iMAE is a one-year full-time programme of study endorsed by the NAVO and part of a national consortium of masters art education courses in the Netherlands. Unlike the other programmes, iMAE focuses on issues based arts research and socially engaged practice-based research and is underpinned by experiential learning. In this regard the course is part of a broader programme of activities that include research residencies set directly in artistic and non-artistic contexts. These can be in other institutions or in diverse socio-political contexts ranging from Marrakesh to West Belfast.
Learning on location: Site Specific Colleges
iMAE introduces the concept of Site Specific Colleges (SSC) as a place set in a local, national, or international context where the course situates itself for a period of 8 to 16 weeks. Each SSC is constructed in partnership with local organisations including cultural institutions, schools, universities, and community groups. These are places that through our presence become sites of research, practice, artivism and learning. Each SSC is framed by a set of research questions that are formed from an engagement with the people and needs of each site. A college will cover a range of issues and provide an amazing opportunity for students to live, work, learn, and build professional portfolios that will further their career opportunities beyond the course. Working with local communities and professional practitioners, students are encouraged to connect their own practice and research, to meet the needs of Others. but always with a focus on social change.
The 2020-21 cohort will be working two sites: SSC I Windesheim University of the Applied Science Zwolle the Netherlands – theme United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. SSCII the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) in Belfast Northern Ireland – Theme Art and Conflict Transformation. These sites can change according to needs and time.
For the Site Specific Colleges, the iMAE program runs on a solid network of local partners who share the same key values: social justice, openness and empathy. Together they underline the importance of mobility, connecting you as a change maker to various people, groups and social-political contexts. We work together with, amongst others, Asociación de Arte Útil, The Playhouse, Migratiemuseum an the Queens Collective.
Cooperating with Asociación de Arte Útil, we have developed a unique partnership that gives our students access to the largest repository of social practice in the world. As a nomadic para-institution, the Asociación de Arte Útil provides workshops in practice and theory. The Asociación works together with the iMAE students throughout the year, being present in each of our Site Specific Colleges in Arnhem, Brussels and Northern Ireland.
What do you learn? And how?
As a master student at iMAE you learn not only how to use existing research methodologies, but also – and mostly – how to develop your own creativity to produce unique research methods that fall within your practice and existing skill set. You combine international fieldwork with practice and theory, to learn how to apply your own research interests to specific contexts.
iMAE students work with practitioners and professionals, who support them and give feedback on their projects and ensure that they are remaining true to themselves.
Working in the social context presents major challenges and issues of morality: ethics are constantly questioned. This is why practice based arts educational research is at the core of the program. While working with others, stories will emerge. Being an iMAE artist educator, you learn how to safeguard these stories and place them within a research framework of narrative inquiry and narratology. You learn to ask the right questions and to interpret these through artistic interventions.
As a student at iMAE you discover how to plan projects in a professional manner, how to present these projects for evaluation and critique, how to use reflective research methods to write about your work, and all the while to connect your practice to theories. You develop research portfolios that include texts, images, movies, sounds and other forms of creative activities that you find interesting and useful as you develop your intellectual capacities. You will learn how to organise your thoughts into a coherent form.
iMAE students work with practitioners and professionals, who support them and give feedback on their projects and ensure that they are remaining true to themselves, while simultaniously maintaining the challenge of the programme expectations. Our Masters students learn through working with groups and individuals; young and old, both governmental and non-governmental agencies, local and executive. They learn how to unite these entities and form a culture of mutuality, knowledge and interdependency.
The concept of the studio as a research hub is a fundamental element of the iMAE programme. Therefore, whether in Arnhem, Brussels or Northern Ireland, we offer our students access to a professional art studio. As an arts educational master dedicated to social engagement, all our studios are open plan, so that our students can develop ideas and artistic practices that blend and interface with their fellow classmates. As an artist educator, you are expected to work in collaboration with others to identify and achieve common goals.
In the research hub of the studio, concepts and prototypes are developed and tested. But as the programme challenges its participants to take their work into ‘real world’ contexts, the studio concept extends to public domains as well.
From the outset of the programme, your existing views on education will be challenged. You will be asked to trust a process that will lead to the deconstruction of your learner identity. Since this identity may have been constructed over many years, this can be unsettling. But together, we construct a new identity that combines the artist with the educator. Your art becomes your education work and your education will become your artwork. Developing your vision in the context of the programme, you get to to become a game changer who observes the world from an empathic, open and humble view. You learn to critically reflect on established paradigms, but also on yourself, your work and its effects.
iMAE gave me the space to think, feel, create and collaborate.