Artists-in-Labs Season 3

Video about the artists-in-labs residency exchange 


As part of KAUST Academic Affairs, the Enrichment's Office mission is to enhance the students' experience and to expand their horizons, as well as to enrich the broad community.  

Art is a source of inspiration for innovative science and vice versa. Immersing oneself inside the creative world of a painter, listening to music, or the mere act of experiencing something different than the ordinary can result in innovative new scientific ideas. For that reason, the Enrichment Office has organized more than 580 cultural events and invited more than 220 artists to KAUST since 2010. 

To connect arts and science, the KAUST Enrichment Office produces since 2018 the artists-in-labs program in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ICS) at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).   


Since 2016, the artists-in-labs program brings artists and scientists together in an experimental framework to bring inspiring ideas to the public. It has brought the collaboration between artists and KAUST.

Through the artists-in-labs exchange, Swiss and Saudi artists can apply for a 3-month grant to work with researchers of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) or researchers from Swiss Universities. The next program will take place in the Spring of 2020; more information about this exchange will be available soon. 

This program runs since 2003 by The Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ICS), an international transdisciplinary center for cultural analysis, theory, and history in the arts related to all topic areas of Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).  Learn more about the artists-in-labs program



Artist Ahmed Mater at the Materials Theory Group, ETH Zurich

During three months, Ahmed will exchange and develop ideas at the Materials Theory group led by Prof. Dr. Nicola Spaldin

The Artist


Dr. Ahmed Mater is an artist, medical doctor, and producer at the forefront of the Middle East cultural sector. He is one of the most significant voices documenting contemporary Saudi Arabia and its place in a global context.

His broad research-based techniques preserve disregarded and forgotten narratives from religion, urban environments, and collective memories. He uses these to map the Kingdom’s past, present, and future, contemplating universally relevant issues of modernization and tradition, faith and globalization.

In 2017, Ahmed was appointed the Director of Misk Art Institute – part of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation.

He was the first contemporary Saudi artist to be collected and showcased by major Western museums. Ahmed lives and works between Riyadh, Jeddah, and Abha. Find out more about his work.




 The artists-in-labs program is brought to you by KAUST Office of Enrichment Programs, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)