A Guided Tour to Postgraduate Players






In the Netherlands, postgraduate institutes are quite common. The four mentioned here are not the only ones but perhaps the most well-known. On a regular basis, 'RAAD VOOR CULTUUR' rates the institutes. This rating is also accompanied by the question, whether three large institutes of this kind aren't too many, something which intensifies the pressure on the institutes to sharpen their image.


de ateliers/ studio 63, Amsterdam, NL

'Dissatisfied with the mass-oriented and formula art education of that time, the initiators aimed to create a structure that would meet the need for beginning artists to have direct contacts with colleagues in a professional working environment.'(3)
Founded in Harlem in 1963 by, among others, Edgar Fernhout, Jan Dibbets, Stanley Brouwn, and Carel Vissier, de ateliers has become well-known over the years, especially as a postgraduate institute for painting. Since 1993, the institute is located in Amsterdam in the former building of the Rijksakademie. De ateliers is a foundation which is mainly funded by the 'Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences'. The 20 students have plenty of room in the 23, up to 100-square-metre studios. Technical equipment, on the other hand, barely exists: a wood and metal workshop, b/w dark room, a video camera, and - as is stated in coquette modesty - a coin phone. (1) The administration - one secretary and a caretaker - is very small. A scholarship is offered to all students, and an apartment is available for foreign students. If one chooses to do so, the residency can be ended with an exhibition; there is, however, no practice of 'open house' or 'open studio'.

The teaching model of 'de ateliers' is based on an intensive master-student relationship which, due to the low number of students, claims to be of a more personal nature than is the case at German art academies, for example. A corresponding 'authoritarian' moment is, however, also retained here. As opposed to most other postgraduate institutes, the 'students' here do not choose their 'studio visits', i.e. the teachers available for dialogue. Each Tuesday, between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the students' studios are open and the present teachers (from a total of ten 'permanent' and 'visiting' teachers) can decide themselves who they want to visit and judge, when, and how often. These potential studio visits exert enormous pressure in regard to productivity; student absenteeism is immediately noticed.

During the remaining week, the 20 students are amongst themselves. The house rules do not allow inviting guests, artist friends, gallery-owners or art mediators from outside. This 'isolation' to oneself and one's work is part of de ateliers' program and the reason it received the nick-name 'monastery'. 'The artist must suffer' could be the maxim describing de ateliers' approach to teaching.
(1) www.de-ateliers.nl/eng/fac.htm
(2) www.de-ateliers.nl/eng/profiel.htm
(3) www.de-ateliers.nl/eng/achtergrond.htm


Jan van Eyck Akademie, Centre for Fine Art Design and Theory (JvE), Maastricht

'The Jan van Eyck Akademie is an international post graduate institute for practical experiment and research in the field of visual culture. The academy combines three departments - fine art, design, and theory - as equal partners within a common programme: debate and research on the contemporary cultural condition.' (1)
In 1991, Jan van Toorn proposed the model of three interconnected departments. Today, this model is applied.

In regard to their power of decision, the individual departments are relatively independent from each other. But at the same time, close proximity and a linking of the educational offers is intended. Each department has a 'head of department', two 'tutors' (maximum of 5 years) and 3 to 4 'project tutors'. The school's management is superordinate to the three departments. There are 16 'participants' studying in each department, accompanied by 6 to 7 tutors.

All participants have a 4x4-square-metre studio and access to various workshops: computer, audio-video, printing, graphics, photo, wood, materials and, in addition, to a media and documentation centre. The tuition fee of FL 2875/2000 corresponds to the university standard in the Netherlands. FL 1800 return back to the participant in the form of money for materials. The academy supports the search for a scholarship.

