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Avans University of Applied Sciences (AKV|St.Joost School of Fine Art & Design is a part of )

AKV|St.Joost School of Fine Art & Design

Netherlands Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

AKV|St.Joost offers the education for anyone looking for a unique position within or outside the framework of the art and design domain.

The tension between indescribable or unpredictable creation and critical consideration forms the starting point. A rich tradition of making autonomous is connected to the professional field, society and the world of today.
We train independent, critically minded artists, image-makers, designers and visual storytellers with knowledge of working in an interdisciplinary context and the ability to position themselves sustainably in a rapidly changing society and professional practice.

We thereby fulfil a social task and meet the need of the professional field to train professionals who can contribute to the innovation of the profession and society with their knowledge, attitude and skills.

International Role

The Netherlands is renowned for its higher education system and has some of the highest-ranking schools in Europe and the world. The official use of English language and the multicultural nature of Dutch society also make Dutch education one of the most accessible.

Dutch pedagogical philosophy is non-hierarchical and student oriented. The focus is on autonomous thinking and collaboration, which empowers students and creates the space for radically new ideas. As with Dutch culture as a whole, open-mindedness and plurality are the keystones of the educational experience. Students are stimulated to be critical of the views of their peers and even their tutors, but also respectful of others’ positions.
(source: factsheet published by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education Nuffic provides a comprehensive explanation of the higher education system in the Netherlands).

Through Avans International Office network, its Erasmus+ programme and association with ELIA (https://www.elia-artschools.org),  AKV|St.Joost has a deliberately rather compact but strategically spread network of international partnerships with institutions in Europa and out of.

AKV|St.Joost aims to achieve international standards of excellence in the master education of artists and designers and related practitioners. Our Master Institute of Visual Cultures aims to achieve these through the quality of its teaching, research and practice and through its relationship with the institutions, industries and technologies associated with the disciplines of art and design.

Currently in 2019-2020, around 60 foreign students from all over the world are enrolled on our bachelor exchange programmes and our master programmes comprised of 15% European, and 40% other international students. The lasting growth in foreign student numbers is an immediate effect of the education strategy containing continuous curriculum innovation and profiling.

Due to concerted efforts aligned to AKV|St. Joost’s internationalization agenda, it is our ambition to increase the foreign student body to 300 students in the period 2020-2025. The estimated prognosis for this expansion takes place within the bachelor exchange programmes, the Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design programme and a new 4-year BA international classroom (in development and starting in 2021-2022).

Avans University grants AKV|St. Joost School of Fine Art & Design funding towards its internationalization strategy and curriculum innovation.

National Role

AKV|St. Joost’s bachelor and master programmes are regionally truly deep-rooted. It is our ambition to contribute to the world we live in, we are working collaboratively and creatively with the cultural and creative sector, NGO’s, business and government at national and regional level (30-50 companies and knowledge institutes on an annual base).

We are a locally grounded but internationally oriented community of learning and research. The expanded pedagogical scope of our bachelor and master programmes has created unique opportunities for interdisciplinarity and co-research open to the stakeholders from our home cities and our University.

A number of BA and MA lecturers conduct targeted research into new trends and research questions within the research group Autonomous Making, Human Centered Creation and Biobased Art and Design, part of the Center of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology at Avans University of Applied Sciences (Caradt), thereby giving a boost to the research domains and enhancing the knowledge on researchmethods within art and design practices.
Some examples:
– In collaboration with the Urban Development department of the municipality of Breda, a spatial problem is tackled annually by third-year Graphic|Spatial Design students.
– Theory lecturer conducts research within the Human Focused Creation research group on the relationship between immersion, interaction and the critical potential of the viewer / user , with a view to the  implementation of the results of his research for educational purposes . The lessons will be implemented in 2020-2021.
– Lecturer Illustration|Animation explores within the research group of Human Focused Creation how students act in their design process when based on situated actions and how we can facilitate these situated actions in education ('situated learning').
– Lecturer exchange programme Research in Immersive Storytelling is involved in the Bio-Based Art & Design research group. Within this research group we investigate the influence of the lab on the projects that are developed within it.

