Hogeschool Rotterdam Willem de Kooning Academie

Programme Description

Programme Description

Below is a brief overview of modules being taught. Please note that the curriculum may change in response to current issues and practices within the field of art education. Rather than being fixed or canonical, our modules are tailored to meet the challenging demands of a constantly changing cultural and educational environment.


Practice and Research Seminar (Trimester 1 – 2 – 3)

The Practice and Research Seminar is a central module that runs through the first year of the programme and
concerns developing critical reading, writing and research skills as well as a developing a growing body of research and pedagogical/artistic experimentation. Various individual and collective exercises are designed to set up a dialogue between the participants in the course, thus creating a common ground to translate ideas and knowledge between agents working in a widely dispersed professional field.

By reading core theoretical texts on art, design and education/pedagogy, students establish a common vocabulary and set of references. They learn to survey a body of literature, filter what is relevant to their research and formulate comparative analyses. The seminar introduces them to different research methodologies in art and design education, as well as more experimental forms of participatory practices. The seminar is a means of composing an individual research path, starting from the student’s current educational/artistic practice and interests. The aim is to complete a preparatory research in the first year, which results in a clear perspective on the students’ position and prepares them to write a proposal for their Graduation Project.

Thematic Seminars

Over the course of two years, the programme offers four thematic seminars exploring and discussing themes and topicalities relevant to the field of art and design education. The seminars adhere to the philosophy of the master, which aims at dealing with the complete ecology of art and design education: in and outside of schools, hovering between different artistic disciplines, pedagogical models and contexts. The thematic seminars offer a framework for reflection, discussion, joint research and production, involving different learning methodologies such as reading sessions, instructional workshops, presentations, discussions and lectures.

Contemporary Issues in Art and Design Education

The seminar Contemporary Issues in Art and Design Education
(Trimester 1) deals with topical discussions in the field of art education, particularly concerning the reciprocal influence of contemporary developments in art/design and education. Discussions about art education are constantly in flux and are very much related to developments in other sectors—artistic as well as societal. This seminar taps into the recent debates by exploring a central contemporary thematic, allowing students to explore it from their own angle and professional background. It conceives of the seminar as a collective research project and aims towards the production of a ‘collective publication’ that is the repository of a shared research.

Critical/Committed Pedagogies

The seminar Critical/Committed Pedagogies
(Trimester 2) focuses on analysing the social, cultural, pedagogical and institutional contexts that are inherent to education, and on developing the ability to ‘act’ within this field at large from a personal perspective. Although coined as ‘Critical Pedagogy’, this seminar does not focus on the theory and practice of critical pedagogy as such, but rather on its general underlying ‘philosophy’ of analysing educational models and theories and encouraging students to develop individual ideas and working methods within the field. Students investigate different pedagogical theories and insights adjacent to their specific practical field. The key issue is that students position themselves, politically well aware of the multiple situations in which they operate.

Digital Cultures and Transdisciplinary Practices

This seminar
(Trimester 3) offers both a broad overview and an in-depth survey of the impact of digital media and transdisciplinary practices on culture and education. The main goal of the course is to develop a critical perspective on the role and position of arts and education in the ever-changing context of emerging and existing technologies and concepts. Through a series of guest lectures, digital media and the relation between art, science and technology are viewed against a backdrop of (media)historical, ecological and social developments. In order to gain both a critical and pragmatic perspective, students map their own educational context and learn how to implement digital and conceptual innovations in educational environments.


Graduate Research and Project Seminar

The main goal of the Graduation Research and Project Seminar in
Trimester 4 is to finish an elaborate Graduation Project Proposal, which functions as a point of reference for the students as well as their tutors. Research is considered as a critical tool, which gives room for experimentation, analysis and articulation. Since research methodologies in art and design education and other adjacent, more experimental practices vary, an in-depth discussion about the relation between art/design, education and research is advocated. The How, What and Why-question of doing research is taken into practice by offering the students specialist practical workshops alongside their research trajectory.

Makings Things Public

What is ‘the public’ or ‘publicness’ and how is it approached by artists, museums and art educators? The notion of publicness has changed over time, as has contemporary artistic/design practice’s response to it. The museum or gallery setting no longer dictates how publics are conceived, nor how artists/designers should engage with them. Within and outside of arts institutions, new experimental strategies are being explored, and the notion of participation seems to play a more central role than ever before. But how do we deconstruct the notion of participation and what are the consequences of ‘making things public’? This seminar (Trimester 4) discusses art/museum education as a critical practice. How do various educators conceive of their publics? Using the student’s education projects as a departure point, this seminar aims to help students conceptualise different approaches for different publics and to develop and test strategies for their projects.

Graduation Project

The last two trimesters of the course are set aside for the student’s Graduation Project.
By means of a relevant research thematic, literature research, practice-based research and experimentation the student will develop a Graduation Project. The outcome of the graduation process thus entails a research, a theoretical and conceptual framework in relation to an ‘education project’, which entails the practical implementation of those ideas executed in a professional context. The course also allows for experimental practices crossing boundaries between pedagogy, participatory practices and artistic/design research.