In the publication 'Unfortunately last Sunday afternoon somebody left the door open…' (2), which appeared in 2000, one can read about the many years of conceptual reflections made by the JvE-Akademie. Only in 1992 did it attain the status of an 'international postgraduate centre for fine arts, design and theory'. It is a foundation mainly funded by the 'Ministry of Education, Culture and Science'. In JvE-Akademie's policy plan for 1993-96 it says: 'Position. It's the academy's intention to be a venue for those whose practical and theoretical reflection on contemporary visual culture is not restricted to accepted values but who wish to take an engaged stance in order to keep critical action and discourse going in the face of the instrumentalisation of (visual) communication by institutions and media.'(3) In the pubic plan for 1997-2000, the introduction of two new fields, 'Transcultural Studies' and 'Design and Media', was proposed. These fields are to traverse the other departments.

For the event 'Untitled Day'(4), each participant in his/her second year could suggest a guest. Both collaborate for a short time and then jointly present their work.
After Simon den Hartog, Koen Brams is now director since June, 2000. In talks between the three 'heads of department' and the new director, the policy plan for 2000-2004 is worked out: The JvE-Akademie intends to sharpen its image as a type of 'research enterprise'. This is to be mirrored in renaming 'postgraduate' to 'post-academic'.

The characteristic of a research institute is to be gained by intensifying project work. Only the 'heads of department' have a five-year contract. The other 'tutors' are invited for the period of a project. Project proposals can be made by the 'participants' and the 'tutors', giving the impression of a form of equal rights. When being admitted, participants are increasingly questioned about their interests in regard to projects which within the institution could have the effect of 'discourse surplus value'. So much to the plans...

(1) Information brochure Jan van Eyck Akademie, 2000 S.4
(2) Cooperation between: Museum Het Domain (Sittard), Fine Art Depatment/Jan van Eyck Akademie and the KSA:K/Center for Contemporary Art (Chisinau, Moldava)
(3) Policy plan JvE-Akademie 1993-96, Maastrich 1991, taken from: 'Unfortunately last Sunday afternoon somebody left the door open…'. The Annual Report JvE-Akademie 1997 notes in regard to van Toorn: 'Van Toorn sees the academy as an ongoing work in progress, a place for debate, for controversy, and hopefully for contradiction. It is a question of not excluding the element of incalculability, of taking risks with what has not yet received articulation', ibid.
(4) 'Untitled Day', JvE-Akademie Sept. 1999 to Apr. 2000. From the description: 'Each Untitled Day consists of a presentation by a second year participant, a lecture by a further guest invited following the participants' proposal, and possibly a lecture by a further guest invited by the department.' Asked if he would again organise the Untitled Days in such a fashion, Eran Schaerf (head of department fine arts) answered: 'the problem with an idea becoming a program. I actually intend to do it differently each year…'. From a conversation with Eran Schaerf, August, 2000.
(5) cf.: 'The students were made into an audience... shouldn't the programme consist of the participants' research?' From a conversation with Eran Schaerf, August, 2000.


Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL

'The Rijksakadmie is unique in the way it combines the extraordinary qualities of 'artists in residencies', research centres and 'postgraduate' programs, on a high international level.' (1)
The structure of the 'Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten', founded in 1870, was revised by the sociologist Janwillem Schrofer in 1986 for the last time. The new building and the generous enhancement of the facilities (2) was funded by the 'Ministry of Education, Culture and Science' and lent the Rijksakademie its current representative form.(3) On a mid-term basis, FL 75000 a year (1997) were made available for each of the 60 academy places.(4)

A reorganisation of the scholarship practice preceded this enormous financial support: the practice from the '70s, to buy from each artist works equivalent to the amount of FL 1500, was replaced by a 'performance-oriented' and 'selective' scholarship landscape.

Vis-à-vis the Dutch government, the Rijksakademie is obliged to accept approximately 50% Dutch applicants. The rest is from Europe and overseas. (5) Like no other institute, the Rijksakademie integrates students from non-Western countries.

Postgraduate institutes invent different names for their 'participants': here, the 33 art advisors are called 'advisors'. They visit the Rijksakademie at irregular intervals for one or more days. Three 'facilitators', (they used to be called 'co-ordinators'), organise, among other things, contacts ('appointments') to the 'participants'. These usually consist of one-and-a-half hour studio discussions.

