Braunschweig University of Art – HBK
Published on February 27, 2014
The Braunschweig University of Art is an internationally orientated art university with the right to grant doctorates and the right of habilitation. With 1200 students in Fine Arts, Design, Aesthetics & Art History, Media Studies as well as the educational courses of study Performing Arts and ART.Education, the Braunschweig University of Art is one of the largest art academies in Europe.
Excellently equipped studios and laboratories provide the ideal working conditions for all intellectual, creative and artistic processes.
Arts and sciences lie at the heart of the profile of the HBK Braunschweig. The HBK is an art academy with university status. It has the right to grant doctorates and post-doctoral degrees (Habilitation). The HBK is characterised both by exchange between the arts and sciences and by the autonomy of the respective study courses. The tradition of the “pure arts” is thus upheld, as well as the “significance” of the arts for knowledge. The HBK seeks an active role in defining art conceptually for the 21st century in aesthetic, technological and societal terms. The freedom of the arts and the sciences represents the highest inalienable good of this academy, indeed of any academy. Taking this “unconditional condition” fully into account, the arts and the sciences are not treated as opposites but share the responsibility to understand and “teach” their mutual differences and potential. There are no national limits on the arts and sciences. The context in which the respective work, teaching, research and appointments take place is international.
The “Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig”/HBK (Braunschweig University of Art) was founded in the year 1963. Hence, it is one of the youngest art universities in Germany.
However, its history goes back to the “Zeichnen Instituth” (Drawing Institute) that was established in 1842 by the Braunschweig local trade association. The co-founder was the court-appointed master bookbinder Johannes Jakob Selenka. Since 1985 the name of the forecourt of the HBK at the Altstadtring reminds us of him: Johannes-Selenka-Platz.
From this drawing institute of the 19th century the state-approved Municipal Trade, Arts and Crafts School developed which shortly afterwards changed into the Master School of German Handicraft. The actual predecessor of the HBK was the Braunschweig Municipal School of Fine Arts, founded in 1952, which then became the State University for Fine Arts (SHFBK) and finally in 1978 the Braunschweig University of Art.
The SHFBK was equated with the scientific universities of the state from 1972 onwards and a few years later included into the Higher Education Act of Lower Saxony as a University of Arts and Sciences. Since then it owns the right to award doctorates and postdoctoral lecture qualifications. This accreditation was followed by an expansion of the university – both in workforce and premises.
In the year 1984 the award-winning new building by the Braunschweig architects Krämer, Sieverts & Partner was inaugurated. A few years later the university moved into a former factory building where many of the art classes are now generously accommodated. The extension to the library building constructed from parts of the Mexican pavilion from the EXPO 2000 and designed by the well-known artist Ricardo Legorreta is for now the latest addition to the university campus. In June 2010 the HBK was given premises by the City of Braunschweig to be used rent-free for contemporary art and design exhibitions over a period of five years.