The educational facilities include a workspace for each student, a tech laboratory, a library, a well provisioned technical equipment loan facility, and the Social Spaces. Students learn with emerging technologies and in our workshops and technical facilities across wood, ceramics and metal, print and 3D visualisation, VR/AR, non-linear immersive and iterative storytelling, spatial design, interactive media, film & photography, the students are supported by a team of experienced staff on hand and the Master Institute of Visual Cultures has a unique position in its provision of individual studio spaces for master students that are accessible 24-hours, seven days per week.

Main Focus

Creativity and personal development are central to the education at AKV|St.Joost. Our students have the talent to dream the reality in a different way and to express it in a creative way.

AKV|St.Joost offers room for diversity between students in interests, cultural background and learning styles. We ask students to be open-minded, to take responsibility for their own study process and to take a critical look at the world from their own fascinations.

In addition, we find it important that student’s work on current issues from professional practice and collaborate with external parties both within and outside the arts and culture sector.



Faculties and Departments

The School of Fine Art and Design AKV|St.Joost is part of Avans University of Applied Sciences. Avans University was founded on 1 January 2004 following a merger of Hogeschool Brabant and Hogeschool ‘s-Hertogenbosch. At Avans University, around 29,500 students study 48 different courses. 2,800 employees work at 21 schools, 6 centres of expertise, 5 support services units and 1 centre for learning and innovation.

Avans University is located in four cities: Tilburg, Breda, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Roosendaal. Those towns are situated in the south of the Netherlands, approximately 35 minutes away from each other. There are altogether 13 Avans campuses.

The School of Fine Art and Design AKV|St.Joost has more than 200 years of experience in art education and offers undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) courses in fine art and design.
There are approximately 1100 students enrolled in our full-time bachelor in Breda and ‘s-Hertogenbosch campuses and master courses at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Both campuses have large open studios, workspaces, and numerous facilities for technical support, two libraries and media centres with a focus on contemporary art and design.

Bachelor Level Programs

AKV|St. Joost School of Fine Art & Design offers 4 undergraduate four-year programs (240ec):

– Fine Arts : Art & Research
– Illustration|Animation : Illustrated & Animated Storytelling​
– Photography|Film: Photography, Film & the Digital
– Graphic|Spatial Design: New Design & Attitudes

The St. Joost School of Fine Art & Design awards two Bachelor degrees:

(1) Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art
(2) Bachelor of Arts in Design

The four study programs each have their own research domain that guides the content of the curriculum:

Research field “Art & Research”: based on a search for making art from a personal involvement perspective in the world that surrounds the individual.

Research field “Illustrated & Animated Storytelling”:  centred on visual narratology, the image counts as primacy and forms a whole of narrative and visual elements.

Research field "Photography, Film & The Digital":  the camera as manipulative technology, experiment with socially involved stories.

Research field "New Design & Attitudes": centred on the connection between people and their environment, design for and from a context.

Master Level Programs

AKV|St. Joost School of Fine Art & Design is the only academy that offers structurally funded Master studies at Avans University of Applied Science: Master Institute of Visual Cultures.

The Master Institute of Visual Cultures awards two Master degrees:

(1) Master of Arts in Animation (60ec)
(2) Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design (120ec)

The Master of Arts in Animation is a one-year full time professional MA programme, whereas the Master of Arts in Fine Art & Design is a two-year full-time research MA programme.

Within the Master of Arts in Animation there is one pathway: a Professional Master of Animation.

Within the Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design there are three pathways:

Situated Design;

Visual Arts and Post Contemporary Practice;

Ecology Futures.