All 'participants' are allotted a studio with name-plate and telephone. A bank account is set up for them, they receive a personally-coded magnetic key for accessing the complex which is equipped with security technology. Attendance and absentee times can be retrieved any time on the house computer at the reception - really nice, like in a company.

The 'advisors' who are artists, curators and theorists stem from different generations and are more or less established.(6) This heterogeneous spectrum and the relatively high fluctuation of advisors result in a flexible structure that can partially be influenced by the 'participants' as well. Since the traditional art disciplines were abolished two years ago, a broad range of communication possibilities and workshops promote an interdisciplinary method of working.

The relatively open structure of the Rijksakademie could encourage a flexible program. But if one compares the lists of 'advisors' in the past few years, fluctuation has been rather low. The institute is afraid of putting the once reached and publicly perceived status quo at risk. (7)

The Rijksakademie has partially taken on forms of a private enterprise: the 'advisors' are not civil servants, but have mid- to short-term contracts like all other employees. The cafeteria was contracted out in 1996 and 1997.(8) The future 'participant' signs a contract (there are no records of study or transcripts). Films and videos are distributed under the label Rijksakadmie. The postgraduate commits himself/herself to pay the Rijksakademie 10% of the purchase price, should a work produced there be sold.

The Rijksakademie stepped up its 'independence' from the state and since November 1, 1999, is an enterprise of its own. But it is nonetheless difficult to describe its current status. It is still subsidised.(9) To maintain the expensive standard of its production and service apparatus and to forestall a possible cutback of state subsidies, several employees seek to win over financial backers and sponsors and access EU money.(10) Especially vis-à-vis their private financial backers, the Rijksakademie is under pressure to achieve, meaning the quantity and quality of public success of their products. On a quarterly basis, a sort of annual report is sent out. 'Extra' lists the exhibition activities of 'advisors' and 'participants', even if they have long since left the academy. (11)

As opposed to many other institutes, the Rijksakademie attempts to organise a monthly support of 1250 Gulden (1998) for each 'participant' without a scholarship. Some 'participants' are sponsored. As quid pro quo for the monthly FL 1250, the sponsoring contract provides for three visits, a presentation in the company building and the transfer of ownership of an artwork worth FL 2000. 'All one's life', reference to the company label must be made in the CV, and during 'open studios' the label must stand next to the 'participant's' name on the studio door. (12)

The open studios are extremely important for the Rijksakademie. More than 5000 invitations are sent out, and about 3000 guests come for a visit in three days. In 1997, the open studios were supervised by a curator. (13) There are special fees, additional staff is employed in the workshops, the 'apparatus' operates at double speed. An institution bound to mid-term financial contracts must inevitably view and utilise the open studios as a show safeguarding the contracts and aimed at expanding the existing network between artists, art mediators, politics, industry and commerce. Because so many staff members were involved in producing the works of the 'participants', the open studios are celebrated like a big party.

