The Design Graduate Program HETEROTOPIA of Folkwang University of the Arts confronts design students with various positions, subjects and disputes in the professional and educational design discourse. The plurality and complexity of the field defines the philosophy of the program. HETEROTOPIA irritates and calls attention. The program relates to the expression of Heterotopia, developed by poststructuralist Michel Foucault. A culture of professional dispute needs its special space for the encounters of leading figures in design, of ideas and diverse positions, thus the program takes place in the SANAA building on the Unesco World Heritage site “Zeche Zollverein”.
HETEROTOPIA places the students as authors of their individual graduate study program in the centre of their design education. They are responsible for the course of their own curriculum and can either connect to one of the faculty members within their area of expertise or they can be part of a studio, where one or more faculty are responsible for developing specific design- or artistic topics. Students learn by actively forming and taking part in the professional design discourse.
With HETEROTOPIA Folkwang is the only University in Germany to offer a three-year Graduate Design Program in order to meet the quality standards demanded by an art- and research- oriented design education. Graduates of the program are awarded with the degree „Folkwang letter of design“ (equivalent to a 3-year Master of Arts).
Another outstanding feature of the Graduate Program is its HETEROTOPIA Institute for Interdisciplinary studies, which aims at broadening the design- and research perspective and at reflecting and redefining ones positions. The institute is directed by a curator who, in collaboration with guest lecturers, is in charge of varying design projects of pertinent interest. Each student studies two semesters of his or her choice within the institute.