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Master Programme in Performing Arts as Critical Practice

Master Programme in Performing Arts | 120 credits

Photo: J. Dahlqvist, L. Severin

The new international Master programme in Performing Arts with a specialisation in Critical Practice and a social focus is a two-year, full-time study. It is open to artists within theatre, dance and performance who want to embark on a research-led study and to situate their practices within the social, political and economic conditions of the contemporary world.

The programme brings together innovative performing arts practices with critical reflection, and promotes expertise in initiating and building new alliances and arenas both within and outside existing structures. It aims to educate artists who can engage imaginatively with urgent social and political challenges and will take an active role in shaping current developments in the performing arts field and research.

As a student you will engage in embodied and embedded practices of criticality, with the understanding that live performance is inevitably relational. During your studies you will be encouraged to explore what relevance and impact an art practice can bring forth in different contexts, and how these interactions can challenge and develop your artistic practice towards new directions, while at the same time reshaping the contexts it is part of.
 The programme offers a small-scale, flexible laboratory setup, with a collaborative focus and support structure to create the fundamental conditions for research and experimentation.

The programme is based on an understanding that we are never alone and therefore have to build alliances, and that we are always in a specific context, which we need to understand in order to build new arenas.

Next to the practical work, the emergent curriculum comprises a range of theoretical frameworks and ethical reflections, as well as writing, fieldwork, and an introduction to (artistic) research methods and processes. The study trajectory is shaped by the specific research questions and needs of the students. The teaching is executed collaboratively and is dialogue-based. It focuses on discussions, cooperation and reflection. Feedback sessions with peers and supervisors are an important part of the education. The students work extensively with invited (international) guest artists, curators and theoreticians whose practices are at the vanguard of exploring the interaction between (performing) arts and society. In the second year, each student develops their final project in close collaboration with one or more partner organization(s).

The studies include processes of learning and unlearning in an inspiring and safe environment, and prepare the students to be open and responsive to changing situations. At the same time, students develop skills for planning and carrying out complex, sensitive processes of creating artistic work with partners and communities.

In addition to developing and expanding their artistic practices, the students’ professional opportunities are enhanced regarding teaching, curating, extended art practice and social practice. A focus on critical theory and artistic research prepares them to pursue a doctoral programme, or to teach in higher education.

During the two years the students will become part not only of a community of peers at the MA but also at the academy and the university. The programme is situated in Malmö, a dynamic and diverse city close to Copenhagen, and easily reachable from several other European cities. This gives students access and chances to broaden their international performing arts network and find new affinities.

This visionary program will prepare students of the performing arts to engage aesthetically, critically, and institutionally with the most important social issues of our time. It offers a brilliant and timely course of study.
Shannon Jackson, Professor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley, author of Back Stages: Essays on Art, Performance, and Public Life (2022)

Collaborative partners

Characteristic of socially engaged art is the vital importance of identifying whom the artist wishes to engage with and where they wish to engage. In the programme, the student will develop relationships and will build alliances with individuals, organisations and/or institutions.

To help the students identify collaborators and thus initiate an alliance, Malmö Theatre Academy has established partnerships with a diverse range of art institutions, societal stakeholders and artistic communities.

The programme’s partners include:
HelamalmöMalmö Art MuseumMalmö City TheatreCity of Malmö’s Culture DepartmentMetropolisRegion Skåne’s Culture DepartmentGylleboverketCommunityKulturCentrumSkånes DansteaterUnga KlaraWarehouse9 and Museum of Artistic process and Public Art.

How to make art sustainable: in a political, social and economical way?  This new MA Programme was created for conceiving artistic practice in a holistic way – representing, but also changing society through the means of art.
Milo Rau, artistic director NTGent, Honorary doctor Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University

The core team of the Master’s Programme in Performing Arts as Critical Practice at Malmö Theatre Academy includes: 

Edit Kaldor, Master´s Programme Director / Senior Lecturer

Gigi Argyropoulou, Postdoctor

Sofie Lebech, Senior Lecturer 

Felicia Mulinari, Lecturer

Tanja Diers, PhD student 

Iury Trojaborg, PhD student  

Erik Pold, Lecturer

Maaike Bleeker, visiting Professor

Ditte Maria Bjerg, Senior Lecturer and Rector of Malmö Theatre Academy. 