(1) cf. info brochure 2000
(2) Apart from generously equipped workshops for wood, metal, ceramics and printing, there are two film studios, computer facilities and, since 1997, a digital editing station.
(3) DM 15000 per student are allotted per semester at German art academies (94).
(4) Many graduates receive a 'basic scholarship' (FL 60000/2 years), and there are also the 'werkbeurs' (work scholarships) (Fl 45000/year).
(5) cf. the statistics in "Academy", in: NRC-Handelsblad, web site from 10/28/99: In 1999, there were 208 applicants from the Netherlands, 24 were accepted, the rest of Europe 249 to 21, Asia 50 to 7, Latin America 44 to 4, Africa 64 to 1, North America 35 to 1, Australia, Oceania 5 to 0. (www.nrc.nl/W2/Lab/Profiel/Rijksakademie/academie.htm)
(6) For publicity reasons, all advisors are listed on the back of the envelope in which the application documents are sent out.
(7) This fear is true of staff members who are in worry about their short-term contracts.
(8) The reason being that the cafeteria of the exclusive academy was turned into an 'exquisite' restaurant. The chef recruited for this purpose was offered the opportunity to open the restaurant space, which is attractively located alongside a canal, to the public on weekends and bring guests across the canal to the premises on a boat. But the idea turned out to be impractical. The institute had to subsidise the expensive meals (salmon several times a week) for the students.
(9) The contract with the director, due to be terminated after 10 years, was therefore no longer applicable.
(10) The subsidies amounted to FL 6000000 in 2000. The so-called Stichting Trustfonds Rijksakademie (earlier Stichting Intendance) deals with sponsoring.
(11) The chance to 'use distribution to raise the image' depends on the amount of art produced. Art production is in a paradox relationship of being subsidised and simultaneously impeded: the service-providing apparatus of 32 employees frees one from the time-consuming, day-to-day formalities. 33 advisors perform counselling, 13 workshop staff members help out during production. If 45 employees, 32 occasionally present 'advisors' and 60 'participants' all encounter each other on a daily basis in constricted spaces, it does demand an enormous communication performance.
(12) When artists are sponsored, the institute conducts the contract negotiations. In addition, this personal sponsoring contract, something which in this form is more common in the field of sports than in art, is not thematized. No conceptual distinction is made between sponsors and institutional funding. The financial conditions of the institute are not transparent and are never a topic of discussion.
(13) In 1997, the Belgian curator Bart Cassimann was given the responsibility for organising the 'open studios'.

Notes on RAIN

'RAIN will strengthen the exchange of art, ideas, techniques, cultural heritage and knowledge between artists' initiatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both physically and virtually. In this exchange the emphases will be on 'south-south' and 'south-north' contacts, taking into account the 'north-south' line which is already represented rather well'(14)

RAIN is an ambitious project of the Rijksakademie and serves, on the one hand, to expand its network of relationships in the sense of 'development aid', such as the continuing involvement of former 'participants'. (15) The RAIN project encourages former students from Africa, Asia and Latin America to suggest projects in their respective countries. For the most part, the supported projects can best be described as small, official spaces or initiatives which have the aim of offering a platform for seminars, workshops, co-operations and exhibitions. The former students are to act as sort of organisers for these projects and function as contacts for the Rijksakademie vis-à-vis the other persons involved in the respective countries. (16)

RAIN distributes a budget surplus of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the form of a one-off start-up funding of about FL 15000 for each project. In addition, the teachers and students of the Rijksakademie, who fly to each of the projects, are paid air tickets to workshops.

The Rijksakademie also provides some of the equipment, such as computers. It organises the presentation of projects, documentation, publishing, and the creation of a web site. This is certainly a support for projects lacking infrastructure, but on the other hand, due to this, the Rijksakademie keeps in its hands the mediation of these projects in Europe and the option of national or institution-related representation.

As the overall project RAIN is still in a phase of development, many decisions are, as yet, open. The various parties hope to be able to contribute their diverging interests to the project. But the Dutch ministry reserves the right to decide on further financing of the overall project, and the influence of the Rijksakademie is dependant on this; but so is the existence of some of the projects, should they fail to find other (partial) financing until then. (17)

(14) Concept paper of the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam 2000

