Established in the Swiss mountains in 1994 by a non-profit foundation, The European Graduate School / EGS comprises two divisions: Arts, Health and Society (AHS) and Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought (PACT). The AHS Division, founded by Paolo Knill, centers on the expressive arts, specifically addressing coaching, therapy, education, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding. Founded by Wolfgang Schirmacher, the PACT Division (formerly Media and Communication) addresses, as its title suggests, philosophy, art, and critical thought, and within those fields, architecture, film, literature, digital design, music, psychoanalysis, and political thought. Together, the two divisions compose an outstanding and diverse community of artists, theorists, scholars, and practitioners, making the EGS one of the most important sites in Europe for ethical, socio-political, philosophical, psychological and artistic inquiry. Its cross-disciplinary, low-residency MA and PhD programs offer students and scholars an exceptional academic experience centered on annual intensive seminar programs led by an eminent faculty in residence, in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and Valletta, Malta. This dynamic structure creates a vibrant forum in which students and scholars engage with distinguished theorists, practitioners, and artists in their fields.
The EGS was created to be an academic institution that would function beyond the many constraints of traditional disciplinary structure while stimulating work leading to respected and well-recognized academic degrees. For the EGS, education remains a process that is both experimental and transformative, and learning is never divorced from critique. Faculty are given maximal freedom from cumbersome bureaucratic duties and encouraged to focus on teaching that is not just research-led, but in itself an active form of research. The EGS does not shy from the requirements of professionalism, but it seeks to redefine the conditions for achieving the true meaning of this term. The EGS seeks to intervene in a global context where education is increasingly structured by instrumental ends that favour the development of technical expertise and frustrate fundamental questioning. It seeks to keep alive a spirit of free enquiry devoted to supporting creating practice as well as intellectual exchange of the highest level directed to the most pressing issues of our time.