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Plans for a new IArts culture study

Maastricht wants to start a new culture study in 2012, called IArts. The city council, provincial government, Hogeschool Zuyd and Maastricht University are signing a cooperation agreement in Kasteel Vaeshartelt today.

IArts, which is short for Interdisciplinary Arts, is to be a new English-language programme that offers students a mixture of art practice and theory. The faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is one of the partners.

The idea for the new IArts study programme is connected with the ambition of the city of Maastricht to become European Capital of Culture in 2018 and the drive for innovation in this region. At the same time, artists are facing a changing labour market. Students want to have a broader education, to be able to operate in different fields in their later careers. Rein de Wilde, dean of the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: “There is a need for a hybrid profile.”

The arts faculties of Hogeschool Zuyd - the School of Drama, the Academy of Music, the Academy of Architecture, and the Academy of Fine arts and design - will be housed in a Quartier des Arts. Its location is still a matter of consideration. One of the options is the site of the former Sphinx factory at the end of the Boschstraat, in and around the Eiffelgebouw.

The UM-faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will provide academic depth and develop one of its pillars: creative writing. De Wilde: “It’s the art of writing fiction; novels, short stories, poetry and plays. We are starting a minor of creative writing/translation at our own faculty next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were writing talents among our own students, but also at Medicine or Economics. In the Anglo-Saxon world, unlike in the Netherlands, studying to be a writer is quite common.”

“IArts is a new kind of programme which is situated between university and higher vocational education”, says Harrie van den Elsen, dean of the Maastricht Academy of Music. “That’s why we’d like to have a kind of experimental status from the Ministry of Education. Unfortunately they’re not quite open to this at the moment because of all the cost cuts. For the time being we’ll shelter the programme in the existing art faculties of Hogeschool Zuyd.”


Wendy Degens



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