(15) The initials RAIN originally stood for Rijksakademie International Networks. One can imagine that the students participating in the organisation were not happy with this name. In this context, the Rijksakademie points out the diplomatic function the name has: only if 'Rijksakademie' is part of the project name, will money come from the ministry. And the ministry viewed the projects more like foreign branches of the Rijksakademie. Now, however, the long form of the name is no longer used.
cf. the Email-conversation with Claudia Fontes (TRAMA), August, 2000:
'Project RAIN, the one of the Rijksakademie, is linked to us as they proposed to build a network with other ex-participants' initiatives. TRAMA's sketch existed before their proposal, before I left the Rijks, but with the huge input they are putting through RAIN we can handle things differently towards institutions in our own country and get support here for our own project. For people who decide here, RAIN made the difference between 'OK, you do it and I watch you failing' and 'this can be serious, we want to be there just in case'. If I must describe RAIN, I wouldn't know what to say so far. I wish it is a lot of good will to rebuild links with southern post-colonialist cultures in a healthy way, supported by some functionaries sensitive towards the potency that could be generated by other structures of thinking in the 'south'. (It is so annoying, this north-south thing. Makes everything black and white. Same for 'central' and 'peripheral'. Let's keep trying to find proper terms for it.) What upset me at some points in the talks in Heemstede was to become aware once more of the huge, enormous gap that is still to be narrowed between wills and a real thought behind it, a real attempt and need to incorporate to the confidence of 'central' cultures in rational control as a tool to develop knowledge, other categories that maybe have to do with chaos or emotions, or with the place where chaos and control meet: chance.'

(16) cf. the concept paper of the Rijksakademie: 'In 2000 the following partners will participate in the network:
'Centre Soleil d'Afrique' in Bamako, Mali is an artists' centre which organises workshops, seminars, exhibitions etc. It is financed with the support of the Prins Claus Fund, primarily to relate artists from West Africa to other parts of the world. Contact: Hama Goro.
'Ruang Rupa' in Jakarta, Indonesia, is an artists' platform for debates, projects, workshops and exchange within Jakarta, Indonesia. It will begin to concentrate on art in public space. Contact: Ade Darmawan (in development)'.
'TRAMA' in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a flexible, horizontal structure for artists organising exchange, discussion, workshops and a database. Activities are directed to the visual arts sector, often in relation to other sectors like film, philosophy, sociology etc. (A selection). Contact: Claudia Fontes

(17) A decision by the Ministry is awaited in May, 2001.


Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, NL

'The institute intends cooperate in this professional field with universities and other educational institutions at home and abroad in order to shift boundaries, develop new disciplines and create spaces for this experiment.' (1)

The Sandberg Instituut evolved out of the Gerrit Rietfeld Academie in 1990 and is still in the phase of development.

Since 1995, there are the divisions 'autonomous arts, design and free styling', studies take place in a project-oriented way.(2) Period of studies is two years, and practical experience is a prerequisite: 'Enthusiasm, professionalism and social awareness are the elements which the departments have in common.' (3)
(1) from:www.sandberg.nl/territory/spirit2.htm
(2) ibid.
(3) ibid.


Higher Institute for the Visual Arts (HISK), Antwerpen, B

'The praxis of the visual arts is permeated and underpinned by a plethora of theoretical considerations, originating from such divergent fields as the history of ideas, philosophy, cultural studies, the history of art, sociology and positive sciences. … For this very reason, it is of great importance that the Higher Institute bestows ample attention upon cultural, political and social theory. … HISK has an important role in bridging the time-honoured gap or conflict between making and thinking, between practice and theory.' (1)
The HISK is a medium-size postgraduate institute with various workshops and a very extensive list of 'visiting professors'. The period of study is between 2 and 3 years, and is completed with a 'laureateship'. What is remarkable is that the institute targets older students, as opposed to many others which accept increasingly younger students.
(1) from: www.hisk.edu/english/e-mdef.htm


Like in no other city, many postgraduate institutes 'for fine arts' are active in London. They have bonded with different scenes at different times. The Royal College was important for British Pop Art, St. Martin's School of Art for sculpture in the '60s and concept art in the '70s. Goldsmith College is held responsible for the rise of the 'Young British Artists' at the beginning of the '90s.


