Transart Admissions 2015

Why Transart?


Transart Institute offers full time, international Creative Practice MFA and PhD programs for working artists in highly individualized and independent formats. Students work wherever they live. The innovative MFA graduate school of fine arts consists of three intensive summer residencies with lectures, workshops, critiques, seminars, performances and exhibitions in Berlin and two winter intensives in New York. In the four semesters between residencies, students create their own course of study realizing individual art and research projects with the support of faculty and self-chosen artist advisors wherever they wish. The PhD is a three year program and only offered for creative research. This art university  MFA program is geared towards the development of a sustainable artistic praxis rather than training in certain media or genres, challenging students to think conceptually and work creatively in new ways.

Current students work in all genres and media based on what will best articulate their ideas. Transart students and alumni work with activism, animation, creative writing, choreography, curating, dance, cyberart, digital and new media, interventions, film/video, gaming, graphic design, installation, music, painting, performance, photography, robotics, sculpture, sound, text art, and video.


Memory, Forgetting, Trauma and the Archive; Language/Image; Gender; Software, Materiality and Mediality; International Diaspora and Post-Colonialism; Cultural Engagement through Food; Role of Art in Peace and Mediation; Performance Activism; Liminality; Space/Place; Temporary Architecture; Foreignness, Otherness and the Uncanny.

Transart Faculty comes from a wide range of academic and artistic backgrounds as well as geographic locations. Current theoretical areas of expertise include curatorial work; art activism, cyberfeminism; African diaspora; interface technologies; digital arts; continental philosophy; media; social studies in colonialism, capitalism, and tourism; word and image relationships; psychology, and contemporary Asian art history. Studio faculty include international artists working with sound, performance, dance and choreography, photography, drawing, sculpture, film and video, intervention, and installation.


What is the MFA Creative Practice?

A graduate MFA fine arts college in Art and  New Media with short residencies in Berlin & New York City with one-on-one advisement during the academic school year. The fine art program is based on the assumption that the student (and not any “educator”) is the expert on where the artistic practice should lead her. The MFA is designed to provide a protected space for experimentation and exchange of ideas in an intensive multi-perspective setting. The low residency model allows students to keep employment while they further their career.


Because of its structure of short but intense summer fine art classes and semester-long one-on-one advisement and due to its multi-disciplinary nature the program is extremely flexible. It has helped a wide range of artists develop their practice and bring it to the next level whether they worked in painting or social activism, or both, whether they lived and worked in Egypt or Iceland or Ethiopia, whether they were emerging artists or in the middle of an international career.


Students, as well as faculty, come from the widest range of practices, backgrounds and cultural settings. Every year the program attracts students from more than a dozen countries. With no single culture being a clear majority and everybody being a guest in another country many of our unspoken assumptions get a chance to be re-viewed.


Residencies operate at a level of intensity not found in campus-based programs. There are new format workshops, artist talks, lectures, pecha kuchas, walkshops, seminars, cultural tours to choose from; extensive individual and group critiques with artists and curators; and performances, pop-up events and exhibitions to participate in.


Ongoing connections, critique and support are essential ingredients for a vital artistic practice and successful career. For New York-based artist Virgil Wong, “the community I’ve become a part of through Transart is already much more immersive than what I’ve developed in ten years of living and working as an artist in New York City”. Once you have your degree Transart’s doors remain open. Alumni continue to participate in residencies by giving and receiving critiques, exhibiting, serving as program advisors, and as members of the newly formed Transartist Collective, an extension of the fine art school, members include Transart alumni, faculty, students and advisors.


Why a PhD in Fine Art?

Doctoral work is an opportunity to gain another level of expertise, to dive deeper into the questions that drive your artistic practice, to locate this practice in one or more appropriate contexts (relevant theories, ideas, agenda, historical and contemporary art practices). Depending on the specifics of the project, trans-disciplinary contributions to knowledge are also a real (and growing) possibility. It’s a very exciting time for artists.

What else will it do for me?

A PhD in Fine Art will put you at the top of the stack in competitive academic situations and helps you stand out in a pool of grant applicants.

What kind of work can I do on the PhD?

Anything creative that contributes to knowledge through art. Transart is particularly keen on proposals that in the widest sense explore space and inhabitation of space, the archive, documentary art making, language/image, diaspora and post-colonialism, software studies, network culture, performance, land and sea, and the role of art in peace, mediation and international relations.

Who will I be studying with?

Throughout your studies you participate fully in the Transart residency and can choose from a range of workshops and seminars with changing topics each summer. On the PhD project your first advisor (director of studies) will come from Transart, your second advisor from Plymouth University, a third can be added if needed. You will be part of an intimate group of artists who meet on a regular basis for critique and exchange.

