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The courses offered by the Institute of Art Theory and Cultural Studies (IKW) are anchored in historical and social theoretical research, with a strong emphasis on contemporary diagnoses, and are aimed at students in all fields of study. The combination of theory and practice, art and discourse, and scientific and artistic research takes into account the fact that the study profiles at art colleges have developed in a trans- and interdisciplinary way. The development and mediation of art therefore incorporates art and media studies, sociological and philosophical discourses as well as gender, queer and de- and postcolonial studies. 

The teaching of art and cultural studies, philosophical, sociological and media theoretical content and methods aims at historical contextualization and discursive deepening of artistic studies. At the same time, the courses offered by the IKW prepare students for exhibition, publication and mediation occupations in the context of contemporary art as well as for ensuing fields of research.

The subjects range from pre-modern, modern, and post-modern art history and theory, cultural studies with a focus on gender and postcolonial studies and on diaspora aesthetics, to sociology, philosophy and aesthetic theory, media and science theory, and popular cultures, performance practice, and social movements.

The fields of study supervised by the IKW include cultural studies subjects within the framework of the Fine Arts, Architecture, Conservation-Restoration, and Stage Design programs, as well as a master’s degree in Critical Studies, Dr. Phil., and PhD in Practice.

There is interdisciplinary cooperation between all institutes, especially with regard to the master’s in Critical Studies; the PhD in Practice is based on a close cooperation between the IKW and the IBK, which jointly conduct entrance examinations.

The IKW’s research focuses on the entire spectrum of art and cultural studies, philosophical, aesthetic, media and popular culture, (cultural-)political and socio-social topics and discourses; the Critical Studies course forms an overarching content-related and methodological arc.

The IKW’s international orientation currently consists of cooperations with European, African, and Latin American universities – this primarily with a focus on transcultural and migration policy perspectives.

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