The Royal College of Art (RCA), London, GB

'The College is a special kind of ideas factory.' (1)
With its approximately 90 students, the School of Fine Art is, along with the Schools of Applied Art, of Architecture and Design, of Communications, of Fashion and Textiles, of Humanities (selection), part of RCA with a total of 800 students. Apart from taking a course in the School for Humanities, which is mandatory for students of all departments, there is little sign for interdisciplinarity between the fields. The division into the traditionally designated departments painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking (without new media) may be one of the reasons why RCA has a more conservative reputation.

Compared to other schools, the acceptancy policy is nationally oriented. For a student from overseas, the tuition fee of £ 12.000 is an impediment, since Europeans 'only' pay £ 4.000. The institute offers no scholarships for foreign students. The working conditions in the painting department are rather constricted: during the first year of study, several students work in 20-square-meter compartments subdivided by wooden walls. In the second year, the student has the right to use one of these himself/herself. Each department is headed by a 'course director' and is accompanied by one 'senior tutor' and about six 'tutors'. In addition, there are about five 'visiting lecturers'. The students are only involved in a minor way in planning the yearly programme. Three times a year, the 'head of course', the 'senior tutor' and two students meet to talk about the organisational structure - the so-called 'course monitoring meeting'.

In quite a clear way, the Royal College, independent since 1967, but with university status, points out its attachment to industry and commerce: 'The objects of the college are to advance learning, knowledge and professional competence particularly in the field of fine arts, in the principles and practice of art and design in their relation to industrial and commercial processes and social developments and other subjects relating thereto through teaching, research and collaboration with industry and commerce.' (2)
In correspondence to this statement, the final exhibitions which take place in the first half of the year are keen on attracting a large audience: 'Attendance levels for the 1999 Show reached record levels with 47000 visitors in just one month. With free admission and over 4000 objects exhibited, most of which are for sale or commission, this year's Show will be no exception.' (3) A similar rhetoric of competition, as is the case with RCA as a whole, accompanies the School of Fine Art: 'The sculpture course is now well-established in its premises in Battersea and is regarded as the best Sculpture studio in any education institution in the country.'(4)

'The nature and status of the Royal College of Art ensures that it is a pluralistic institution where many opinions and skills are represented.' (5) RCA formulates in regard to the teaching methods: 'Students set their own agenda. There is no typical product or house style: diversity is at the heart of the course.' (6) A student describes the situation: 'There is, at any rate, an aversion to text, trash and concepts... There's a curriculum, meaning that lectures must be attended and a dissertation must be written by a certain date. Apart from that, it is up to the students what they do, how many tutorials they 'take' and how often they're in the studio, but ... attendance and absentee is monitored, not rigorously though, and commented on.' (7)
(1) Annual Review and Prospectus 2000:01, p.2
(2) Charter of Incorporation of the Royal College of Art, 28 July 1967/ inner sleeve of the Annual Review and Prospectus 2000:01.
(3) from the web site www.rca.ac.uk
(4) Annual Review and Prospectus 2000:01, S.48. In the field of Fine Art as well, the connection to industry and commerce is formulated: 'A Saatchi Award of £ 10,000 was granted to RCA painting this year, the only such award to be given specially to a Painting course' ibid. p. 13
(5) Annual Review and Prospectus 2000:01, p.44
(6) Annual Review and Prospectus 2000:01, p.44
(7) from a conversation with Sophie von Hellermann, currently a student at RCA, May, 2000.


Goldsmiths College, London, GB

'Goldsmiths plays a specialist role within the University, concentrating on the study of creative, cultural and social subjects, and leads the development of several degrees offered world-wide.' (1)
Goldsmiths College is linked to the University of London and offers degree courses as well as postgraduate courses in curating, design, drama, gender studies, group psychology, history, social policy and politics, and statistics.

The 'Master of Fine Arts' is a special course of study offered by Goldsmith's Visual which is used by 50 students along with Cultural Studies, Curating and Design. One can choose between a two-year 'part-time' study or a one-year 'full-time' study. In the second case, students have their own studio in the college. The ratio between British students, European students, and students from overseas lies by 50%:40%:10%. The USA, Japan and Hong Kong count as preferred overseas countries, but it is exactly the students of these countries that can afford the tuition fee of £ 9.225 (£ 2.750 for EU and home). Students from the EU are supported in their application for a scholarship from the 'Professional and Vocational Award' of the 'Arts and Humanities Board'.

