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Graduation project 'Panacea' | Hannah Polak, Fine Arts 2014, Winner Stroom Encouragement Award

Image: Graduation project 'Panacea' | Hannah Polak, Fine Arts 2014, Winner Stroom Encouragement Award

The programme is described according to four partly overlapping areas of competence:

  • the Artistic domain
  • the Theoretical domain 
  • the Professional social domain
  • Individual Study Track (IST) 

Artistic domain

In the artistic technical domain, students concentrate primarily on developing their creative ability and the capacity for critical reflection. These abilities or competencies are considered the most characteristic and important for students graduating in fine arts education. All art and design courses develop the students’ abilities in this domain.

Theoretical domain

Creating art and designing is intellectual and investigative work. Art and design are evaluated according to artistic objectives for their relevance to national and international standards of professional practice. This implies that artists and designers need to possess adequate theoretical knowledge of the field.

Professional domain

This field touches upon most of the competencies or abilities addressed within the programme: capacity for critical reflection, capacity for growth and innovation, organisational ability, external awareness and capacity for collaboration.

Individual Study Track (IST)

The Individual Study Track (only for fulltime students) is a one-day weekly programme in which students develop their own highly individualised programmes. Anything is possible in this programme, as long as it is related to their own artistic research. The IST Officer is responsible for IST-related tutoring and communication. All competencies are addressed.

Propaedeutic year

The competencies of the propaedeutic year are activated by the courses offered, as well as within the framework of the orientation, selection and referencing phases of the programme (see Description of Study Programme).

The ability to create is encouraged in all practical courses through assignments in the two-dimensional, threedimensional, lens-related and digital spectrums of the visual arts. The same applies to the capacity for critical reflection and the capacity for innovation and growth, given that the results of the assignments are analysed by both teachers and students according to their formal and substantive qualities. The results of these analyses are used to develop new assignments.

The organisational ability of students is activated as they learn to organise the formal problems that occur when connecting content to form and it is inextricably linked to the process of creating. Students begin by creating something, followed by critical reflection and assignments for new work, which provides an incentive to review the production process and adjust its formal aspects.

The theoretical aspects of organising are discussed in the course Field Orientation, an intensive programme in which students are confronted with professional practice and its organisational aspects. In the second semester, students learn to document their development in the form of a portfolio.

Students also participate in an Inauguration Programme and maintain files in which they keep track of and comment on their developments.

The Inauguration Programme is a cycle of exhibitions at various locations in the Academy, in which students are introduced to all aspects of making solo or group exhibitions: setting up, designing invitations, opening the show, documenting public discussions, cleaning. Their communicative ability is developed in all situations that force students to present and explain their own work or that of others: in the Inauguration Programme, in the reports that they write for the course in Art Orientation and during the presentation for the course in General Art History. The external awareness of students is developed through the course in Field, as well as during excursions (e.g. the annual trips to Berlin, the Venice Biennale and Documenta).

The General Art History course sheds light on the principles and factors that have shaped art and culture from the early days until Romanticism. During the propaedeutic year, students develop their capacity for collaboration by organising presentations for evaluations and progress meetings together with their peers, through joint ventures during the Open Day and by making group proposals for the Academy-wide project week.

The didactic climate further encourages students to learn from each other’s insights, ideas and problems.

Artistic domain

The general visual development in the propaedeutic year focuses on the acquisition of skills associated with various aspects of working in 2D through three courses in Drawing. Drawing 1 covers observational drawing, in which eye-hand coordination is practiced in such aspects as shape, size, plasticity, tonality, colour, line, composition and materiality. Drawing 2 addresses observational drawing based on the imagination. Drawing 3 approaches drawing as a tool for research, idea development and processing. The courses in Painting and Graphics cover watercolour, oil and graphic techniques. The Spatial course encompasses all aspects of working with and in space, in the material sense, as well as in the immaterial sense. In the Optics course, the lens is used as a search tool that is able to collect personal topics and themes. The skills of cinematic expression are taught starting from the camera obscura, the analogue and the digital camera, to the video camera and digital imaging.

Idea development

Idea development is understood as the organisation of a systematic process in which an inspiring idea is revealed and gradually conceptualised through theoretical and practical means. The process starts with the visualisation of an inhibited idea. The idea is then captured in sketches, followed by models, designs and drafts. Finally, a suitable context for the idea is researched. The course in Meaning plays a central role in this process, supported by the Drawing 3 course. One session of the second semester is reserved for the ‘free space’, which anticipates the Individual Study Track in the main phase.

