Opening of the academic year: speech by Jack Verduyn Lunel

KABK Event

“A new year, a new round, with new possibilities!”. This is how director Jack Verduyn Lunel opened the academic year. He spoke of politics in relation to the arts, the art education sector brief (sectornota kunstvakonderwijs), accreditation and what the Royal Academy of Art stands for.

Verduyn Lunel explained the pressure on art education by present politics. “The art education sector brief surely must be a huge joke” he openly questions. “Our agreements with the government appear to have no value whatsoever and seem to be just a way for the majority of the political parties to strike even further at art education.”

Specifically, the terms in the art education sector brief will result in a 20% reduction in the number of bachelor students of Fine Arts in the future. Policies are being developed to implement this measure this coming academic year. On the other hand however more space has been created for master students. The KABK is in the process of developing or gaining accreditation for one or more master studies.

Art education itself however also poses a threat as the artistic process takes over content as the main focus: “Location managers and education coordinators will be appointed to ensure the institutes gain accreditation and come through the education inspections well. Policies implemented include drafting up regulations, being result-driven, ruling out exceptions and taking less into account the feedback by the students. I don’t believe these policies work, and I refuse to play a part in the stifling regulations neurosis.”

Renovation and new spaces

Verduyn Lunel calls upon all to put our strength into keeping up the good work, and in maintaining and strengthening the position of the Royal Academy of Art as an excellently equipped institute with some of the most interesting art courses in the whole of the Netherlands. One of the responses to the threats is the new roof construction and the purchase of new buildings on the Bleijenburg. The renovation of the new spaces will be completed during the coming academic year: “I am convinced that we not only have an institute that offers excellent education, but also facilities and spaces with possibilities to offer thorough and innovative education in a wide range of fine arts and design.”


Another important item on the agenda is the accreditation of the courses. A positive result is imperative to the very existence of the academy. During the coming year we will discuss input, policies and results with all of the tutors. Verduyn Lunel calls upon everyone who believes there are shortcomings in the academy. “Report these to me as soon as possible, now or at the latest tomorrow. We will consider these in our quality and improvement strategies! Quality and content remain my top priorities. Together we will work to ensure maintaining the position of this oldest academy of the Netherlands - and one of the world’s oldest - as one of the most innovative and modern there is.”

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