Research Overview » Cyprus


In Cyprus, research has always been integral to artistic practice - in one form or another - but it was recent developments and the need for art practices’ validation in academic institutions and the broader research community that called for further attention to the processes and means of inquiry involved in such practices. Furthermore, the demands for practice-based PhDs in higher institutions, and the interdisciplinary nature of many research projects that involve visual material, has highlighted the urgency for establishing certain criteria that would secure validation and assist assessment of this type of research.

In Cyprus, the lack of a university entirely devoted to the study of art and of PhDs in any field relating to art, has resulted in subsequent difficulties to justify or regulate artistic practice in higher institutions as a form of research. Instead, practicing artists in Cyprus who have mostly studied abroad and in diverse institutions bring with them distinct and not always related understandings regarding art practice as a form of inquiry.  

Thus, art as a form of research in Cyprus is mostly carried out on an individual basis and as part of artist–in-residence programs offered by various institutions. It is rarely an integral part of a higher institution. 

Artistic practice as a form of research in Cyprus takes the form of artist-in-residence programs, state funded research projects, and  individual art practices.

Artist–in –residence Programs

There are several institutions that currently offer art residences in Cyprus, including:

  • Artos Cultural and Research Foundation
The ARTos foundation is the local representative of the network Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ( and acts as a liaison to European Culture Programs. The Foundation is also involved in the European network e-mobility ( ) that informs about open calls for residencies.  Through open calls listed on this network, Cypriot artists can apply to residences abroad and develop their projects in respective countries. Also, through the Foundation, artists, thinkers, writers, scholars and researchers are able to co-exist and creatively interact with each other, develop and implement their research ideas, create networks with other scholars and practitioners in Cyprus, participate in various cultural and research programs in which ARTos is involved, and use of all the facilities and structures of the foundation.

  • The Pharos Trust 
According to the Trust’s website (  the Residency Programme emphasizes on promoting  art by hosting “artists, musicians, scholars and composers who have an opportunity to create new works in Cyprus and give lectures, workshops and masterclasses.”
An interesting opportunity offered by the residency is that local composers get the chance to interact with composers from abroad, participating in the residence program.

  • The Cornaro Institute and The Cyprus College of Art
The Cyprus College of Art ( was founded by the artist Stass Paraskos in 1969.  The Cornaro Institute is an offspring of the Cyprus College of Art (founded in 2010). They offer residencies and summer programs as an addition to art foundation programs and in collaboration with English BA degrees. Currently, they are collaborating with the University of Nicosia, Cyprus and the University of Hertfordshire, UK for offering a BA in Fine Arts.

  • The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre associated with the Pierides Foundation
The Centre ( an old powerhouse, currently offers residencies for international artists or scholars who will send proposals and be selected to live in the Centre for a period of time and create works specific to the location / space / culture. The same institution has also established a procedure of an Open Call that offers artists who live in Cyprus the opportunity to submit proposals for site-specific installation for the Centre. Since the inception of the call in 2009 various artists have used the space of the Centre. The technical team of the Centre supports the construction of the artwork proposed each time.

  • The VSMS Lab (Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Lab) of the Cyprus University of Technology
The VSMS Lab ( offers an Art & Research Residency that provides academics, artists, curators and other professionals, access to facilities and equipment for the purposes of developing and implementing a research or artistic project.

State Funded Research Projects in the Visual Arts

Ministry of Education and Culture
Artists in Cyprus can apply for funding from the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus and get sponsorship for their successful application at residencies abroad. In this way, artists are assisted in the completion of their projects (often these projects involve proposals/research/concept).

An important contribution to artistic research is the procedure of an open call adopted by the Ministry of Education and Culture for the representation of Cyprus to the Venice Biennial. In contrast to inviting or centrally selecting artists based solely on their previous work, the policy of an open call encourages artists to submit a project proposal. This form of selection, not only secures a relative transparency in the procedure,  but it is thought to be beneficial for the artists applying since they are provided the opportunity to develop a full proposal that inevitably involves research and explanation of concepts, processes and theories that support the proposed project.

IPE: Research Promotion Foundation, Cyprus

Artists who are also scholars and are based in a higher education institution are eligible to apply for funding through IPE, in one of the following areas: education, economy, society and humanities. These areas are all under the action ‘Social- economic Sciences and Humanities’ and funds are allocated equally to each one of these areas.

Individual Art Practices

Curated exhibitions with a strong research approach
A recent example was the exhibition “Stis Maroudia's”, where artists were invited to respond to the histories and narratives promoted by and presented at the House of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesions, currently an Ethnographic Museum relating to Cyprus’ Ottoman past.
Another similar instance was a project developed in 2009 and curated at the Archaeological Museum in Nicosia, Cyprus. For this project two Cypriot artists of different generations, Aggelos Makrides and Phanos Kyriakos, were invited to intervene into the space of the museum, creating, recreating and challenging museum narratives and museological displays. 

Cypriot Artists and the Archive
The use of archive is central to current artistic work, a research practice that has gained popularity among contemporary artists.

The Case of Private Universities in Cyprus: Artistic research activities acknowledged as “staff research”
Even though the Department of Arts of the European University Cyprus is small and relatively young – only offering a BA degree in Graphic Design – it has managed to secure significant changes to the faculty evaluation process in order to acknowledge “creative work” as research alongside more traditional social sciences forms of research.  “Creative work” refers to: group or solo exhibitions and performances (national and international), participation in festivals, curation of exhibitions, coordination of arts festivals, participation in residencies. However, it is still ambivalent as of how to evaluate such practices. A system for accumulating points for such activities has been proposed but this is still debated in regards to its practical application. A potential application is the reduction of teaching hours for faculty members who are involved in “creative work” similarly to those faculty members who have a book contract or organize an academic conference. Similar attempts to update the faculty evaluation process in order to include artistic practices and creative work have been undertaken in other private Universities of Cyprus as well.  In 2007 an amendment to the law concerning Private Universities was voted. This declared that for the Arts disciplines a Masters terminal degree supported by a portfolio containing works that have received distinctions is sufficient qualification for faculty. This enables them to teach at a University level, without being PhD holders. This development has surely facilitated changes in the evaluation of Arts Faculty in the Universities of Cyprus.

As a conclusion, it is apparent that various efforts have been taking place all aiming to create a system and an infrastructure that supports artistic research in Cyprus. However much is still needed to regulate artistic practices and to acknowledge them as a valid form of inquiry. 

Author: Sofia Hadjipapa, European University Cyprus