Emancipation of the arts

Robert Wagner übergibt die Leitung des Mozarteums dem ersten demokratisch gewählten Rektor Paul von Schilhawsky  | © Privatbesitz von P. v. Schilhawsky
The publication "Auf dem Weg zur Kunstuniversität: das Kunsthochschul-Organisationsgesetz von 1970" ("On the Way to the Art University: the Art University Organization Act of 1970"), which appeared in August, documents for the first time comprehensively the historical course of the development of higher education in Austria's art universities.
Picture: The last president appointed by the ministry, Robert Wagner, hands over the leadership of the Mozarteum to the first democratically elected rector, Paul von Schilhawsky (Photo: private property of P. v. Schilhawsky)
Susanne Prucher am Rednerpult | © Christian Schneider


Am 7. Oktober 2021 präsentierte der Kunst-ARCHIV-Raum in einer Hybrid-Veranstaltung gemeinsam mit der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, der Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien und der Kunstuniversität Graz die Publikation “Auf dem Weg zur Kunstuniversität: das Kunsthochschul-Organisationsgesetz von 1970“.

1970 wurden die damaligen Akademien für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, Salzburg und Wien sowie die Akademie für angewandte Kunst in Wien zu Hochschulen. 50 Jahre später starteten die Archive der vier Kunstuniversitäten ihr Buch-Projekt und legten im Herbst 2021 das Ergebnis der ersten gemeinsamen Forschungsarbeit vor. Die Publikation ist der historischen Aufarbeitung der ersten Schritte in die Autonomie gewidmet, wie etwa der Demokratisierung der Hochschulen sowie der Gleichstellung von Kunst und Wissenschaft.

In vielfältigen Beiträgen wird ein Bogen gespannt von den Ursprüngen und Entwicklungen der Konservatorien im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert zum Entstehungsprozess und den Herausforderungen der neuen Strukturen an den einzelnen Hochschulen, bis zu den Auswirkungen, Entwicklungen und Perspektiven, die diese mit sich brachten und auch heute noch bringen. Sie gehen den Anfängen von Selbstbestimmung, Mitsprache und Gleichstellung in ihren Institutionen nach – allesamt brisante Themen, die auch aktuell wieder an den Universitäten diskutiert werden.

Die Präsentation fand zeitgleich in den drei beteiligten Städten statt und die von den einzelnen Universitäten gestalteten Teile wurden via Video-Konferenz jeweils an die anderen Institutionen übertragen.

Die Publikation ist im Kunst-ARCHIV-Raum der Universität Mozarteum Salzburg erhältlich.

In their first joint research work, the archives of the Mozarteum University, the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the University of Applied Arts Vienna publish the history of their becoming art universities: The publication is dedicated to reviewing the first steps towards autonomy, the democratization of the universities, and the equality of art and science. From academy to university The history of the development of the former Austrian art academies into universities is in equal parts exciting and historically highly remarkable, not only in the current context of the amendment to the University and Higher Education Act. The dimension of the Kunsthochschul-Organisationsgesetz (KHOG) of 1970 represents the anchoring of the legal basis for today's art universities and also manifested itself as a political statement, an acknowledgement of the importance of the arts and the need to strengthen artistic (training) education. Until then, the development of Austrian art academies was not dissimilar; for the most part, they originated from private foundations in the early to mid-19th century, which became academies in the course of different stages of development. The academies in Vienna, Graz and Salzburg, based on the legal basis of the Art Academy Act of 1948, represented their own hybrid form between secondary school and university. This was reflected in the constitution ("Präsidialverfassung") as well as in their tasks: a head or president appointed by the Federal Minister of Education and bound by instructions to him headed the academy, while the college of department heads, who were elected annually, had an advisory function. The task of the art academies was to train the artistic skills of their students from the intermediate to the highest level. A problematic discrepancy increasingly arose between the form and content of the academy: on the one hand, there was the emergence of a programmatic university character and, in some areas, a legal equivalence with universities with a rectorate constitution. On the other hand, the authority to issue directives to the ministry covered all areas of administration, resulting in a lack of autonomy and self-government. The problem was increasingly exacerbated by the lack of directives "from above" and corrective measures "from below. The demand for recognition of the university character, made emphatically by the presidents of the art academies in the mid-1960s, and the appointment of the parliamentary Higher Education Reform Commission in 1968 finally provided the impetus for the beginning of the universityization of the art academies and for their reform through the Art Academy Organization Act of 1970. The KHOG not only gave the previous academies university status, legal voting rights for students and teachers, and the right to elect their rectors democratically, but also primarily equated music, performing arts, and fine arts with science. This allowed universities to create new departments and institutes within which they could pursue the mission of research in the arts. Scientific research, the development of the arts and the teaching of the arts, and the implementation of complementary courses at the art colleges could thus be established in an autonomous and self-determined manner. This "initial spark" led to an immense upgrading of the teaching staff and students as well as to a general increase in the level of education. Structural changes at the Mozarteum in the context of art, science and democratization " The increasing interest of internationally successful artists made their engagement as teachers with us possible, new curricula and examination regulations
were drawn up, and the required level for admission to a training program was greatly
raised. As I […] have been on the road internationally, I know about the enormous
image gain that the Mozarteum
was able to lucre from its elevation to a conservatory." This is how Paul Roczek, former violin professor, vice rector and director of the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum University, remembers the upswing brought about by becoming a university in Salzburg. An upswing that above all the first rector of the new Mozarteum University, Paul von Schilhawsky, was able to bring about through his Europe-wide contacts. The students also made lasting use of the new opportunity to have their say: in preparation for the new law and the transformation of the music academies into universities, the ÖH established itself at the Mozarteum. The structural changes created at the Mozarteum University, in addition to the establishment of the first new institutes, the basis for the new Artistic Department for Art Education. Thus, as of 1975, it was the only Austrian art college to unite all three branches of the arts: music, performing arts and fine arts. A unique selling point that continues to this day. An additional special feature of art education in Salzburg was that it was endowed with its own artistic professorships from the very beginning, an exception in the context of artistic teacher training programs to this day. The challenges on the way to the founding of the Department of Art Education at the Mozarteum are reviewed in detail for the first time in the publication by the contribution of Hildegard Fraueneder. A Bridge to the Future "On the Way to the Art University: the Art University Organization Act of 1970" spans in diverse contributions an arc from the origins and developments of Austrian art academies in the 19th and 20th centuries, through the process of creation and the challenges of the new structures at the individual universities, to the effects, developments and perspectives that these brought and still bring today. They trace the beginnings of self-determination, voice, and equality in their institutions: similar to the explosive issues that are again currently being discussed at universities.   (First published in Uni-Nachrichten / Salzburger Nachrichten on October 6, 2021)


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