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Jan van Eyck Akademie, Centre for Fine Art Design and Theory (Jv E?), Maastricht [http://www.JANVANEYCK.NL]

'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 Jv E?-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 Jv E?-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 Jv E?-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 Jv E?-Akademie 1993-96, Maastrich 1991, taken from: 'Unfortunately last Sunday afternoon somebody left the door open…'. The Annual Report Jv E?-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', Jv E?-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.



On 10 June, in his policy document Meer dan kwaliteit (More than Quality), Secretary of State Halbe Zijlstra published the cabinet’s cultural policy as of 2013. The Secretary proposes a permanent discontinuation of the subsidies to all post-academic institutes after 2016. In the years 2013-2016 he is planning to reduce the amount of stipends and residencies in fine art from 118 to 50. Three institutes may be entitled to these 50 places: the Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), Ateliers (Amsterdam) and Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht). The Jan van Eyck Academie is seeing and seizing the opportunities that the policy statement presents for the years 2013-2016. It is, however, realistic to assume that the current budget will be drastically cut – more radically so than was recommended by the Council for Culture.

The plans of the Secretary and the incorrect media reports that the Jan van Eyck Academie is closing have generated many reactions. We have received many expressions of support by individuals and groups who are backing the academy in its efforts to ensure possibilities for artists, designers and theorists to experiment, develop and create. The academy is setting up a weblog with short statements about the Jan van Eyck. We would like to hear from you how passionate you are about this institute, what it has meant to you, how it has ‘marked’ or enriched you. Please send your statement to Statements can be shortened if necessary. The contributions can be accessed at http//

24 September 2008

22:37 by {confused}: today the situation at JVE has slightly changed, if there are still those three departments fine art, design theory, this institution is more dedicated to theory rather then any studio practice: all the facilities have been given away, and it is not possible to realise any object so to say inside the institute anymore.

08 December 2007

11:16 by : post-literature

11:15 by post-literature?: hi! i'm a romanian visual artist and writer, theorist of psot-literature and of archetypal expressionism and i'm very interested by your art academy

constantin severin

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