Research Overview » Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Two universities as well as two art faculties organize art-oriented post-graduate programmes in the Czech Republic: the Academy of Fine Art in Prague (AVU), The Academy of Art, Architecture, and Design in Prague (VSUP), the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Brno University of Technology (FaVU VUT), and the Faculty of Fine Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem (FUD UJEP).

Each of the aforementioned educational institutions have a particular focus in their respective programmes. While the Academy of Fine Art focuses on fine art disciplines, VSUP stresses design, architecture, and art theory. FUD UJEP provides a strongly interdisciplinary PhD programme oriented to a complex scale of specialization in the field of visual communication. FaVU VUT is specific for its relationship with the scientific faculties of the Brno University of Technology, which has helped to determine the disciplinary structure of the PhD programme that, in contrast to other approaches, focuses on the use of state-of-the-art technologies with art.
The post-graduate programme at FaVU is relatively recent, dating back to 2006. The present form of the programme has been accredited since 2010 both in Czech and in English under the “Fine Art” study programme  with the fields of study “Art in Public Space” and “Art Management.” The programme can be studied in the full-time and combined form (the regular programme is studied for three years, the combined programme for five years). The programme is supervised by FaVU academic staff and the Art Board, which consists both of FaVU-based academic staff and external professionals. Teachers are recruited both from internal and external artists, theoreticians, and academic staff from other Brno University of Technology faculties. The instructor – student ratio is usually one to one or two students per instructor.

The first students of the post-graduate programme began their studies in 2006; the first degrees were awarded in 2009. At present, FaVU has had 35 postgraduate students in total, 11 have successfully finished their studies, and twenty students are currently enrolled in the programme.

The post-graduate programme at FaVU strives to connect artistic practice and its theoretical reflection while bearing in mind the specifics of fine art; the programme emphasizes the importance of students being active both in the practical and theoretical spheres of the art world. If there are ‘typical’ graduates of the programme, they are creative and knowledgeable theoreticians and artists who have the capacity to independently make art in the broadest scale of disciplines and develop their communicative abilities, examine the language, technologies, and approaches of art and open up new artistic frontiers, but they are also competent professionals who are able to organize and manage institutions within the context of the contemporary art world.

Since the post-graduate programme at FaVU has been in operation for a relatively short time, a number of obstacles still have to be overcome. The character of the programme is to a great extent determined by the specifics of post-graduate studies at art schools in general. Although all FaVU PhD students are obliged to present a theoretical dissertation at the end of their studies, the present focus is to find an optimal ratio between the theoretical dissertation and the art project. The system FaVU has been using is hybrid: on the one hand, post-graduate students can be recruited both from art history or other disciplines, which are clearly mostly theoretical, but on the other hand the programme is comprised of practicing artists emphasizing the artwork itself or combining a theoretical dissertation with their art project.

Since 2009, FaVU has awarded PhDs both to theoreticians and historians of art and to practicing artists or artists – teachers, curators, or cultural institution managers. Dissertation topics have included marketing strategies of cultural institutions, painting in architecture, artists’ books, post-conceptual approaches in contemporary Czech painting, and making an encyclopedia of Czech anonymous art, as well as various other topics.