The graduate programme HETEROTOPIA at the faculty for design of Folkwang University of the Arts conveys design discourse, i.e. the interaction and confrontation of different fields of competence and points of view. The plurality and complexity of design determines the philosophy of the programme. HETEROTOPIA bemuses and awakens curiosity. The name of the programme is derived from the term heterotopy, coined by the post-structuralist Michel Foucaut. As the culture of specialist interaction needs a space in which a meeting of personalities, ideas and points of view can occur, the programme is closely intertwined with its physical location at the SANAA Building on the grounds of the Zeche Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site.

HETEROTOPIA places the students as independent authors of their graduate studies at the centre of the programme. They orchestrate their own study progress by either referencing the specialist expertise of their study programme and specific field of study, or by visiting a studio, where teachers and students collaborate on a specific topic area. Students learn by experiencing the topical dispute and actively, practically and theoretically adding their own ideas.

HETEROTOPIA at Folkwang is the only six semester graduate study course in Germany offering students the opportunity to stand out in terms of art and academics. The study course ends with the Folkwang Diploma for Design (equivalent to a three-year M.A.).

The institute connected to the graduate programme is also entirely unique as its aim is to expand the student’s design-related and academic horizon with further aspects to achieve an entirely new reflection on the topic. The institute is headed up by a curator, and offers temporary topical exhibitions and new areas of expertise in conjunction with guest presenters. Students of the graduate programme spend a total of two semesters at the institute.