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The Piet Zwart Institute is a centre for postgraduate studies and research. It offers international Master study and research programmes. All of these programmes are embedded into the professional practice of art, design, media and education.

PZI projects, publications, presentations and conferences address the local, national and international professional audiences of the art, design and media world. The study and research programmes are founded on a shared concern for the social, cultural and political contexts and implications of each discipline, with the objective of developing a critically reflected, interdisciplinary practice in their respective fields.

The research programmes (so-called 'lectoraten') are interconnected to the Master programmes, which all have a strong research orientation. With the exception of the Master Education in Arts, which largely focuses on the Dutch educational system, all programmes are English-taught and consist of international students and staff.

The Piet Zwart Institute is part of Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University. It is named after the Dutch designer Piet Zwart (1885-1977). Piet Zwart designed postage stamps, poster advertisements, books, interiors and furniture – including the famous 'Bruynzeel kitchen' – and was an accomplished photographer and painter. In the 1920s, he taught at the Rotterdam Academy. He was officially proclaimed the Dutch designer of the 20th century and was far ahead of his time, applying his creative talents to break down the boundaries between 'autonomous' art and 'applied' design.

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