Advanced studies and practice-based research in the visual arts
For a period of two years, the HISK offers postgraduate training in the visual arts. It provides young artists both domestic and international with their own workspace and offers pedagogical guidance.
The emphasis at the HISK lies on individual practice and close contact with a group of prominent visiting lecturers - artists, curators, critics and scholars.
The unique concept of the HISK, based on the diversity of artistic practices and positions, gives the artists every opportunity for critical research within a broader aesthetic, social and cultural context.

The strength of the HISK lies in its unique cross-fertilisation model that comprises studio visits, exhibitions, Open Studios, seminars, master classes, public lectures, workshops, study trips, etcetera that are conceived to meet the development of the artists. The HISK offers a safe haven for experimentation and research within a small and flexible structure.

At the end of the two years, the participating artists receive a certificate as 'Laureate of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts'. 293 laureates have graduated from the institute since 1997. The majority of them are now pursuing successful professional careers in the international art world.

HISK is officially recognised as a higher educational institute and is financed by the Flemish Community (the Ministry of Education) and supported by the City of Ghent.

The HISK provides a special type of education that allows candidate laureates to work independently on their development into autonomous professional artists through deepening and contemplation. Research, theory and reflection, experimentation and innovation - the pillars of every artist's personal and artistic development - are equitably translated into a concrete programme.

The artists are given space, technical support and pedagogical guidance for two years, during which they are able to devote themselves to their artistic practice. Being part of a relatively small community of artists gives the candidate laureates the opportunity to deepen and sharpen their artistic practice.

The HISK programme is structured around three main pillars: a curatorial pillar, a research pillar and a production pillar.
The curatorial pillar encompasses artistic development, creating exhibitions, artistic projects, editions, et cetera. Over the period of two years, three curators each work out part of the HISK programme: Open Studios, Final Show and a public project with the first-year candidates.
The production pillar concerns itself with technical development and the realisation of exhibitions, such as the Open Studios and other (public) activities. Starting from specific artistic concepts, new techniques are taught under supervision. In addition, the artists are provided with advice and support.
The research pillar takes a critical look at the broad notion of 'artistic research'. Apart from general theory and philosophical reflection on their own artistic practice, the artists are also challenged to think in an interdisciplinary and analytical manner. In addition, the artists are provided with guidance on how to prepare for a doctorate in the arts.

Each pillar is concretised in a variety of activities such as lectures, seminars, workshops, master classes, studio visits by international visiting lecturers from the contemporary art field and on-site visits (studios, museums, art events, fairs and festivals).

Study facilities
The HISK undertakes the following activities:

  • the artistic-educational programme, consisting of three pillars: exhibiting, producing, theory & research
  • the organisation of the annual Open Studios, including the publication of the HISK booklet
  • the organization of the laureate exhibition with a publication at the end of the two-year study

The HISK provides the candidate laureates with the following facilities:

  • an individual studio
  • internet access and use of the computers provided by the HISK
  • use of the kitchen at the HISK
  • use of the didactic material made available by the HISK
  • use of the workshops provided by the HISK, under supervision and by appointment.