There are no departments in Fine Arts. 15 'students' are assigned to one 'tutor'. These groups meet once a week. They are offered well-equipped facilities.

Goldsmith describes its teaching method as follows: 'There are also tutorials in your studio from artists and critics, selected in accordance with your needs…You write a report on each tutorial; these build throughout the programme to form a 'diary' of your own artistic development, and are expected to form a comprehensive record of the development of long-term concern in your studio practice.' (2) 'One of the central aims of the programme is the development of the student group as an instrument of criticism and practical self-help. Studio seminar groups meet weekly, when members present their work as a focus for discussion; each member presents their work once in each term.' (3) One student describes this as follows: 'The school is known for theory accompanying the subjects. Personally, I would say that half of the study time is dedicated to theory. At Goldsmith College there is the so-called Critical Studies department. Head of this department is Suhail Malik. There's a lecture once a week. 'Cultural Industry' or 'The end of art criticism' are the topics. (… ) At the end of each semester, each student must submit an essay (6000 words) on a freely chosen subject. Prior to this, critical, contemporary questions related to this essay are examined in tutorials. The student must always submit a written report on the practice-oriented tutorials with artists, gallery-owners or critics, which is supposed to reflect the discussion.' (4)

In his contribution to the 'Sensation' catalogue, Richard Stone gives considerable attention to the influence of Goldsmith College on the success of Britpop. The restructuring measures in the 1980s are highlighted as the precondition of that success. This established Goldsmith's reputation as a so-called 'efficient' postgraduate institute within the debates on art academies: 'Freeze' has been praised for its professionalism, Thatcherite enterprise and slick marketing; it has been seen as the result of a programmatic pushiness on the part of some of the Goldsmith staff; as something entirely unexpected of British art schools; ... (5)

(1)Goldsmith College University of London Postgraduate Prospectus Entry 2001; p.18
(2)Goldsmith College University of London Postgraduate Prospectus Entry 2001; p. 133
(3)Goldsmith College University of London Postgraduate Prospectus Entry 2001; p. 133
(4) Interview with Johannes Maier, current Goldsmith student, May, 2000. In the following: 'I recall a statement made by the Head of Department Gerard Hemsworth prior to being accepted at the school. He more or less said... 'We work professionally, here. The semester is strenuous and after a year of full-time programmes, many students are mentally exhausted. But the result is that after this year, the student will understand how to deal with his art professionally....' This is not to be understood as a word-for-word quote, but I gathered from his words that Goldsmith wants to have a clear conscience when releasing its students to the reality of the art market.'
(5) Richard Stone: 'From Freeze to House: 1988-1994' in: "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection", Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1997, p.17. In the following: 'Under Jon Thompson's stimulating principalship, Safran's fastidious European outlook, Wentworth's inspirational mixture of the quixotic and the mundane and Craig-Martin's influential practical impact and knack of unearthing true potential, the students had access to a terrific range of options.' ibid. p.19


The Whitney Museum of Americam Art Independent Study Program (ISP), New York, USA

'The Whitney Museum of Art Independent Study Program now is in its thirtieth year, is a unique educational program for practising artists and graduate students in the fields if art history, criticism, and curatorial studies. The program encourages critical study and theoretical inquiry into the practices, institutions, and discourses that contribute the field of culture. It provides a setting within which students engage in ongoing discussions and debates about the historical , social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production.' (1)

In 1968, after a one year pilot phase, the Independent Study Program was instituted as part of the Whitney Museum Education department. Next to the 'Studio Program' directed by Ron Clark, there was the 'Art History' field and a curatorial program called 'Museum Studies'. From the very start, 'participants' of the last-mentioned field organised several exhibitions a year. With the move of its spaces downtown, the ISP spatially distanced itself from the 'Whitney Education Department' and also spoke in a reserved tone of a distance to the program. At this time, the director Ron Clark developed the program to the form known today. In 1987, Hal Foster took over responsibility for the 'Curatorial and Critical Studies Program', and two years later, Mary Kelly for the 'Studio Program'. In 1991, the 'Curatorial and Critical Studies Program' was carried on by Benjamin Buchloh.

