VU University Research Master's Programme

A call for applications for VU University's Research Master's Programme Visual Arts, Media and Architecture (VAMA) has gone out on the Art & Education list.

The conditions under which academic teaching and research take place are rapidly deteriorating in the Netherlands, and across much of Europe. In his farewell speech for visiting professor Jae Emerling before the holidays, my colleague Wouter Davidts invoked Adorno's short text "IQ" from Minima Moralia,  "about the fate of intellectual labor in an era of an ever-growing technocracy," in which thought is constantly disciplined by being subjected to performance checks. One should not forget that Adorno's stark and total indictments were always coupled with what is fundamentally a labour of optimism: with teaching, and in doing so making the most of the framework, bending it to meet needs unforeseen by politico-economical imperatives. 

All over Europe, faculties are trying to do just that, often against opposition from managers and members of the "support staff." As a two-year programme in which advanced students in art history and related disciplines can develop their intellectual capacities and their research skills and research agenda, I believe that VAMA is doing quite a good job at doing what matters. Due to a bit of classic bureaucratic obstructionism from a "communication consultant" employed by the university, a link to the blog that gives an impression of VAMA's activities was omitted from the announcement; it can be found

An announcement on an international mailing list such as this is itself a symptom of the economistic logic that forces us to grow or perish. But while this may not be the kind
of internationalization that we aspire to, it does have good effects on the student population, which has become more diverse and ambitious. The real problem is of course that international students are increasingly seen as cash cows, with manifests itself in rising tuition for students from non-EEA countries in particular. There is, however, the possibility of applying for a VU Fellowship. Information on tuition fees can be found here, and on the fellowship programme here.

The deadline for applications is 1 April, or 1 March if you apply for the fellowship program.

Image: Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Supposing I love you. And you also love me, 2001 (production still)