During the course of your studies you will also work with invited (international) guest artists, curators and theoreticians who will teach individual courses and workshops within the two-year programme. 


Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts (180 credits) within the field of performing arts or equivalent, and proficiency in English equivalent to English course 6/B from Swedish upper-secondary school.

Application and tuition fees

In general, if you are a citizen, a permanent or long-term resident of Sweden or a citizen of another EU or EEA country, you are not required to pay application or tuition fees. Read more at University Admissions (new window,

The tuition fee for non-EU or EEA students of the Master’s programme in Performing Arts as Critical Practice is 400 000 SEK per academic year and 800 000 SEK for the whole programme. You can read more about tuition fees and scholarships at University admissions and who is required to pay fees (new window,

Q: Is your programme looking for applicants with particular types of work?  Can I still apply if my work doesn’t include people

A: The master’s programme is open to applicants with a variety of practices, both in terms of the artistic work and the critical social engagement. You are also welcome to apply if your current practice is not explicitly dealing with social and political issues, but you want to open it up or shift it in that direction during your master’s studies. 

Q: What if I don’t have a BA diploma in performing arts? Can I still apply?

In some cases it is possible to apply without a BA diploma in the arts. For instance, if you already have an established artistic practice or a diploma in a related field.  

Q: Is your programme open to applicants who work with technology?

A: Although it is not the specialization of the course, technology is an integral part of today’s society and of the contemporary performing arts. We welcome applications from practitioners who integrate technology in their artistic practices. 

Q: Who needs to pay Tuition fee?

Students who are citizens of countries outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are generally required to pay application and tuition fees. There are some exceptions to this general rule. For the full list of tuition fee exemptions, please see official information from University Admissions in Sweden. Visit for all the general criteria for tuition fees and exemptions. 

About fees, scholarships, residence permits on the universityadmission website 

Residence permits & citizen status 

Rules regarding residence permits, citizen status, and connections with a family member who is a citizen of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can be found on the Swedish Migration Agency website. 

Q: Can I apply for a scholarship

Malmö Theatre Academy does not offer any scholarships covering your tuition fee. You can read more about possible available scholarship programmes within Lund University as well as a external ones, such as Swedish Institute, links and organisations that might be able to accept your application. We do encourage you to investigate possible scholarships from your home country or region as well as European funds towards education that is available out there as well.

The new MA programme can provide a learning structure where critical thinking doesn’t just remain topics, but the ideas go throughout the work and into the practice
Sonya Lindfors, choreographer and artistic director of UrbanApa

Master Programme in Performing Arts as Critical Practice

Education start date: Autumn term 2023
(next application round will be in 2025)

Education scope: 120 credits, four semesters of full time studies

Teaching language: English

Study location: Malmö

Study pace: Full time

Application period: 1 December - 16 January 2023

Education Plan: 
Programme Syllabus EN (pdf) | Utbildningsplan SE (pdf)

Semester overview:
Semester 1 - Context and Collaboration (.pdf)
Semester 2 - Alliances and Arenas (.pdf)
Semester 3 - Critical Practices (.pdf)
Semester 4 - Exam Project, Master's Thesis and Portfolio(.pdf)

The strong partnerships and outward looking principles of this MA programme provide a generative context for critical theory and performative experimentation, and the strong practice traditions of the Malmö Theatre Academy offers a supportive home for students to push boundaries, ask questions and take risks.
Terry O'Connor, Forced Entertainment, Honorary doctor Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University

Next application opens in Autumn 2024


master [at] thm [dot] lu [dot] se


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Malmö is the perfect city for this new programme. The city has such a rich social fabric, and a sense of transit, which create a vibrant environment.
Maj Hasager, Rector Malmö Art Academy