Studies in the Arts (SINTA)

Portraits of doctoral students

Maria Marshal

As the world's first and only fictional character to do her doctorate with and through art figures, Maria Marshal is not just researching this phenomenon, she is the phenomenon herself. More information will follow.


Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble, University of Bern, Institute of Social Anthropology (Media Anthropology)
Dr. Fabiana Senkpiel, Bern University of the Arts HKB, Research (FSP Intermedialität)

Docotral project

The Performative Observation by Art Figures (working title)

The purpose of this dissertation project is a first time comprehensive study in view of the phenomenon of „Artistic Figures“ in regards to its simultaneity both as a research tool and autonomous artistic means of expression.
The potential of art figures to explore, embody and present socially relevant content will be analysed.
Reflecting the ethnographic method of participatory observation the method of “wallraffing“ and - based on art figures - the performative - ethnographic methodology of performing observation will be developed. For realizing the dissertation project qualitative interviews will be conducted with artists, who work themselves with art figures. By the comparative analysis of the interviews artistic mechanisms will be identified, which are relevant for the use of art figures as a research tool. To develop the methodology of performing observation, performative-practical experiments take place, in which the realisation of ethnographical methods by own  art figures are made, carried out and evaluated. Within the project it is referred to the approach of “embodied knowledge“ by Julian Klein.

Research priorities

Art Figures, Identity, Participatory Observation, Intermediality