HISK offers a post-graduate course in visual arts and provides young artists from Belgium and the world with a workspace and pedagogical guidance for a duration of two years. The emphasis at the HISK lies on individual practice and close contact with a community of distinguished visiting lecturers – artists, writers, curators and scholars. Based on diversity of artistic practices and positions, the unique HISK concept gives the artists every opportunity for critical research within a broader aesthetic, social and political context.
At the end of the two years, the participating artists receive a certificate as a ‘Laureate of the Higher Institute for Fine Arts'. Since 1997, 270 laureates have graduated from the institute. The majority of them are now pursuing successful professional careers in the international art world.
Type of programme
The HISK is developing its identity in the midst of various fields of tension. On the one hand the government expects that an education within the field of contemporary art is provided, and that the conditions are created in which the candidates can develop as independent artists. On the other hand the HISK offers the same qualities as artist’s residencies: namely time and space, and the opportunity to develop an individual artistic process at one’s own pace and starting from personal motivations. Both approaches engender a tension between the process of learning and the intrinsic dynamic of the artistic practice. This also goes for the synergy between practice and theory.
The two-year work period at the HISK prepares the candidate-laureate for positioning him or herself as an individual artist. During the course one learns to assimilate the diversity of input from visiting lecturers, fellow candidates and the outside world. The candidate-laureate is approached as a young artist who needs to develop a whole range of competences. Self-organisation, resourcefulness, and the ability to articulate and communicate about one’s own work are significant factors. But an artist is also a maker of exhibitions, someone who takes care of the making of books, a builder of websites, an accountant, a producer and, more often than not, his or her own promoter.