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Theory in the Arts Professorship

The Theory in the Arts Professorship is an ArtEZ-wide professorship that examines the role and importance of theory in the arts and arts education. The professorship is developing into a multidisciplinary work place theory where research is conducted into theory in all artistic disciplines. Theory is not an autonomous discipline but is always effective in practice and forms and informs the artistic practice from within. Above all, theory links disciplines so that an exchange of ideas can ensue.

Professor Peter Sonderen with graduates of the two years' Honours Programme.
Professor Peter Sonderen with graduates of the two years' Honours Programme.

Theory is like the oxygen of art practice and is inextricably linked to all the arts.


The Theory in the Arts professorship sees theory not as an autonomous discipline, but as an always effective driving force in practice, (in)forming the artistic practice and connecting different disciplines. The Theory in the Arts Professorship seeks to foster these dynamics, which it does through various activities.

  • Using the ‘theory of the maker’ concept – research into the changing theoretical frameworks of various domains in the arts. The professorship advises study programmes on content and organisation of educational theory.
  • Developing theory programmes for bachelor-level education, such as ThINK (theory in the arts) and TIP (Theory in Practice).
  • Organising research seminars for employees on artistic research and theory in the arts based on the question: What does theory do? In 2015, the research seminar Let's talk about artistic research was launched.
  • Conducting international research into the functioning of theory in Master's programmes in the field of Fine Art and Performing Arts (‘Theory in the Arts – Options. Positions. Practices.’).
  • Conducting research into the theory of artistic research and creating frameworks for it.
  • The professorship is responsible for and has developed the content of the Theory and Research Honours Programme for bachelor students.


Professor Peter Sonderen is an art historian and aesthetician. He received his doctorate in 2000 from the University of Amsterdam based on a study of the creation of the foundations of our modern concept of art. Sonderen lectured in Art History of the Modern Era at the University of Amsterdam and was director of AKI, ArtEZ in Enschede. As a professor, he is actively involved in international networks of arts education (including AIAS) and the National Organisation of Art Professors (LOK).

Peter  Sonderen

Peter Sonderen

Professor of Theory in the Arts, Head of the Honours Programme