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Theory and History

Theory and History

The department »Theory and History« combines issues concerned with artistic and cultural sciences and the history and theory of design, as well as philosophy, semiotics, media theory and other increasingly relevant sciences. For students taking an artistic subject as their main subject, »Theory and History« will provide the necessary orientation and in-depth knowledge. Students taking only classes from the »Theory and History« department will receive an autonomous scientific education in the fields and topics named. Over the course of four years students will acquire – according to the composition of their theory and history studies:

  • detailed knowledge of historical and contemporary artistic practices and theoretical discourses in the named disciplines;

  • the ability to relate different theoretical concepts to one another, to apply them productively across the range of disciplines and to thereby pose individual, possibly unique new questions;

  • the ability to combine theoretical and artistic aspects of a creative method with one another and to develop new ways of making statements through experimentation;

  • the ability to enter into the public sphere through one’s own adaptations, publications and projects and to thereby develop a professional perspective involving the theory of art and culture.

The department »Theory and History« has a modular structure. This means that the courses on offer are both heterogenous and interrelated, and can be combined in a number of different ways. The significance is that this allows students to develop their own interests. It means that while working on these interests they can take any individual course on offer within this subject. They can therefore make the best use of the range of courses on offer, depending on their own interests. Extensively available student advisory services and mentoring will ensure that these individually chosen artistic interests have an appropriate theoretical content, are consistent, are on an appropriately high level and can be completed successfully.

The aim of this programme of study is to offer a qualification for students of theory with or without a main artistic subject which enables them to make productive use of their abilities in a variety of professional contexts. These may include career areas relating to exhibition, to cultural institutions, to publishing, to the media and many others. In line with this, during the course of students’ studies especial attention will be given to the conception, presentation and publication of work concerned with theory which locates itself within these professional contexts. The necessary experience will be gained through seminars, interdisciplinary projects, publication and in association with institutions other than the HFBK.

Theory and History in the Master study programme

The department of »Theory and History« includes aesthetics, design theory and history, art science, art theory and art history, cultural sciences and gender theory, media theory and philosophy. It offers an interdisciplinary approach to questions on the periphery of art and science, and is studied in combination with an artistic subject. »Theory and History« is a Master study programme.

The Master study programme Theory and History will give students an opportunity to develop a theoretical and/or historical research project and to extend it according to their chosen theory. They will be able to gain experience by discussing this project in an artistic and cultural context and by presenting it in an appropriate way. Students can choose a theoretical project supported by their artistic work. In this case, a central thematic challenge will be to bring together the theoretical and practical elements of the project.

Students of this department must attend a class appropriate to their project for each semester. They will also receive support and advice from professors in colloquiums and individual supervisory meetings. It is also possible to choose a research project that can later be expanded and converted into a doctorate.

Annette Wehrmann, photography from the series Blumensprengungen, 1991-95; photo: Ort des Gegen e.V.

Conference: Counter-Monuments and Para-Monuments.

The international conference at HFBK Hamburg on December 2-4, 2021 – jointly conceived by Nora Sternfeld and Michaela Melián –, is dedicated to the history of artistic counter-monuments and forms of protest, discusses aesthetics of memory and historical manifestations in public space, and asks about para-monuments for the present.

23 Fragen des Institutional Questionaire, grafisch umgesetzt von Ran Altamirano auf den Türgläsern der HFBK Hamburg zur Jahresausstellung 2021; photo: Charlotte Spiegelfeld

Diversity

Who speaks? Who paints which motif? Who is shown, who is not? Questions of identity politics play an important role in art and thus also at the HFBK Hamburg. In the current issue, the university's own Lerchenfeld magazine highlights university structures as well as student initiatives that deal with diversity and identity.

Grafik: Tim Ballaschke

Start of semester

After three semesters of hybrid teaching under pandemic conditions, we are finally about to start another semester of presence. We welcome all new students and teachers at the HFBK Hamburg and cordially invite you to the opening of the academic year 2020/21, which this year will be accompanied by a guest lecture by ruangrupa.

Graphic design: Sam Kim, picture in the background: Sofia Mascate, photo: Marie-Theres Böhmker

Graduate Show 2021: All Good Things Come to an End

From September 24 to 26, the more than 150 Bachelor's and Master's graduates of the class of 2020/21 will present their final projects as part of the Graduate Show at the HFBK Hamburg. We would like to thank all visitors and participants.

photo: Klaus Frahm

Summer Break

The HFBK Hamburg is in the lecture-free period, many students and teachers are on summer vacation, art institutions have summer break. This is a good opportunity to read and see a variety of things:

ASA Open Studio 2019, Karolinenstraße 2a, Haus 5; photo: Matthew Muir

Live und in Farbe: die ASA Open Studios im Juni 2021

Since 2010, the HFBK has organised the international exchange programme Art School Alliance. It enables HFBK students to spend a semester abroad at renowned partner universities and, vice versa, invites international art students to the HFBK. At the end of their stay in Hamburg, the students exhibit their work in the Open Studios in Karolinenstraße, which are now open again to the art-interested public.

Studiengruppe Prof. Dr. Anja Steidinger, Was animiert uns?, 2021, Mediathek der HFBK Hamburg, Filmstill

Unlearning: Wartenau Assemblies

The art education professors Nora Sternfeld and Anja Steidinger initiated the format "Wartenau Assemblies". It oscillates between art, education, research and activism. Complementing this open space for action, there is now a dedicated website that accompanies the discourses, conversations and events.

Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?