30 'participants' a year take part in the relatively short course of studies between September and May. 20 in the 'Studio Program', 6 in 'Critical Studies' and 4 in the 'Curatorial Program'. The ISP possesses no facilities to speak of: the spaces in the 'Studio Program' are very small, and there is little technical equipment. Twice a week, all participants meet for three hours in a so-called 'reading and lecture seminar'. Renée Green was a participant herself in 1989-90 and later a 'fulltime faculty' and 'guest faculty member'. She describes the discussion situation arising between the 'participants' and the 'faculty members' from the various fields as follows: 'In this atmosphere it is possible to question the categories and to experience the diverse approaches, which can call into question previous assumptions of authority about one's so called domain.'

The foundation of the ISP in 1968 took place at a fortunate moment in time. Since then, the relationship between the ISP and the Whitney Museum has increasingly worsened: 'At this moment it is uncertain where in Program will be housed after this month. The relationship between the Museum and the Program continues to be one of negotiation….The Program functions as a point of intellectual excitement and of art market potential, as demonstrated recently by the sell out of the critical studies presentations at the Whitney Museum and by the mob scene frenzy of the open studios, which appear more professional, by art market standards, each year. ' (3) Green describes the Studio Program as being in an ambivalent state, between 'oasis' and 'weathered bastion': 'A place to think critically while living amidst-in the case of the time referred to-the fallout of Thatcherism and Reaganism. It's important, as Giroux reminds us, to keep the political in perspective with the theoretical and lived experiences.' (4)
(1) from: www.whitney.org/education/subnav.htm
(2) from: 'Some conditions for Independent Study: The Whitney Program as a Thought Oasis or Weathered Bastion' Renée Green, 2000
(3) ibid.
(4) ibid.


Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Kitakyushu, J

'CCA Kitakyushu wishes to be forum for communication, where artists and curator/ critics can discuss around the table to explore the new modes of creativity and to prove more deeply the issues of contemporary art as theses related to their individual concerns as artists/curators, together with the specialists from the other fields.' (1)
The CCA is a relatively young postgraduate institute. It was founded in 1997 - in a new building but with an old format. The 30 students (artists and curators) are offered a one-year research program. The studios are approximately 30 square metres, there are 8 video-editing stations for VHS and DV-cam, as well as computer workstations. 'Open studios' take place in March.

Apart from 'independent creative work' - the work in the studios - there are two categories of 'group work': a mandatory 3- to 4-week seminar taking place twice a year. In addition, there are so-called 'seminars of analysis' in which the entire group discusses their works using slides.

'In an age where humanities, social sciences and the hard sciences are expanding the boundaries of their disciplines, contemporary art maintains close links to all these fields, reflecting the diversity of society through free expression unfettered by existing values or paradigms.' ....'It purposes to establish in Kitakyushu a world centre for contemporary arts that will generate new ideas and perspectives, and will network closely with artists, the curators/ critics and many other institutions.' (2)

An international committee of artists, art critics and curators accompanies the participants. In 1999/2000, members were, among others, Daniel Buren, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Saskia Bos and Klaus Biesenbach. Not only Biesenbach (artistic director at PS1/ NY) and Bos (director of De Appel/ Amsterdam) are signs for an orientation toward Western postgraduate institutes. The institute is funded by the city and connected to a project gallery and a book production.
(1) from: Application Form
(2) from: www.CCA-KITAKYUSHU.ORG/-about.htm