Nida Doctoral School



Nida Doctoral School is a joint academic unit established by Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (VAA) and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Aalto ARTS) in September 2015. It develops and runs a non-degree doctoral program.

The program offers international doctoral courses and residencies for art, design, media and architecture doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers from Aalto ARTS, VAA and other universities joining the initiative. Nida Art Colony and Aalto ARTS aim to develop a small and inspiring guild of European institutions with postgraduate programmes, which will contribute to and benefit from the program.

Nida Doctoral School courses have a form of intensive 7 day-long seminars. They are held by the academic staff of Aalto ARTS, VAA and other universities with the contribution of outstanding invited guest speakers.

Nida Doctoral School residencies are coordinated by Nida Art Colony and constitute a part of the international Nida Artist-in-Residence Program. The duration of a residency is from one to six months. 


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Nida Doctoral School Academic Board

The Nida Docoral School Board is in charge of the quality of the School’s activity. The Board approves NDS’s programme. Board members:


Dr. Paula Hohti (Aalto ARTS) is a British-educated art historian, with specialism in Italian Renaissance and Early Modern decorative arts, textiles and fashion. Her recent research projects The Italian Renaissance of Artisans and Shopkeepers and The Dress of an Artisan: Clothing, Identity and Fashion in Early Modern Europe explored what kinds of material objects and fashion innovations were circulated among the lower middling classes of artisans, shopkeepers and traders such as barbers, bakers and tailors in fifteenth - and sixteenth-century Italy. Her research has been part of two major European collaborative research projects, led by Evelyn Welch, The Material Renaissance and Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe 1500-1800. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History of Art and Culture at Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture, Helsinki.


Prof. Sofia Pantouvaki (Aalto ARTS) is a scenographer (PhD) and Professor of Costume Design at Aalto University, Finland. Her background includes over 75 designs for theatre, film, opera and dance productions in Europe as well as numerous curatorial and exhibition design projects. Co-author, History of Dress – The Western World and Greece (2010); editor, Yannis Metsis – Athens Experimental Ballet (2011); co-editor, Presence and Absence: The Performing Body (2014). She is Project Leader of Performance: Visual Aspects of Performance Practice and Co-Editor, Studies in Costume and Performance (Intellect, 2016). Vice-Head for Research, OISTAT Costume Design Group; Costume Curator for World Stage Design 2013; Associate Curator, Costume in Action (WSD 2013). Sofia has taught, lectured and published internationally. Her recent research focuses on insights and processes in performance costume, fashion and costume curating, the potential of new materials and embodied technologies in costume practice, and clothing in the concentration camps of the Second World War.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vytautas Michelkevičius (VAA) is the artistic director of Nida Art Colony since 2010. He is responsible for artistic programmes and colony’s stance in contemporary art world, including communication and networking with art professionals and audiences. Until 2014 he was curating Nida artist-in-residence programme and now he is occasionally doing studio visits and selecting artists together with the colleagues. Moreover he is editing Nida Art Colony Log and writing project applications as well as doing strategic planning and programming.

Vytautas is a curator, publisher, art and media researcher, and associate professor in Vilnius Academy of Arts and Vilnius University. He holds a PhD in Communication studies (Thesis on Critical media theory and photography) from Vilnius University. He is interested in photographicallity of art and society, socializing through art, interdisciplinarity between art and research, artistic research, experimental teaching, and participatory curatorial practices. Vytautas has authored or edited more than 10 catalogues and books on media theory, art and photography since 2002. He is curating mostly group shows and in 2015 he was a curator of Lithuanian Pavilion in Venice Biennale with artist Dainius Liškevičius project “Museum”.


Assoc. Prof. Julijonas Urbonas (VAA) is a designer, artist, PhD student at the Royal College of Art (London), Vice Rector for Art at Vilnius Academy of Arts. Julijonas was born in 1981 in Klaipėda. Lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania. Since childhood he has worked in amusement park development as a designer, engineer, later becoming a CEO of a small park in Klaipėda, Lithuania. Simultaneously, he has been engineering experimental models of amusement rides for alternative reality. Most recently this practice paved the way to his PhD research, known worldwide for one of its experiments: the Euthanasia Coaster, a roller coaster designed to kill the rider pleasantly and elegantly. His work has been exhibited internationally and received many awards, including the Award of Distinction in Interactive Art, Prix Ars Electronica 2010, one the most prestigious awards in media arts. Julijonas Urbonas projects can be found in private and museum collections such as the permanent collection of the Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM).