Master of Arts program - Research in Design, Art and Media

The question of how we create, disseminate, and interpret knowledge in an evolving media landscape sits at the heart of Merz Akademie’s transdisciplinary master’s program. The Master of Arts program Research in Design, Art and Media is aimed at individuals who seek to develop new methods for practice-based artistic research and production.

Master students and Prof. David Quigley at the international conference "New Narratives 2", Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart

The program welcomes graduates with degrees in film, art or design, as well as scholars with a university background. Merz Akademie equips students to rigorously interrogate the complex questions of a media-saturated world and generate new and meaningful insight. We realize these aims through a combination of in-depth education in theory and critical analysis and an emphasis on practical design and tech skills, grounded in an individualized and interdisciplinary approach to learning.

Interdisciplinary Approach

The ubiquity and ease of producing and disseminating digital video, audio, photography, graphic design and VR technology today has created new spaces for creative expression, new ways of conceiving artistic practices and communicating research. Artists, designers and humanities scholars alike must come to terms with a mediascape comprised of multiple formats – from text and data to audiovisual and interactive web. The importance of interdisciplinary fluency is more pronounced than ever, necessitating exploratory solutions to emerging and ever-changing challenges.

Presentation of the master projects in winter semester 2018/19

Supported by a strong practical and theoretical background, master’s students at Merz Akademie are encouraged to experiment with a variety of relevant media and technologies, developing a distinctive creative practice within an interdisciplinary and intermedial context in order to create new forms of insight, new modes of grappling with a rapidly-changing world.

The master’s program supports students who wish to engage in a wide range of contemporary crossmedia practices including video essays, podcasts, journalism, social media and community networking, web design, VR, film and video, and digital art and design. Through a discipline-defying curriculum, students learn to engage with evolving possibilities for communication. Students develop not only technical but theoretical and ethical frameworks for their practices, equipping them to apply their knowledge thoughtfully, flexibly, and resiliently.

Support to Pursue Your Research Interests

Research in Design, Art and Media: We take the title of the program seriously. Our goal is to use design, art and media as tools for research – not merely to conduct research about them. We empower students to produce thoughtful intermedial research and creative projects in response to these questions, supporting them with close mentorship and offering them the freedom to pursue their studies in diverse directions.

The program is highly personalized, centering on intimate collaboration and individualized advising. Students work with professor-mentors in their self-identified fields of specialization and are given exceptional freedom to select their own route. The program’s interdisciplinary nature allows it to be both individualized and collaboratively-grounded: whatever route you choose, we will support your work and draw connections between your practice and that of others, opening new lines of inquiry and exploration.

In interdisciplinary teams, jointly led by professors of theory and design, students’ projects are developed on the basis of intensive research. Each student is supervised by a team of professors from different subject areas. A comprehensive artistic theory course together with a media theory course and a weekly 6-hour plenary session based on project work are at the center of studies, complimented by individual one-on-one work with advisory professors.

The open, interdisciplinary and international learning environment serves as a „laboratory“ for experiments and the exchange of cross-media research and narratives.

Master students organize exhibitions and events such as "DIY documenta"

Careers for the Future

Over the past 30 years, digital media forms and formats have revolutionized the text- and print-based practices that once governed research and communication. The traditional roles of both the artist and humanities scholar are in flux, struggling to respond to the exigencies of a changing world.  As digital communication and curatorship play an increasingly important role in in the artistic and applied realms, the importance of an education that plays across realms has never been more profound.

In addition to an autonomous artistic or academic practice, our graduates are able to take on responsible positions in the cultural sector and initiate and realize projects in the media, independent design, art, filmmaking, and curating. Graduates from our program have found jobs in radio, television, academia, journalism, museums, and  the public cultural sector.

Graduates are able to identify socially relevant topics, to outline and work on open questions based on these topics, and to articulate their findings in an engaging media format. The program’s interdisciplinary emphasis ensures that students will be well-equipped to enter the workforce with a competitive advantage thanks to their breadth of knowledge and multi-faceted, adaptable creative toolkit.

Master Workshop Deep Focus

Requirements

Depending on the requirements, the program is organized in three or four semesters. Graduates of diploma or 7-semester Bachelor programs (210 ECTS) study three semesters (starting in the winter semester). Graduates of 6-semester degree programs (180 ECTS) go through a one-semester introductory phase in advance (start in the summer semester).

In this pre-semester, academically trained students are introduced to the practical handling of various media and the basics of video production, new media and print media design are developed. Students who have worked primarily in the field of design and art will be prepared for participation in research and science-oriented projects.

At the time of application, all students should speak at least B2 level English and are required to have C1 level English at the conclusion of their studies. Non-German-speaking students are also expected to have at least B1 level German at the end of their studies.