PhD* of TENT  A Peer-to-Peer Program of Performative Practices

About the program

TENT PhD* is a three-year global program for artists, curators, and researchers who wish to pursue their practice into a long-term trajectory with peers from their field. Using the same structure as an academic Ph.D., it challenges its participants to formulate and shape a timeline with tangible outputs (video, audio, text) and share them with other participants. In this way, the participants make up a network of mutual support and accountability during a longer timeframe. Rather than focusing on the individual end product TENT PhD* is about the collective process.

The PhD* is not an academic program, but a performative frame borrowed from academia. Together we want to explore what forms of collective learning become possible if the PhD is a playful structure instead of a limiting institutional frame. As such, certain cornerstones like the timeline are borrowed from existing PhD programs, while others, like exams, are discarded or translated to fit the existing life and challenges of the present-day. One of the main pillars of the program is the (re)formulation of a purpose that is directly related to the practice of each participant. It is synonymous with the research question of an academic program, a concise guide (or reminder) for the individual participant through which their (collective) practice can make sense in a longer timeframe. 

This program is a response to the perception of loneliness and isolation that many cultural workers are experiencing. It is intended as a way for creating peer support, and to keep making work that is valuable on a personal and community level, as well as offering a space for learning after formal education. The practical work aspect of our dream/work should be reminded and we make it happen together with an extended community. 

The precise frames will be discussed in conversation with each participant. With this program, the core of a PhD program – to focus intensely on a single purpose with its many possible outputs, to receive feedback along the way, to stay on track – and reformulate it to be relevant to the broad ecosystem of the art world and beyond. 

Practical details

TENT PhD* is intended to build on this system, where participants can continue with their work and care engagements, and still, they can have a network, timeline, structure, and peer support.

While our update meetings will take place remotely, we intend to make it possible to gather in person at least once a year, in the form of a performative symposium or conference with at least partially funded participation. 

For the first round of applications, we invite you to submit a brief application of interest, which should take 15 minutes or less to fill in. We will select 20 participants to move to the next stage, where we engage with them in more detail about their purpose for joining. A final group of 8-12 participants will be selected for the program.

What will the program entail?

Call for application and criteria

The program is addressed to artists, curators, and researchers who have the desire to embark on a three-year trajectory with their practice together with an extended network. 

- Who has an idea that can be executed in a three-year trajectory with peer support

- Who are facing challenges and/or feeling a lack of purpose in their field.

- Who is willing to actively participate in a support structure with others.

- Who has the desire to change the field they are working in. 

- No previous academic qualifications are needed, however, the applicant needs to show that they have experience in their practice (e.g. through having shown works in an established or DIY scene, autodidactic research, etc.). 

This is an autonomous, non-accredited program. There are no fees. Some costs can arise for accommodation and travel. We are working on additional funding.

Link to share with people:

Deadline application (1st round): October 31st, 2023

Start: May, 2024

If you have any questions, or prefer to submit a video recording, write to