The first year has no supporting courses, other than the film programme, which can be seen as an annex to the General Art History course. The film programme PLAY/TIME presents monthly screenings of film history classics, each accompanied by an introduction.

Theoretical domain

The General Art History course covers developments in art and architecture from the early days to Romanticism, based on A World History of Art by Honour and Fleming and various articles. Each semester is concluded with an examination, and students are given writing assignments, in addition to giving presentations at least once a year. In the first semester of the second year, students go on excursion to Berlin. Preparation for this excursion includes attending a lecture series on the cultural state of the city in relation to historical, political, social and geographical factors. This cycle is concluded with an examination. The excursion includes visits to institutions of classical and modern art, artists’ studios, theatres and architectural points of interest.

In the Field Orientation course, students investigate the tension between artistic ambitions and the ways in which these ambitions can function in the public domain by visiting places where this tension is generated and/or expressed. Examples include studios, artists’ initiatives, galleries and museums. Conversations and interviews are part of these visits, and students document their findings in reports.

Professional domain

The career preparation in the propaedeutic year is taught in the Field Orientation course, as described above. Students gain additional experience by participating in the Inauguration Programme, by designing a trophy in a simulated professional assignment, by organising the assessment and progress meeting presentations and by assisting graduates with the organisation of the pre-examination exhibition and the graduation show. After the first semester assessments, each student completes a one-week internship in an art-related situation or institution. Descriptions of the various courses are available in separate dossiers.

Main Phase/Year 2

Section profiles

Section: Painting

The disciplinary domain is defined by all conceivable forms of painting and drawing, and amalgamations thereof. The best-known examples are the techniques involving gouache, watercolour, oils, acrylics and tempera. Nevertheless, where the transfer of images is largely determined by colour, numerous other new means of expression occur in this domain as well, including photography, animation, cinematic projections and digital media.

Section: Reproduction & Distribution

This disciplinary domain is defined by all conceivable graphic techniques, including etching, lithography, woodcut, mezzotint, silkscreen and offset printing, and photographic and digital techniques. Working with various graphic techniques creates the possibility of printing numerous copies of a work. An interesting option is then to create a unique work from the copies. Another possibility is to produce books, posters and artworks, to be published periodically through traditional or digital means.

Section: Interdisciplinary Attitudes

The Interdisciplinary Attitudes section is characterised by the absence of any disciplinary concentration or limitation. Students and teachers unite in an artistic ambition. By gradually revealing this ambition, the most suitable discipline or combination of disciplines is determined. Social structures provide material for research and productions. This section results in theatrical productions, video installations and photographic works, as well as in drawings and/or paintings.

Section: 3D

The disciplinary climate of the 3D section is established in the second year. In this section, the classical sculpture is problematised in the ‘Large Model’ project, and the significance of space and threedimensionality is researched in all its facets. This confronts students with the scope of contemporary ideas of sculpture and space. Students are guided by research, assignments (some in the public domain) and presentations. In the past, this process has led students to create sculptures in the traditional sense of the word, architecture or proposals to that end, and video installations and photographic works.

Students control a significant part of their own study material by creating works and reflecting on them. The primary learning objective for the second year is therefore to start and maintain an ongoing production of experimental and investigative visual products. The second year competencies are related to achieving this objective.

The sections described above are imbedded into the part-time programme in two modular directions: 2D and Interdisciplinary Attitudes. The 2D module includes painting and free graphics, and the Interdisciplinary Attitudes module also includes the 3D section described above. Differences may occur between full-time and part-time study programmes.

Competencies for Year 2

Students are expected to master the following competencies during this phase of the programme:

  • Creative ability: Students are able to initiate and maintain the production of a wide and diverse selection of investigative visual works. 
  • Capacity for critical reflection: Students are able to reflect on their own work and that of others, and they are able to evaluate its quality and effectiveness. 
  • Capacity for growth and innovation: Students are able to use newly acquired knowledge, skills and insights, as well as the criticism of others to advance the development of their work. 
  • Organisational ability: Students are able to create ideal work environments that advance and enhance the production of and reflection on their work. 
  • Communicative ability: Students are able to discuss and explain their work and its production process through oral and visual presentations. 
  • External awareness: Students are able to research artistic and social settings in order to intensify their production of visual work and the reflection process.
  • Capacity for collaboration: Students are capable of collaborating with fellow students and/or external parties, employing the experiences gained through these collaborations to progress and intensify their production and research process. 

