Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek
5th May 2020
The Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek is an institution of higher education which is, in many respects, quite unique within and outside the borders of the Republic of Croatia since it offers study programmes and grants degrees in art, social sciences, humanities and interdisciplinary fields of science and art, making it an institution of broad views that is open to different types of students where they can acquire artistic and scientific competence in order to be able to live and work in contemporary society.
The Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek is a stimulating, provocative and creative place of study for all future students who wish to acquire knowledge in the fields of music, theatre, applied and visual arts as well as media culture and cultural management. It was founded in 2018 by merging the Academy of Arts in Osijek and the Department of Cultural Studies of the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek and it is a legal successor to them both. The Academy runs university undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate artistic and scientific studies and it equally develops top artistic creation and scientific-research work.
The Academy is located in several buildings within the University Campus in Osijek and in the building of the Rector’s Office in baroque Tvrđa.
The former Academy of Arts, which was the institutional and personnel basis of the present-day Academy of Arts and Culture, was founded as the first artistic-teaching organisational unit of the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek. It was founded by the decision of the Senate on the 14th of April 2004 and on the 18th of October 2004 the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia issued a licence for performing higher education activity. On the 13th of January 2005, the Academy of Arts was included in the court register of institutions of the Commercial Court in Osijek. The organisation of the Academy of Arts in Osijek enabled the development of the education in the fields of fine arts, theatre and music.
The guiding idea of such an interdisciplinary organisation of the Academy continued the tradition of the study of Music Culture which had been, for twenty years, a study programme of the Chair of Music Culture at the Faculty of Pedagogy, i.e. later on the Faculty of Philosophy, with occasional study of piano, violin and singing at the Music Academy in Zagreb, which took place at the Faculty of Pedagogy at first and then at the Faculty of Philosophy. In addition to the mentioned studies in Osijek, the study of Fine Arts was launched in 2004 which enabled the development of different artistic disciplines at the Academy.
At first, the Academy of Arts did not have its own premises so that the teaching process in the academic year of 2004/2005 took place on several locations in Osijek. Having in mind the specific nature of art study, the Senate reached the decision to grant the Academy of Arts its premises within the University Campus so that the students of artistic/scientific studies could have the same quality of education as the other scientific-teaching units of the University. In October 2005, the Academy of Arts occupied two buildings on the premises of military barracks “Drava” which was a part of the University Campus.
The foundation of the Academy of Arts in Osijek was very important for eastern Croatia, Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek due to the rich cultural and artistic heritage of our region and city. By means of various artistic content, the Academy realised the study programmes which was the basis for the integration of the characteristics of the local area with the global development in the arts and artistic-teaching practice.
The Department of Cultural Studies is the other unit that helped create the present-day Academy of Arts and Culture. The Department was founded in 2010 as the seventeenth scientific-teaching unit and the fifth university department of the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek. As the youngest department of the University, it was unique due to its interdisciplinary model of cultural studies – the first university interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate studies at the University in Osijek with three programmes: Cultural Management, Media Culture and Library Studies.
Besides the interdisciplinary approach, such a model of study was trying to promote the acquisition of theoretical knowledge in different analytical discourses (the media theory, the theory of information science, the theory of nation, the theory of education, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, deconstruction, new historicism, gender studies, ecology, postcolonial studies, subcultural theories, etc.) which were intertwined with the everyday practice. By initiating the interdisciplinary scientific-research projects (national and international) within the University of Osijek, the former Department of Cultural Studies set the course to becoming the central place for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. The teaching process was carried out in cooperation with different cultural institutions and experts and was leaving the lecture rooms so that students could experience different cultural activities in a direct way and thus acquire special competence and skills required for the active participation in the labour market. In terms of methodology, the teaching process was based on the change of the teaching paradigm, moving from “research after learning” towards “learning by means of research” to make students aware of the importance of social participation in the local surroundings of Osijek as well as in eastern Croatia and the whole country.
The present-day Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek has taken over the best practice of both institutions in order to continue preparing its students for professional and life challenges in a particularly competitive world of art and intellectual goods. Today, the Academy is a higher education institution which organises and carries out university study programmes, scientific and artistic work in several scientific, educational and artistic fields, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate university studies of visual and applied arts, music, theatre, media culture, cultural management and creative therapies. The Academy is the only artistic-teaching and scientific-teaching unit of the University (throughout the Republic of Croatia) which provides top education by integrating artistic content with a strong component of science, social studies and humanities. That could only be achieved by different study programmes which are constantly improved by the latest scientific insights. Our aim is to promote and present cultural, artistic and regional characteristics within the wider European context.
As an important factor in the development of eastern Croatia, with the population of one million or so, the University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer and the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek are extremely important for further development as well as for the artistic and cultural life of that part of Croatia for two very important reasons: most of all, because there is a need for highly educated workers in the fields of culture, media and creative industries, but also because the future of every society and nation is based on the formation of socially responsible, critical and broadly educated young people who will be able to answer any future questions.
Since the beginning, various artistic projects have presented the Academy. Some are national, some international. The projects are as follows:
- Dionysus, the international festival of theatre academies at which the participants exchange theatrical knowledge, skills and experience;
- LUTKOKAZ, the international puppetry revue which presents the latest puppetry trends using presentations, workshops and puppet plays;
- the final exhibition of the undergraduate and graduate students of fine arts which is organised by the Department of Visual and Media Arts;
- the International Student Fine Arts Workshop Jarčevac at which students, led by professors of the Department of Visual and Media Arts, make wood sculptures;
- GLAZ-B-OS, the Christmas festival organised by the Department of Music;
- InterVox, the international festival of vocal music which is organised by the Department of Music and includes several remarkable music events;
- Lav Mirski, the international competition of young singers (as part of the festival of vocal music InterVox);
- OMG (Music Wednesday in the Osijek Museum), a joint project of the Museum of Slavonia and the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek which improves the cultural life of the city and revives the museum premises by organising concerts of classical music;
- the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek takes part in the Festival of Science, The Osijek Summer of Culture and the Osijek Summer of Youth with programmes that involve the students of all the departments of the Academy;
- each October, the professors and students of all the departments of the Academy commemorate the Days of the Academy of Arts and Culture;
- Meetings in Library, an educational-presentational project which presents different activities of the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek by means of listening to music, film projections, discussions, lectures and so on;
- the Pannonian Art Path, a joint project of the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek and the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad which improved the cooperation and networking of institutions of higher education in the fields of art and ecology and which was recognised and financed by the EU (creating land art installation alongside the bicycle route “The Pannonian Route of Peace”;
- the international scientific and artistic symposium on pedagogy in art.