistency between the motivation to work in Switzerland, at the EDHEA and their research proposal.
  4. Knowledge of the EDHEA and the programme for which the candidate is applying.

Selection of projects

See all projects