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Zurich University of the Arts

Z-Node | Interface Culture | Doctoral Programme Scenography

Zurich, Switzerland

Z-Node 2004
Interface Culture 2004
Doctorate Program Scenography 2006

Design, music, performing arts, film, media-arts

Degrees offered
Master of Advanced Studies (MAS), PhD

Number of third cycle students
44 (18 in Doctorate Program Scenography, 17 in Z-Node, 9 in Interface Culture)

MAS (Scenography) 2 years, PhD 3 years.

Doctoral programmes in the arts at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) result from partnerships between research institutes at the ZHdK’s departments and other universities:
  • Z-Node between the Institute of Cultural Studies, ZHdK and the School of Technology, Communication and Electronics, University of Plymouth. It is part of the Planetary Collegium, with another “M-Node” in Milan.
  • Interface Culture between the departments of Interaction Design | Game Design and Art & Media, ZHdK, and Kunstuniversität (University of Art & Design) Linz.
  • Scenography between the Institute for Design and Technology, ZHdK and the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies, University of Vienna
PhD Graduates in Scenography receive a double degree (MAS from ZHdK, PhD from University of Vienna). Interface Culture also hosts an MA programme at Kunstuniversität Linz.
There are further individual PhD projects in partnership at ZHdK, and a joint PhD programme for Cultural Analysis with Kunstuniversität Linz.

An MA degree or Diplom is required for doctoral studies. Application for Interface Culture is closed.
All programmes combine theory and practice, and have an interdisciplinary approach. In Scenography the emphasis is on extending the theory and practice of scenography beyond the theatre; in Interface culture it is on human-machine interaction; Z-Node combines the use of media and technology with a focus on its social and cultural impact. Doctoral students are not required to work from Zurich, and many work from abroad. They convene on several extended workshops/seminars each year.
The requirements for the dissertation vary according to the regulations of the partner institution.

Publications and conferences
Projects from Interface Culture are presented yearly at Ars Electronica, Linz.
Scenography hosts a series of symposia Monitoring Scenography (3 volumes of proceedings published to date) and is actively involved in the Prague Quadriennial of Performance Design and Space.
Z-node takes part in the yearly Consciousness Reframed conferences organized by Planetary Collegium since 1997 in Vienna, Munich, Plymouth, Perth, Beijing, and Newport (Wales).
ZHdK organizes a yearly conference on artistic research under the auspices of ELIA. The proceedings of the first conference, Art and Artistic Research, have been published as Zurich Yearbook of the Arts vol. 6.

In general, PhD students have two supervisors, one from each partner institution. The requirements for supervision vary according to the regulations of the partner institution.

Embedding within the institution
ZHdK has five departments: Design | Performing Arts and Film | Cultural Analysis | Art & Media | Music, which host a total of ten research institutes. All departments except Art & Media offer two-year postgraduate MAS programmes.
The “transdisciplinary atelier” within the ZHdK provides a platform for art-science-encounters through forums, symposia and publications.

The fee for Scenography is CHF 10.000/year. For Interface Culture, it is the standard Austrian study fee – for EU students within the set study time, none.