About the Doctorate in the Arts

By enabling and stimulating doctoral research, LUCA School of Arts attracts competent and enthused artists and designers who help to develop and strengthen high-level research and education in LUCA’s core areas of study: music and drama, audiovisual arts, visual arts and design. LUCA collaborates with the University of Leuven for its doctoral programme in the arts. Our PhD students are enrolled at KU Leuven, which officially awards the degree of PhD, but have one or more supervisors from the research units of LUCA. As stipulated in the doctoral regulation, the PhD in the Arts consists of a thesis as well as (a) creation(s) in arts or design. Both parts are considered equal and as a unity. Together they show evidence of the ability to create new knowledge. The thesis and the presentation of the creations in arts or design must allow the examination committee to assess the quality of the doctoral research. There are no general rules regarding the form and content except of the quality requirements.

Doctoral students in the domain of music may follow the doctoral programme of the Orpheus Institute. More information about this docARTES programme can be found on this website.

Logo docARTES Orpheus Institute

Doctoral committee

The members of the doctoral committee in the Arts are: Leen Engelen, Lut Pil, Jeroen D’hoe, Steven Devleminck, Jos De Backer, Bart Geerts, Anneleen Masschelein, Rolf Hughes, Eva Cardon (PhD student) and Veerle Van der Sluys (chairman).

contact: research@luca-arts.be

Application procedure

The deadline for submitting new PhD applications is May 17 2021.

Eligible candidates will be invited to discuss their project at the next meeting of the doctoral committee in the arts on June 9 2021.

The deadline for submissions after May 17 will be announced soon.

Interested in doing a doctorate in the arts at LUCA Faculty of the Arts? The first step is that you need to find a supervisor from LUCA School of Arts who is willing to support your research project. You must have contacted your future supervisor before you can start applying for admission (see list of possible supervisors below). Please contact your supervisor at least a few weeks before the deadline.

Once you have found a supervisor, please follow this procedure to gain admission to enroll as a doctoral student:


The uploaded documents must be in pdf format (max. 20MB). Please use links in your portfolio to refer to larger files (eg. videos).

  • The supervisor then receives an invitation to give their academic approval or disapproval in the online application tool.
  • The next step depends on your nationality (EER/non-EER) and master's degree (Flemish/non-Flemish) (see step 2).


  • The supervisor's academic advice (approval/disapproval) is sent to the Faculty's doctoral administration.
  • The doctoral committee of LUCA School of Arts evaluates the proposal and invites you to the next meeting of the doctoral committee to discuss the research project.
  • If the application is approved by the doctoral committee, you will be invited to enroll as a doctoral student at KU Leuven.


  • All information and uploaded documents from the online application tool are sent to International Admissions.
  • International Admissions prepares an advice about the quality of your track record (diplomas, grades).
  • This advice and the supervisor's academic advice is sent to the Faculty's doctoral administration.
  • The doctoral committee of LUCA School of Arts evaluates the proposal and invites you to the next meeting of the doctoral committee to discuss the research project.
  • If the application is approved by the doctoral committee, you will be invited to enroll as a doctoral student at KU Leuven.

If you have any questions regarding the application procedure please contact research@luca-arts.be.

Please note that an acceptance as a PhD student in the Arts at LUCA/KU Leuven does not entail funding.

The regulation for the PhD in the Arts can be found here.

Doctoral programme

LUCA - Faculteit Kunsten organiseert geregeld onderzoeksseminaries voor onderzoekers, doctorandi en kandidaten voor het doctoraat.  Ook onderzoekers van andere faculteiten en disciplines kunnen deelnemen aan het programma om kennis te maken met onder meer methoden en aanpakvormen uit het onderzoek in de kunsten. Elke onderzoekseenheid van LUCA - Faculteit Kunsten is verantwoordelijk voor de organisatie van één seminarie, workshop of summer school. Bovendien wordt er een seminarie in samenwerking met de Faculteit Architectuur georganiseerd. U kan een attest tot deelname aan een seminarie opvragen bij monia.kennes@luca-arts.be.

Seminar - vrijdag 02/10/2020 - Met presentaties van Matthijs De Bruijne, Post Collective, Magdalena Kwiatkowska, Reinaart Vanhoe en een performance van Stijn Van Dorpe met Avsin Azak en Bas Schevers. 14u-18u (gesprekken) 20u performance. Aanspreekpunt: stijn.vandorpe@luca-arts.be

Symposium 'Perform Philosophy' vrijdag - 9/10/2020 - 14h - 18h. Aanspreekpunt: Volkmar.muhleis@luca-arts.be

​14 - 15 uur: korte begroeting door Volkmar Mühleis als moderator van het symposium. Esther en haar studenten tonen video's rond performance en filosofie.    

15 - 16 uur: 1. een video van Swantje Lichtenstein (Duitsland) betreffend 'Performance Philosophy', interview erna;

                    2. video rond 'Performance Philosophy',        

16 - 16.15: korte pauze

16.15 - 17 uur: presentatie van The Routledge Companion of Performance Philosophy door Laura Cull (Engeland) en Alice Lagaay (Duitsland)

17 - 18 uur: gesprek met Esther, Swantje, Annelies, Laura, Alice, de studenten en het publiek over de presentaties, performance en filosofie

Lezing Maurizio Ferraris woensdag 25/11/2020 - binnen het lezingenprogramma "Object-centred research. On things and thinking." Aanspreekpunt: frank.maet@luca-arts.be

Naast deze seminaries kunnen doctorandi bovendien gebruik maken van het aanbod van de Doctoral School for the Humanities & Social Sciences. Meer info hierover vind je hier: http://ghum.kuleuven.be/phd

Alle doctorandi waarvan de doctorale periode van start ging tijdens of na het academiejaar 2014-2015 zijn verplicht om ook het opleidingsonderdeel ‘Scientific integrity for starting PhDs’ tijdens het eerste jaar van de doctoraatsopleiding te volgen. Inschrijven kan via: https://www.kuleuven.be/english/research/integrity/training/phdlecture.  