Where do I start?

Discuss your project proposal with us. The purpose of the MPhil proposal is to frame an open question in which the artistic practice functions as the vehicle for finding answers rather than asking a question for which the artwork will illustrate a pre-defined answer. Neither does the artwork run parallel to the research nor does the research inform or contextualize the studio work as in traditional programs. Your artwork and the ideas that surround it are the research.


Transart Berlin Summer Academy Certificate Program

Artists and curators attend the Transart Summer Academy in Berlin for three weeks  to get a creative surge, get a fresh perspective on their work, revitalize their practice, experiment in a protected, supportive environment or to take their work in a new direction. Invited guest are typically mid-career artists and curators who wish to join graduate and doctoral students in workshops, lectures, critiques, exhibitions, and events. Guests have the opportunity to become members of the international Transartist Collective. Transart can also help you design a self-study program post-Certificate and support your praxis in the year to follow or advise you on an MFA or PhD proposal. Propose your own course of studies, including regular crit groups, advisors, proposal development and preparatory work for any of our academic programs. > MORE



Earth Awareness prize
The $4,000.00 “Transart Earth Awareness Prize” is awarded for Transart MFA work that raise environmental awareness and is exemplary in dealing with the many challenges we face in advancing stewardship for the earth. $500.00 Transart Summer Academy prize.

Social Change prize
A $4,000.00 “Transart Social Change Prize” is awarded for Transart MFA work championing social change through direct involvement with communities or through raising awareness on a specific issue. $500.00 Transart Summer Academy prize.

Peace and Mediation prize
The $4,000.00 “Transart Peace and Mediation Prize” is awarded each year for Transart MFA work dealing with the role of art in peace and mediation. $500.00 Transart Summer Academy prize.

Merit awards
“Transart Merit Awards” are given for Transart’s MFA and PhD programs to an applicant whose practice and proposed projects are of the highest level of artistic achievement. Award is not limited to any media, theme or specific field. $1,00.00 Transart Summer Academy award.


MFA $9,760 x 4 semesters
PhD $13,650 x 6 semesters
Summer Certificate $5000
Tuition Comparison Chart

Most FAQs

What opportunities are there for feedback from fellow students when I’m not at a residency?

During the semester, students participate in regular off-site critiques sessions via email and Skype. These conversations help to hone your critical and presentation skills while building an international network of peers and receiving valuable and varied feedback on your work from a variety of perspectives.

With the distance, how is my progress evaluated?

Your studio and research advisors will send you and the institute evaluations of your project at the end of each module or semester. This is done on a pass-fail basis. There are no grades. Students also post monthly progress updates (‘evidence of process’) on their wordpress blogs hosted at Transart. For students new to blogging there is an introductory session as well as individual help at the residency and during the semester.

How do I find an advisor?

Students choose their individual creative and research advisors based on the proposal, mutual topics of interests and availability. In the first year you will normally work experienced Transart advisors. You can work with one pre-approved advisor from outside of the program in your second year. Faculty, guest artists and lecturers are all good sources for suggestions. Transart has a pool of international advisors and can approve artists and curators outside of the program as long as they are qualified. You will have at least two critiques each semester with your studio advisor. An ever-growing list of available advisors and media specialists with their locations, bios, areas of interest and websites is listed on the website. For your research advisor in your first year you will be placed with Transart summer faculty and experienced Transart advisors. You can work with pre-approved advisors outside of the program in your second year. Again, faculty, guest artists and lecturers are all good sources for suggestions, or you can also work with one of your summer seminar faculty. Your advisor will support your research efforts with input by email at three stages of the process.

Find out more on our FAQs page


  • “The program does attract strong and experienced artists which makes for very interesting discussions at the crits. With less experienced students one cannot do that.”

    Mikkel Niemann
    Transart MFA Student
  • “Still am thankful for my time at Transart every time I step into the studio.”

    Sonia Barrett
    MFA, Transart MFA Student
  • “Transart has pushed my practice into the upper tolerable limit of experimentation. I've made some brilliant friends for life and have organized my practice from errant art works into a focused methodology.”

    Allen Ferguson
    Transart MFA Student
  • “Transart has been the most rewarding and creative experience for me... I've also developed strong relationships with many remarkable artists and curators, which has led to three different exhibitions this year alone.”

    Virgil Wong
    PhD candidate, Transart Alumnus
  • “Transart has been an infusion of ideas and energy into my practice.”

    Miriam Schaer
    Transart MFA Student
  • “Incredible bonds develop out of this program and they are long lasting. The intensity and intimacy is of such a level that it can last a lifetime.”

    Mary Ting
    MFA, Transart Faculty