Autumn 2023 will witness the launch of the new Contemporary Arts Practice (CAP) master’s degree programme. What exactly can we expect from it?

Maria Gstättner-Heckel (MGH): Contemporary Arts Practice is an artistic and academic master’s degree programme. Students can choose one of several study profiles, all of which qualify them to develop and implement collaborative inter- and transdisciplinary artistic and audience engagement projects. The following study profiles will be on offer: Elemental Music-Making (EM), Improvisor*Composer-Performer (IComP), Music Mediation/Community Music (MM/CM), and Transmedia Performance (TMP).

How did the idea of establishing something like this at the mdw come about, and to what extent will it serve to complement existing programmes of study?

MGH: This master’s degree programme expands the mdw’s academic offerings so that musicians, performers, and audience engagement specialists can specialise in the fields of elemental music-making, improvisation*composing-performing, music mediation/community music, and transmedia performance art while also enjoying opportunities to engage in theoretical reflection upon their artistic doings as well as participate in a multitude of artistic and collaborative projects. It responds to a need for professionally trained artists in the abovementioned fields, which are growing more and more important.

Who can and should apply?

MGH: People with completed bachelor’s degrees and diplomas in instrumental and vocal music, dance, and acting are just as welcome as are people from other artistic and cultural fields including musicological studies who exhibit the appropriate artistic suitability and are looking to pursue interesting artistic projects.

What skills does one acquire in this degree programme, and where can they be applied professionally?

MGH: This programme is very practice-oriented. No matter whether one’s an instrumentalist, an actor, a music mediator, a composer, a singer, or a performer…: in all of these areas, there exist opportunities to realise projects from their conception to their actual conduct (including the final accounting). For this reason, our new programme of study revolves around developing, theoretically grounding, and realising a project of one’s own in the context of one of the four available profiles. The qualification being offered here encompasses engagement with artistic forms of expression, techniques, and processes, adding depth to one’s own artistic language, collaborative modes of work, the academic undergirding of artistic practice, familiarisation with the socioeconomic and/or socio-political structures of the various cultural landscapes, and competencies having to do with organisational and self-management. Areas where our four study profiles interface include the translation and transformation of momentary events into independent artistic forms, inter- and transdisciplinary artistic practice, and the creation of spaces and exploration of inclusive practices aimed at negotiating and reinforcing cultural participation and sharing.

A long developmental process supported by mdw experts from various fields went into this curriculum’s creation. The outcome is a master’s degree programme that is entirely unique and has already received commensurate international attention in the relevant fields. I wish the protagonists of this programme of study and their future students every success; I know how much blood, sweat, tears, and passion went into the work behind its development! My heartfelt thanks also go out to em. o. Univ.-Prof. Peter Röbke, who contributed important impulses during the initial conceptualisation phase!

Barbara Gisler-Haase, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Young Artists’ Promotion, mdw

Registration is possible up to and including 5 June 2023.

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