De promotor van een doctoraat in de kunsten is docent aan LUCA School of Arts en heeft ofwel het statuut “bijzonder gastdocent in de kunsten” ofwel een ZAP-statuut aan de KU Leuven. Docenten van LUCA zonder dit statuut kunnen steeds copromotor zijn van een doctoraat in de kunsten. Hieronder vindt u een lijst van de mogelijke promotoren voor een doctoraat in de kunsten aan LUCA School of Arts.

Dr. Tom Beghin

  • Research topics: Eighteenth-century and early-nineteenth century music, Technologically Inspired Performance (TIP), Historically Informed Performance (HIP), Beethoven’s rhetoric, pianism, and pianos
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Jos De Backer

  • Research topics:
    clinical improvisation
    music therapeutic processes
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Thomas De Baets     

  • Research topics:
    professional development of music educators
    processes of educational innovation in music education
    practitioner research in music education
    musical communication
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Liesbeth Decan

  • PhD in Art Sciences
  • Research topics: photography, theory of photography, contemporary art, conceptual art, art in Belgium, humor
  • Research unit: Intermedia

Dr. Peter De Graeve

  • Research topics: 
    art history
    political theory
    classical culture
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Steven Devleminck

  • PhD in the Arts
  • Research topics: digital media and art, cartography, artistic mapping, information design
  • Research unit: Intermedia

Dr. Jeroen D'hoe

  • Research topics:
    musical composition
    interdisciplinary research and creations
    integration of artistic practice, research and education
    interaction of musical analysis and performance practice
    pop music
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Leen Engelen

  • Research topics: 
    visual media: stereoscopy, lantern projections, postcards, panorama paintings, film
    history of film
    media history
    cultural heritage
    audio-visual heritage
    First World War
    historical and media archaeological approaches
    ephemeral arts
    memory and remembrance
  • Research unit: Inter-Actions

Dr. Bart Geerts

  • PhD in the Arts
  • Research topics: contemporary painting, medium specificity, spatiality, (re)presentation models, artists’ archive, rhetorics of artistic research
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Niels Hendriks

  • Research topics: Participatory design and Codesign, Inclusive design, Design for health, Design for people with neurocognitive disorders, dementia or Alzheimer, Design for disability and Systemic design approaches
  • Research unit: Inter-Actions

Dr. Steven Malliet

  • Research topics:
    design of meaningful game and interaction rules
    relationship between image and music in audiovisual media
    creation of digital and virtual environments
  • Research unit: Inter-Actions

Dr. Volkmar Mühleis

  • Research topics:
    regenerative aesthetics
    haptic aesthetics
    reverse perspective
    responsive and transformative phenomenology
    phenomenology of pop culture
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Frank Maet

  • Research topics:
    technology and/as art
    technology and ethics
    art and science
    art and other media
    post-artistic theory
    philosophy of artistic research
    philosophy in relation to the practice of art and design
    philosophy of contemporary culture
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Wendy Morris

  • PhD in the Arts
  • Research topics: animation, constructions of Whiteness, letters in contemporary art writing, walking in artistic practice, marginalized histories, broken world botany and migration histories
  • Research unit: Intermedia

Dr. Jan Peeters

  • PhD in the Arts
  • Research topics: practice of fine art and experimental film, intermediality, word-image-interaction, poetry film, (auto)fiction
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Lut Pil

  • Research topics: 
    contemporary art
    clay and ceramics
    art of the 19th century
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Nicola Setari

  • PhD in History of Architecture and Art Sciences
  • Research topics: contemporary art, visual culture and media studies, with a focus on iconoclasm in contemporary culture
  • Research unit: Intermedia

Dr. Piet Swerts

  • Research topics:
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Veerle Van der Sluys

  • Research topics:
    interplay design and science/technology
    network visualisation 
    playful design
    interaction design
  • Research unit: Inter-Actions

Dr. Carl Van Eyndhoven

  • Research topics:
    historically informed performance practice
    mechanical music instruments
  • Research unit: Music & Drama

Dr. Isolde Vanhee

  • Research topics: 
    cinema and the visual arts, painting, experimental film,
    slow cinema, essay film, artistic authorship, genre,
    the ordinary, narrative, myth, fiction, writing, script
    criticism, ethics / aesthetics, word / image, imagination / reflection
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Tom Van Imschoot

  • Research topics: 
    literary studies, art theory, interpretation studies, phenomenology, aesthetics, ethics, writing, reading, the essay, poetics, criticism, word-image-interaction, verbal reflexivity, the artistic process, attention and affect studies, fascination, intuition, illusion, metamorphosis, epiphany, the imaginary, corporeality, romanticism, self-evidence, (auto)fiction, shared reality.
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Roel Vande Winkel

  • PhD in Communication Studies
  • Research topics: cinema, media history, film & television studies, cultural heritage, arts in wartime
  • Research unit: Intermedia

Dr. Nancy Vansieleghem

  • Research Topics:
    art-education, pedagogy of arts, pedagogy of the camera, pedagogy of the digital screen, pedagogy of the art-school/art-studio), pedagogy of childhood, speculative science, cabinets of curiosity, the art of noticing, equality, affection, exposure and attention
  • Research unit: Image

Dr. Esther Venrooij

  • Research topics:
    Audio topography
    Spatial experiences: visual, auditory, sensorimotor, tactile and conceptual
    Spatial narrativity
  • Research unit: Image