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 284 cultural events and invited more than 234 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 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


Timeline of the KAUST-Swiss Residency Exchange

SEASON 1 (2016-17) - Organized at KAUST by BESE Division



Marie Grismar at KAUST Red Sea Research Center (CEMSE Division) 

Marie had the opportunity to learn in detail about the habitat of corals, and therefore the requirements for durable artificial coral structures. She worked closely with both the marine scientists and the lab staff, learning from their research, exchanging ideas and theories, and joining them on field trips. Find out more.

Sandra Kühne at KAUST Red Sea Research Center

Sandra looked for ways to show themes of interaction, balance, and symbiosis through her art during her exchange at the Integrated Ocean Processes Research Group lead by Prof. Burton-Jones. Find out more.



Zahrah Alghamdi at the Stream Ecology Group - Eawag University, Switzerland

Zahrah Alghamdi accompanied the Stream Ecology research group - lead by Prof. Christopher Robinson - on three excursions to the Roseg Valley in the Engadine during her residency at Eawag. Find out more.

Muhannad Shono at the Drinking Water Microbiology Group - Eawag University, Switzerland

Muhannad worked within the Drinking Water Microbiology Group, lead by Dr. Frederik Hammes. Based on his exploration of the scientific research on Bacteria, he developed his fictional organism. Find out more.


SEASON 2 (2018-19)


Artist Nadya Suvorova at the KAUST Visual Computing Center

Nadya exchanged and developed ideas with researchers of the Division for Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) at KAUST for three months. Find out more


Nasser Al-Salem at the Complex Materials Group, ETH Zurich

Nasser exchanged ideas, concepts, and methods to develop an artistic project with researchers of the Department of Materials at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.  Find out more


SEASON 3 (2020)



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 SpaldinFind out more




 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)