During the fall semester of 2017/2018, PhDArts doctoral candidate Riccardo Giacconi will teach the course Spoilsport: affinities between sports and visual and performing arts. This course is part of the Art Research Programme of the Lectorate Art Theory & Practice.

The course presents a wide range of artistic and theoretical perspectives on the relationship between sports and contemporary culture. Students will be invited to research and construct a standpoint on the issues at stake and develop their take on the subject into new work.


Riccardo Giacconi

For Whom?

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students and MA students of KABK, KC and LU


4 whole day sessions, September 2017 – January 2018

Study Points

3 EC

This course focuses on the relationship between sports and contemporary visual and performing arts. Specifically, it seeks to facilitate critical reflection on the social context around these different types of practices. Starting from a wide range of archival images, texts and sound materials, students are invited to develop an individual project related to the themes of the course and the discussions, using a medium of their choice (be it textual, visual or audio). The outcomes will be presented in the last session, which will be configured as a presentation and moderated discussion on the pieces, open to the public.

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students of the Royal Academy of Art, Royal Conservatoire and Leiden University.

Full attendance is obligatory in order to receive study points towards the Individual Study Trajectory (3 EC).

Between 10 to 12 students can participate in the programme.
The course will be in English.

Wednesdays from 10.00 – 18.00 h
20 September, 25 October, 6 December 2017 & 17 January 2018


Apply before Thursday 14 September 2017 23:59 h (CET) by sending a brief letter of motivation (max. 400 words) to: lectoraatktp@kabk.nl.

NB. Do not forget to register in Osiris as well!

Session 1 – 20 September 2017:

  • Affinities between sporting and religious events
  • Political connotations of fan communities and the expression of war instincts
  • Connections between sports, performance and bio-political control

Session 2 – 25 October 2017:

  • Similarities between stage, theatre and temple
  • Concepts of catharsis, apotheosis, affiliation and shared narrative
  • Students present their individual project concept

Session 3 – 6 December 2017:

  • Similarities and differences between the sports event and the theatrical or artistic performance
  • Students report on their individual project progress, followed by group discussion

Session 4 – 17 January 2018:

  • Students present their works. The works will be discussed collectively, and the tutor will present a selection of references to accompany the discussions.

Each student will be invited to work on an individual project related to the themes of the course and the discussions. The student will be free to choose the medium, be it an artistic one (video, sound piece, installation, 2D formats, etc.) or a theoretical one (essay, talk, interview, etc.). The outcomes will be presented in the last session, which will be configured as a presentation and a moderated discussion on the pieces, open to the public. Students will be evaluated with respect to their attendance and overall participation, their critical reflection on and creative handling of the theories and strategies discussed, and their personal project and final presentation.

The course is taught by PhDArts doctoral candidate Riccardo Giacconi. RICCARDO GIACCONI (1985, Italy) started his doctoral study at PhDArts, Leiden University in 2014. He studied fine arts at the University IUAV of Venezia, at UWE in Bristol and at New York University. His work has been exhibited in various institutions, such as WUK Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (France), tranzitdisplay (Prague), MAXXI (Rome) and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin). He was artist-in-residence at: Centre international d’art et du paysage (Vassivière, France), lugar a dudas (Cali, Colombia), MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome and La Box (Bourges). He presented his films at several festivals, including the New York Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Rome Film Festival, the Torino Film Festival and the FID Marseille International Film Festival, where he won the Grand Prix of the international competition in 2015. In 2007 he co-founded the collective Blauer Hase, with which he curates the periodical publication ‘Paesaggio’ and the ‘Helicotrema’ festival. In 2013-2014, Giacconi edited the publication Spoilsport. Questions around a social space, around the social space surrounding contemporary sport, the mechanisms regulating its production of values, and its historical background, featuring interviews with Stefano Baldini, Franco Bitossi, RoseLee Goldberg, Douglas Gordon, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jørgen Leth, David Rimanelli.


  • Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957
  • Roland Barthes, What is sport?, 1959
  • Roger Caillois, Man, play and games, 1958
  • Eric Dunning, Sport Matters. Sociological studies of sport, violence and civilization, 1999
  • Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow, 1995
  • Riccardo Giacconi (ed.), Spoilsport. Questions around a social space, 2013
  • Allen Guttmann, From Ritual to Record. The Nature of Modern Sports, 1978
  • Stephen King, The Long Walk, 1979
  • Konrad Lorenz, On aggression, 1966
  • Victor Turner, From ritual to theatre, 1982