These competencies are applicable to all sections. Although the competencies are developed within the different disciplinary frameworks, they are active for the entire department in the Content/Form, Process/Research, Transferring and Theory courses.

Creative ability, the capacity for critical reflection and the capacity for growth and innovation are developed in the Content/Form and Process/Research courses, in which the constant flow of images is used as a study of the various aspects of the formation of meaning in an image, to investigate the articulation of size and space, to determine weaknesses and strengths in form and content, and to analyse the consequences resulting from these aspects, in relation to the use of different media and disciplines. The theoretical component of the Process/Research course stimulates the search for a suitable context as a factor of growth and innovation. Students also develop organisational ability in the Process/Research course, in which the source materials and work plan function as documentation. Communicative ability and external awareness are part of the courses in Content/Form and Process/ Research, although they feature most prominently in the Transference and Theory courses. These courses emphasise these skills in the making of exhibitions, as well as in exercises in verbal and written communication about the students’ own work and that of others. The courses also reveal historical and contemporary artistic contexts and factors that have a formative influence on these contexts. The students’ capacity for collaboration is stimulated by the fact that the students work together with their peers in a large studio space, organise internal and external projects and exhibitions, and prepare a time and space planning for the evaluations and progress meetings.

Artistic domain

General visual development

General visual development in the second year manifests itself in four distinctive sections within the field of study, as well as in relation to the most important objective of the second year: the creation of a flow of images that is employed for numerous analytical and reflective interventions.

In the Painting section, students paint and draw in all conceivable media, and various workshops are organised (e.g. a tempera workshop and a Photoshop course).

In Reproduction & Distribution, students are introduced to all graphic techniques, photography and animation. A bookbinding workshop provides students with the skills that they need to create a publication.

As implied by the title of the course, Interdisciplinary Attitudes offers an interdisciplinary environment, also in addition to workshops in the fields of theatre, sound and various sensory fields.

In 3D, students research materiality, structure, design and meaning, as well as spatial quality and status. They create images and objects in all available materials, with primary emphasis on the ‘Large Model’, in which students work on a sculpture based on a live model during the course of the year. This process includes all stages involved in producing a ‘classical’ sculpture. A bronze-casting workshop is organised as well.

Idea development

Defined in the propaedeutic year, idea development is also addressed in this year, focusing on helping students to gain control of their flow of images in order to steer it in a recognisable thematic direction. Idea development is covered in all practical courses, as students search for their themes in all elements of the curriculum. In the Process/Research course, students organise a functional work environment, in order to create an effective foundation for increasing the depth and breadth of their research into their themes and/or artistic ambition.

In addition, the department-wide Artistic Research course enables students to apply concepts of process and research, along with methods of materialisation, to their own research based on personal ideas and visual development.

Supporting courses

Supporting courses are available in the form of various Academy-wide introductory courses:

  • electives and minors in collaboration with Leiden University 
  • optional activities within the framework of the Studium Generale and ’t Hart 
  • the film programme 
  • guest lecturers contributing specifically to internal and external projects 

Theoretical domain

Even though all practical courses include theoretical components (e.g. exhibition theory in the Transference course; the addressing of metaphors, symbolism, style and stylisation in the Content/Form course; and the theoretical component in the Process/Research course), the Theory course continues to provide the most important foundation for theoretical knowledge and intellectual skills. The the ory programme for the entire department is structured as follows: students gain knowledge of art history from Romanticism to the present by attending lectures, by taking day trips to exhibitions and by having group discussions in relation to a topic prepared by a fellow student. Students maintain a sourcebook with inspiring texts and images, writing a paper each semester on a self-chosen topic from the field of art, in addition to a statement about their own work, including such aspects as motivation, inspiration and relationships with other artists.

Professional domain

Career preparation is structured in two parts. The first part is integrated. For example, aspects of professional practice are discussed during in-class group conversations. This also takes place in other classes when necessary and useful, according to the situations in the students’ studios. The second part of the preparation is programmed. The following overview of this part is based on the programmes of previous years. Collaboration with external partners in the field is an important element of the programmed part. Some of these collaborations take place each year, while others vary from one year to the next.

