Evaluation of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in fine arts
This report presents the results of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education´s 2006/2007 quality audit of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in fine arts at universities and university colleges in Sweden. The National Agency engaged five external experts for the assessment. They were Paula Crabtree, dean of the Department of Fine Art at Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Ingrid Elam, head of the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University, Jan Kaila, professor at Helsinki´s Academy of Fine Arts, Anna Kindbom, student at Konstfack (who did not take part in the visit to or the assessment of that particular programme), and Timo Valjakka, a curator and art critic in Helsinki. This assessment team visited five institutions between November 2006 and February 2007. On these visits, Agnes Ers and Jana Hejzlar from the National Agency were the team´s secretaries. The report is in two parts. The first part contains the National Agency´s decisions and reflections, based on the assessment team´s report. The second part is the assessment team´s report and consists of general impressions and recommendations, as well as institution-specific assessments. The assessment team alone is responsible for the contents of this second part. The quality level of the programmes is good, according to the assessment team. They are supported by an adequate infrastructure, with the exception of the programme at the University College for Photography at Göteborg University, where investments in equipment are needed if quality is to be maintained. There is no doubt that teachers work with great involvement and have an openness to students´ wishes. In several cases, however, total teaching competence and capacity is too dependent on the numerous guest teachers. At the same time, guest teachers are a great asset for students, as they give a picture of the business and can help in building important networks. One problem is that the appointment of professors is rarely preceded by an expert review. Instead professors are hand-picked by appointing acting professors or junior lecturers. Another problem is that too many of the staff have part-time contracts and therefore cannot get sufficient time or space for their own artistic development or research. The limited hours and the temporary appointments also create continuity problems. The assessment team would like to see a more well thought-out documentation of students´ progress in the form of individual curricula, in order to strengthen students´ legal rights.
The postgraduate programmes at Göteborg and Lund universities are too recent for the assessment team to draw any general conclusions. The assessors regard it as a clear advantage to group them in an arts faculty or similar organisation in order to strengthen their distinctive characters but also the size of the research environment. Collaboration with other faculties is seen as positive by the assessors, who nevertheless stress the importance of creating one´s own conditions.