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Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg
Hamburg, Germany


University description (as per official university website)

The Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK) is an institution of higher artistic and scientific education. With its wide range of subjects, the HFBK offers the opportunity to study for interdisciplinary artistic and scientific qualifications. Students work in studios and are extensively supported by art and science tutors in seminars and in individual and group tutorials. The aim of studies is to enable students to pose new issues in all artistic disciplines and to achieve innovative solutions. A central role is given to engagement with topics chosen by students themselves and project-related and experimental working methods.

The HFBK’s consecutive Bachelor and Master study programmes connect all subjects, from Sculpture, Stage Design, Design, Film and Digital Cinema, Graphic Art/Typography/Photography, Painting/Drawing, Theory and History to Time-based Media. This course of study expects students to follow their own individual interests, while at the same time opening wider horizons for artistic engagement and solutions by means of the interdisciplinary study structure. As would be expected given this emphasis on free artistic enquiry, studies do not follow a rigid curriculum. There is no rigid sequence of content, with each stage dependent on the stage before. The scientific courses on offer allow for studies in art and cultural theory, aesthetic, art-historical and media-specific studies, which contribute to artistic production in different ways, or may lead to a scientific qualification. Not least, this enables students to think their planned development through in a precise way, to deepen its theoretical aspects, to demonstrate it analytically and to present it convincingly. Through this, a »Dr. phil. in art« doctorate can be achieved. In the numerous artistic workshops, supplementary knowledge concerning the materials and applications of any given work area will be transmitted, and the necessary manual and technical skills learned.

As an active part of cultural life, the HFBK exerts an influence on current artistic developments through a variety of collaborations, initiates debates and triggers discussions and developments. In this context, international collaborations are especially emphasised by the HFBK. Offers of lectureships to international artists and exchange and co-operation by teachers and students testify to diverse partnerships with overseas universities.

Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg
In 1767 the Hamburgische Gesellschaft zur Beförderung der Künste und nützlichen Gewerbe (Hamburg Society for the Advancement of the Arts and Useful Trades, known as the Patriotische Gesellschaft von 1765) founded the first vocational school in Germany, which also included a drawing school for prospective craftsmen. Two independent institutions gradually developed from this establishment: an art school and a building school.

1865 The state of Hamburg took over the administration of the vocational school, formerly financed by the city’s guilds. It significance grew perceptibly, with successes at German and overseas exhibitions.

In 1893 there were 24 subject classes in the state vocational school.

In 1896 the school evolved into the Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule (state vocational art school).

1913 The school moved into its own building, designed by Fritz Schumacher, which also provided a number of many workshops. The First World War made an abrupt break in the development of the school.

During the Second World War, the National Socialist leadership brought the now distinguished school to a complete standstill. Its director Max Sauerlandt (also director of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe) was dismissed from office in 1933. The state art school became the Hansische Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Hanseatic College of Fine Arts), which however lacked university status. The bombing raid in 1943 damaged the building significantly. The school was however opened in the same year, now once more called the Landeskunstschule (state art school), with a new council.

In 1955 it became the Hochschule für bildende Künste, which gained art and scientific college status in 1970.

By 2006 the HFBK had brought all visual culture disciplines together under its roof: art, art pedagogy, architecture, visual communication (graphic art/typography, film, photography and experimental media) and design. Once the HafenCity Universität (HCU) was established the architecture department was transferred out of the art university.

In 2008, the Bachelor/Master system will be introduced at the HFBK. From autumn 2008 an interdisciplinary »Fine Arts« study programme will be offered, which encompasses all subjects taught at the HFBK.

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