The following elements are offered throughout the department: the Rhetorics course, the Inauguration Programme, presentations in project spaces, studio visits, and incidental internships with professional visual artists as part of the Individual Study Track.

The department collaborates on projects, varying by section and study, with a variety of partners: ++      Nest ++      The Hague Committee Room ++      Municipality of The Hague ++      Filmhuis, The Hague ++      Diligentia, The Hague ++      Tent, Rotterdam ++      Stroom, The Hague ++      Council for Culture Second-year students of all sections prepare group exhibitions as a prelude to the exhibitions in the third year.

Main Phase/Year 3

Upon completion of the second year, students have reaped a rich harvest of formal and substantive questions. In the third year, these questions are employed in all sections for the purpose of researching their interrelationships.

Competencies for Year 3

Students are expected to master the following competencies during this phase of the programme.

  • Creative ability: Students are able to create thematic and formal coherence in the continuous production of visual works. 
  • Capacity for critical reflection: Students are able to pinpoint weaknesses and potential strengths in the process towards thematic and formal coherence.  
  • Capacity for growth and innovation: Students are able to realise continuous development in their artistic ambitions by focusing on coherence in their work. 
  • Organisational ability: Students are able to organise their work and research processes to achieve optimal advancement in the revelation of thematic and formal coherence. 
  • Communicative ability: Students are able to discuss and explain the coherence in their work through oral and visual presentations. 
  • External awareness: Students increasingly position themselves in relation to artistic and social settings, thus intensifying their research into thematic and formal coherence. 
  • Capacity for collaboration: Students are capable of collaborating with their fellow students and/or external parties, employing the experiences gained through these collaborations in order to advance their research into thematic and formal coherence. 

The students’ creative ability, capacity for critical reflection and capacity for growth and innovation are further developed in the Content/Form course and in the practical and theoretical components of the Process/Research course. Organisational ability is developed in several components, including the practical component of the Process/Research course. Communicative ability and external awareness are developed in the Transference and Theory courses. The students’ capacity for collaboration is stimulated in a manner similar to that described above in the second-year competencies. This is accomplished in the Transference course through several internal and external presentations and exhibitions.

Artistic domain

General visual development

The description of general visual development in the second year applies to the third year as well, with the difference that all works produced are oriented towards the research into the coherence of artistic production. Central to this research is the continuing revelation of the students’ personal artistic abilities and ambitions. All practical courses contribute to this endeavour, including the Theory course, in which students further develop their insight and understanding of their own situations by relating them to inspiring and critical contexts.

Idea development

The description of idea development in the second year also applies equally to the third year, but with the addition of elements relating to the central objective of this study phase. The concept development in the third year thus focuses on structuring all formal and substantive questions that arise in the search for coherence, and unveiling authentic artistic practice. The Process/Research course plays the most important role in this development.

Supporting courses

Specific courses and workshops within the framework of the career preparation are described in the professional social domain below. The other possibilities for supporting courses are described under ‘Supporting courses’ in the section on Year 2.

Theoretical domain

In the third year, students are intensively confronted with various philosophical, aesthetic and social models of thinking. The teaching material consists of the book De Donkere Spiegel (The Dark Mirror) by Frank Vandeveire and a wide range of art historical literature, magazines and newspapers. Students learn to identify artistic problems, concepts and principles, while acquiring a grasp of the theoretical issues present in their work. Each semester, students write statements about their own work, in addition to research papers. The topic of the first paper is an art movement in relation to social development, while the second focuses on the question ‘What is art?’ At least once a year, each student gives a presentation on a theoretical topic. At the end of the academic year, students determine their thesis subjects. For further information about the theoretical domain in Year 3, please refer to the description of Year 2.

Professional domain

The activities described for the second year apply to the third year as well. In addition, projects and collaborations are organised each year especially for thirdyear students. These activities are specifically related to their stage of development.

