May 10, 2017

School Watch features Syllabus: English alternative postgraduate program and interview with Jörg Heiser about the Institute for Art in Context at Berlin University of the Arts

Art & Education

(1) New Contemporaries retreat, Bluecoat. Led by Stuart Bertolloti-Bailey at the Serving Library, 2016. Courtesy of Mira Calix. (2) Syllabus II workshop with Katrina Palmer (center), S1 Artspace, 2016. Courtesy of S1 Artspace. (3) Fluid Medium, performance and life drawing class by Syllabus I participant Susie Green, 2015. Courtesy of Chelsea Pettitt. (4) Institute for Art in Context students and professors. © Photo: An Chi Cheng. (5) Institute for Art in Context students, BodyLandscapingTime at neue Gesellschaft for bildende Kunst (nGbK). © Photo: Miguel Azuaga.

The Syllabus: A Peer-Led, Non-Prescriptive Postgraduate Alternative
By Chris Sharratt
While artists are more connected than ever thanks to the ubiquity of social media, it’s still real-world, in-person social interaction that allows for the depth and breadth of discussion many artists crave, and the supportive yet challenging environment of art school remains difficult to replicate on the internet. Developing one’s art practice in a community that encourages by way of critique is, of course, why many artists embark on a master’s degree—an opportunity to reappraise their work through the constructive criticism of lecturers and fellow students. Crucially, though, the Syllabus is peer led. There are no “students” or “lecturers” as such, because Syllabus isn’t “art education” in any traditional sense. [read more]

Critical Conditioning: The Institute for Art in Context at Berlin University of the Arts
By Karen Archey
Karen Archey: Given that students are meant to have a year of professional experience, do you consider Art in Context to professionalize artists? How does the program compare to a more traditional MFA?

Jörg Heiser: I hesitate to use "professionalization," as it comes with a lot of neoliberal baggage, turning the idiosyncratic or experimental aspect of artistic practice into something that needs to be controlled and managed, which is clearly not what we want to effect. That said, we do want to enable students to engage on an even level with professionals in other fields, whether with art historians or sociologists or medical scientists. We also want to enable them to support themselves as transdisciplinary artists. [read more]

School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.

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