The pathways are centred on the three key research topics of the Avans Centre of Applied Research in Art, Design & Technology (https://caradt.com)

Research Activity and Main Areas

They are the three main research areas within the Avans Centre of Applied Research in Art, Design & Technology (https://caradt.com)

 (1) Autonomy in Art, Design and Technology; professor Sebastian Olma
 (2) Human Centered Creation; professor Michel van Dartel
 (3) Bio-based Art & Design; professor Elvin Karana

Caradt is the Avans Centre of Applied Research in Art, Design & Technology (https://caradt.com) that is supporting research across AKV|St.Joost  BA and MA programmes.

Doctorate Level Programs

None, but we have the ambition to start a professional doctorate program in the coming years.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

AKV|St.Joost School of Fine Art and Design offers each academic year, as a part of undergraduate studies several English taught one-term courses (20 weeks – 30 EC) for own students and exchange students from other institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

In 2020-2021 the following 4 exchange programs are offered;

Program 1:  Arts & Humanity 
–  a debate on the nature, dynamics and value of our network society

Program 2:  Arts & Interaction
– about engagement to improve the world, views and opinions on social issues

Program 3:  Speculating the Future
–  art & design-led thinking about the future of humans and non-humans

Program 4:  Research in Immersive Storytelling (in collaboration with Academy of Communication and User Experience of Avans University)
– the immersive media landscape and new types of narrative practices

This exchange programs (called “minors”) are intended for undergraduate students in Fine Art, Graphic Design, Spatial Design, Photography, Film, Illustration, Animation, Journalism, Media studies, Cultural Sciences, Political Studies or any other relevant study subject areas from institutions abroad or in the Netherlands.
Each exchange program operates from its own studio setting: the students all have different study backgrounds, so within each studio, students are part of multi- disciplinary teams, working both:  in groups and individually.
Exchange students benefit from all facilities available, including the technical facilities and services.

Our exchange programmes are focused on current social themes, and involve multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, projects with external parties, networking, artistic and theoretical research, and media- techniques- and materials workshops:
social themes
The students have to decide on their position and how they will render this as a piece of visual work. During the process, they also explore their own artistic and professional identity. This involves research within the theme of each program, production of pieces of work and exhibition of these among external parties.
interdisciplinary collaboration
The students collaborate intensively with other disciplines and learn how to work in teams. They discover which roles suit each of them best and how interdisciplinary collaboration can benefit their future profession.
The students collaborate with third parties, including companies, organisations or government institutions. The questions from these partners tie in with the theme of the program and offer a lot of scope for independent interpretation. Alongside learning how to analyse the question and connect this to your own interests and requirements, students learn how to give a professional pitch and final presentation or exhibition.
Each exchange program involves an extensive theoretical course that ties in with the theme. Students learn how great thinkers and makers engaged with this theme in the past and about current discourse. They identify own viewpoint and express this in their work.
The students train research skills, including how to formulate questions, conduct experiments, look for sources, study texts and draw conclusions. They conduct research into own theme, visual concept and positioning and present research results in a research report.
Through workshops students get lots of opportunities to gain experience working with certain media, techniques and materials. These workshops differ in each program and tie in with the projects.


Application Deadlines

Incoming students:

Nomination deadline: May 1
Application deadline: May 15
Application deadline Dutch Students: July 1

Outgoing students:

Nomination deadline:  April 15
Application deadline: March 1
Erasmus Grant deadline: June 30


Teaching Languages


Semester Dates

Exchange is possible for one semester, at this moment in the winter term only, and starts in the last week of August and ends in January.

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

On average, students spend between €800 and €1,100 a month this includes housing and insurance costs.

An average room costs somewhere between €300 and €600 a month, depend on what is included in the rent.


Bachelor: 975
Master: 95
Doctorate: None

Exchange Students

Incoming: 10
Outgoing: 30
Others: 20

Teaching Staff

Professors: 6
Lectures: 102
Other permanent teachers: 16
Part-time Teachers: 340

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