Students in all sections participate in the Documentation Workshop, which consists of several sessions distributed throughout the academic year. In this workshop, students learn to:

  • document work for presentations and/ or grant or subsidy applications 
  • compile and present a portfolio
  • give verbal presentations 
  • write texts for presentations, grant or subsidy applications, job assignments and post-graduate studies 

Students also take Finance and Business Plan courses, and they participate in a Grant/Subsidy Application Writing workshop and a workshop on presenting. Students in each section collaborate to organise an exhibition. The projects with external partners, as mentioned in the description of the second year, are employed in the third year in relation to the students’ stage of development.

Main Phase + Graduation year

In the final phase, the learning objective is the full development of the personal signature in content and form, as revealed in the third year. All aspects of the research process, including the process-based structure in which it takes place, is tailored to the unique convergence of content and form. These aspects are addressed in the courses in Process/Research and Content/Form. Furthermore, students master the practical and theoretical aspects of making their work public in the Transference course, in addition to learning about the financial/administrative side of being an artist. The competencies for this phase are related to this learning objective.

Competencies for the final year

The competencies of the final phase correspond to the final qualifications of the programme:

  • Creative ability: Students create authentic work that originates from the pursuit of their individual artistic visions and that contribute to the realisation of their personal ambitions to become artists. 
  • Capacity for critical reflection: Students are able to analyse, interpret and assess their own work and that of others, and they can apply the ensuing outcomes to benefit their own work. 
  • Capacity for growth and innovation: Students continuously develop their art practice in both depth and intensity, thereby contributing to developments in visual art. 
  • Organisational ability: Students are able to create and maintain their own inspiring and functional work environments, and they are able to organise all aspects of their research and production processes. 
  • Communicative ability: Students are able to present and explain their artistic visions and work. 
  • External awareness: Students are able to relate their own art practice to the practice of artists in the past and present, drawing connections between different public and social contexts. 
  • Capacity for collaboration: Students are able to make independent artistic contributions to collaborative products or processes.

Artistic domain

General visual development

All painted, graphic, sculptural and other disciplinary works are employed in order to sharpen the merging of form and content. This represents a process of refinement in the already acquired visual idiom, to which the practice courses and the Theory course contribute. The Theory course addresses inspiring and refining contexts through the theory lessons, in which students are encouraged to personalise their work further.

Idea development

As defined above, idea development focuses on structuring all formal and substantive questions that occur when students make the final decisions (within the framework of the programme) concerning their themes and the forms they will take. The Process/Research course is importance in this phase, as is the Transference course, as the work is more likely to reveal itself in all its formal and substantive peculiarities in public situations than it is in the studio.

Supporting courses

Supporting courses are not part of the final phase of the programme, except in the professional practice workshops and activities. These activities are described in the section on the professional social domain.

Theoretical domain

In the final phase of the programme, the Theory course focuses primarily on the writing of the thesis, the subject of which was decided by the student at the end of the third year. The thesis is a report of the student’s comprehensive investigation conducted within the framework of the student’s work. It should show the student’s ability for reflection, an extensive understanding of the history of art and insight into the context of the student’s own work. The theses are discussed in groups during the first semester, and they are supervised individually during the second semester. The minimum length for a thesis is 25 pages of typed text, excluding images. The sourcebook is again a means of inventory, inspiration and documentation that is directly related to the student’s stage of development.

Professional domain

Most of the external activities that are available in the second and third years are also available to fourth-year students. The following activities are organised specifically for fourth-year students from all sections:

  • Post-Graduate Studies Day: At this event, Dutch institutions that offer postgraduate studies give presentations, and international Master programmes are discussed. Third-year students are welcome to attend, as long as it does not interfere with their schedules. 
  • Day of the Future: This event consists of lectures on the local cultural policies (Stroom), presentations by the Fonds voor de Kunst (Fund for the Arts), lectures by various gallery owners and artists’ initiatives, presentations by the Chamber of Commerce, and talks by alumni from different years about their experiences after graduation.
  • Pre-examination exhibition: This exhibition, which is organised by students, takes place outside of the KABK building. It also includes a publication. 
  • Portfolio/networking day: At this event, artists’ initiatives, galleries and curators present themselves and view/evaluate students’ portfolios. 
  • Graduation show: The final show is the masterpiece (in all respects) of the newly launched professional practice Graduating part-time students are able to use studio space at the Academy during their final two semesters. Other parttime students follow the programme by attending classes or through individual talks. Part-time students may also attend guest lectures, workshops and lectures that are scheduled during the day.

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Last updated: 2016-09-07

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