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 2023/24

Mohamed Abdelkarim, Noor Abuarafeh, Saâdane Afif, Emanuele Braga, Bureau des guides du GR2013, Anne-Laure Franchette, Fucking Good Art (Robert Hamelijnck &S Nienke Terpsma), Cecilia Guida, Toni Hildebrandt, Pauline Julier, Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, Janis Osolin, Marina Rosenfeld, Linda Sanchez/Baptiste Croze, Aria Spinelli, Evelyn Steiner

More Information

Presentation of the Bachelor of Fine Arts and of the MAPS - Master of Arts in Public Spheres by Valérie Félix: 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


Admission is competitive.

Entry requirements
The admission requirements for the HES-SO Master’s degree in Visual Arts are: BA degree or equivalent academic qualifications/experience.

Registration fee
In order to guarantee the validation of their registration, candidates have to pay the registration fee of CHF 150.– when they apply.

Your application must include:

  • a cover letter outlining your artistic experience and previous training, your educational goals and your artistic and theoretical interests in the public sphere (max. 2 pages);
  • a full CV;
  • a project proposal for your Master’s degree that details your research questions and references in the field (max. 3 pages);
  • a portfolio of your recent work and projects (max. 25 pages);
  • a reference letter;
  • a completed application form;
  • a copy or a scan of your diplomas/certificates;
  • a or a scan copy of your ID document (passport or ID card).

The applications have to be submitted online by March 25 2024. Only completed and validated online forms will be considered. Admission interviews will take place on Mai 7 and 8 2024.

A committee selects the candidates and invites them to an individual interview based on their application and research proposal. The selected candidates will be informed by email about the date and time of their interview.
Skype interviews can be arranged for candidates who live outside of Switzerland. Candidates are assessed based on their application, interview and research proposal. They will be informed individually by mail about the outcome of the interview.

Tuition fees: CHF 500.- per semester (CHF 1000.– per academic year)
Contribution to education costs and other services: CHF 350.- per semester (CHF 700.– per academic year))

For any information, please contact Petra Koehle or Nicolas Vermot-Petit-Outhenin, Head of the MAPS.

View the dates of online information sessions

Selection of projects

See all projects