Close menu

Material Incubator

Powered by Caradt, MNEXT and Delft University of Technology

Ecology Futures

Master pathway – Be the Future of something else

We live in a time of ecological catastrophes, in which the realities of environmental collapse are starting to reveal their impact on society. Artists and designers have a major task to identify, critique and design the narrative around ecological degradation. This is where Ecology Futures comes into play.

Ecology Futures focuses on the role of new media art and design research in interpreting, analyzing, critiquing, experiencing and visualizing ecological degradation and its broad network of cause and effect. At its core, it considers societal, political, economic, and environmental issues as ecological, and unpacks its complexities through a multitude of transdisciplinary methodologies and theories. Students are invited to explore alternative realities from a position rooted in the knowledge of layers of complexity, avoiding oversimplification of facts and one-sided approaches. The course supports interdisciplinary art and design practice-led research, interconnected with science, technology and philosophy. If ecology is the science of all the relationships that make up the environment of organisms and living creatures in general, then Ecology Futures is proposing art and design as a way of examining the relationships that construct an environment.

The Ecology Futures course focuses on introducing students to artistic methodologies and technologies that are informed by science; conducting fieldwork, deep mapping, use of AI in text writing, use of opensource datasets and software, using earth observation data, sensory technologies, storytelling through science fiction writing, artistic journalism, material research and microbiology. Students are educated in a professional interdisciplinary context. The course promotes a tactic based on DIY/DIT principles, supporting students to become independent professionals who are inventive and able to develop novel approaches between disciplines.

Art-science collaborations are developed primarily through the Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design, and Technology (CARADT), specifically within the Biobased Art & Design research group currently led by Professor Dr. Elvin Karana. The research group are located in the Material Incubator (a bio lab) situated in the main hall of the building in which MIVC is located. The lab is operated by both professional microbiologists as well as artistic researchers from a broader network of institutions (WDKA, TU Delft) and its methodologies are embedded within the curriculum of this research course. Students are offered a unique opportunity to work in a professional lab environment that facilitates practice-led artistic research.

In response to the instability of this age, Ecology Futures is in constant flux. Negotiated between tutors and students, a critical attitude informs continuous curriculum appraisal, so that it is responsive to the requirements that arise through the multiplicity of student backgrounds, narratives and unfolding environmental crises.

Through the combined network of the Course Leader, the MIVC and CARADT, a distinct team of guest tutors contribute to the programme. Each tutor is currently breaking ground within their own specialism, and all have strong industry links that bring opportunities for students to connect to the professional field.

What are we providing?

This two-year high-performance Master course is directed towards helping everyone realize their individual creative potential. This is achieved through a fully integrated approach to the rapidly expanding field of ecology, combined with contextual research in Visual Culture. Through the imaginary potential of artistic practices, art is a form of knowledge that contributes to the many fields of inquiry and reflects on the countless ways in which knowledges are created.

Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, students learn to critically and creatively integrate their studio work with the acquisition of theoretical principles relevant to innovatory studio practice, in relation to the extensive context of design, audiovisual art, interactive media and digital culture. Students gain access to the formidable expertise and resources of our educational and industry partners.

Taking account of sector needs in creative employment, students at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures benefit from direct access to the industry network and execute assignments in collaboration with our partners, allowing them to test their abilities with confidence within a professional context. Our alumni form an invaluable international network of creatives. Each year we offer teaching opportunities to support and build this vibrant ecosystem.

Programme Specification

Duration of study: 24 months (4 semesters)
Mode of study: Full time
Award: Master of Fine Art and Design
Credits: 120
Awarding institution: Avans University of Applied Sciences
Board of studies: St. Joost School of Art and Design

We offer students a unique interdisciplinary (taught, research and knowledge exchange) programme of art & design activities, fostering key areas of research and scholarship in a much broader spectrum of art and design practices, while at the same time building a bridge with science and technology. Across all our courses, practice and theory are co-taught, encouraging knowledge generation in relation to current social issues and civic urgencies that are relevant today, where the value of creativity, agency and critical production is understood as key for social change.

The interdisciplinary curriculum across the MA FAD offers students flexibility, as well as a fixed programme of mandatory courses and elective modules that are shared across our MA courses in Situated Design, Visual Arts and Post-Contemporary Practice and Ecology Futures. Fixed elements are: Independent Studio Practice, General Academic Studies (GAS), Professional Practice and Research Seminars (course specific). Flexible elements allow students to design their own curriculum through: Elective Modules, Tutorials (one-to-one and group), Skills Based Workshops, Lectures, Excursions and Group Critiques. Residencies, Internships, PhD preparatory trajectory and Caradt Research Fellowships offer students the possibility to broaden the spectrum of their personal curriculum choices.

Learning Tracks

The learning track of each semester of the MA FAD programme is as follows:
Semester 1 Context & Skills Learning
Semester 2 Co-research and External Enquiry in the Field
Semester 3 Consolidation of Practice-led Research
Semester 4 Graduation Phase

More information >