Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Critical Images

( 30 ECTS Credits )

Two minutes for Syria, Abounaddara 2013

Something is Rotten, Abounaddara 2016










Critical Images is a one-year post master course, which aims to establish an international, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary discourse together with the anonymous Syrian film collective Abounaddara and Dork Zabunyan, professor of Film Studies, Paris 8, contributing to a universal reflection on the right to the image and ethics of representation, at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm.


Level: Advanced
Requirements: Admission requirements for the course is an MA in art, or an MA in another relevant field or the equivalent knowledge and experience.
Application Deadline: April 25 2018 (Application Link opens March 22)
ECTS Credits: 30
Programme Length: 1 Academic Year
Teaching Language: English

Critical Images is intended for those with a background in art, filmmaking, photography, visual media, journalism, poetry, ethics, aesthetics, human rights law, activism and philosophy, who wish to advance and expand their critical, artistic and research skills and experiment with the production of images in order to reconsider the representations of the world. The participants will develop a work which will be presented at the end of the academic year.


Critical Images will offer lectures, seminars and workshops intended to advance practice-based artistic research and critical artistic forms. The aim is to build on the anonymous Syrian film collective Abounaddara’s framework to experiment with the production of images and to develop a critical, ethical discourse on the right to the image.

The course is led by artist Katarina Nitsch and will be additionally taught by national and international guest lecturers; artists, filmmakers, researchers, writers, activists, human rights lawyers, philosophers and political thinkers; Nisrine Al Zahre, linguistic researcher, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, Nathalie Delbard, professor of Visual Arts, Université de Lille, Charif Kiwan, filmmaker and member of Abounaddara, Sylvie Lindeperg, professor of History, Université de Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Jacques Rancière, professor of philosophy at European Graduate School (EGS) and Paris 8, Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, professor of philosophy, Södertörn University, Rania Stephan, filmmaker, Cecilia Sjöholm, professor of Aesthetics, Södertörn University, Dork Zabunyan, professor of Film Studies, Paris 8 and others.

On one hand, the discussions will promote debate over the dignity of representation as an abstract proposition for the law and the fields of political science, philosophy and ethics. Equally, on the other hand, the course approaches this right in terms of its practical application: as an everyday, professional practice to be implemented by artists, media and the civil society.


By rooting the course in historical, philosophical, juridical reflections on ethics and images of rebellion or war – Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, Dork Zabunyan, Jacques Rancière, Sylvie Lindeperg, Svetlana Aleksijevitj, Harun Farocki, Judith Butler, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Mahmoud Darwish, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and others – into the issues of ethics and dignity facing art and image production today, Critical Images intends to bring light to collective agency and activism around the right to the image, to advance emancipatory thought and to measure whether critical parameters for image production are still possible, be that in The Middle East, Europe or elsewhere in the world.

Year plan

Critical Images is structured around approximately 3-4 days of lectures, seminars and workshops per month. The course comprises 30 ECTS. The academic year ends with a joint exhibition wherein the participants will present the work they developed throughout the course.

Admission requirements for the course is an MA in art, or an MA in another relevant field or the equivalent knowledge and experience. Documented work samples demonstrating a relation to the thematic of the course are required. Critical Images particularly welcomes artists who struggle in their art with issues of ethics and politics of representation.

To pass the course, active participation in the lectures and seminars is required (at least 70%), as well as to present a final project that reflects the points set out in the course to fulfil the expected learning outcomes.


Application should consist of a motivation letter, a portfolio with 5 work samples, CV, master diploma and a pass-photo.


Questions regarding content and structure:

Katarina Nitsch, Artist and Senior Lecturer

Questions regarding formalities:

Helen Okou, Study Administrator

See course syllabus for Critical Images here: Course syllabus Critical Images 2017-18