In 1966, Raoul Servais, the internationally renowned animation filmmaker, founded the animated film programme at Hogent. It was the first of its kind in Europe. Servais’ pedagogical vision was one of a technically well-founded education in which far-reaching individual artistic determination had to be allowed to flourish. Today, this vision remains alive and well. In the meantime, animation has expanded into a broad and diverse working field, ranging from classical animation to installations or performances in which animation is central.
Specific to the Hogent animated film programme are its artistic and investigative points of departure. The attitude of the artist is central. Animation is not so much taught as a technical skill, but as a personal way of expressing oneself in the medium of film animation. During their study, students have the opportunity to discover what animation can be for their own artistic practice. Drawing and 2D animation are still the foundation for learning to animate. Students are stimulated to use the medium of animation in their search for their own universe, their own reality.
Interactions with other disciplines, such as theatre, performance and the visual arts are encouraged, so that the study is not only specific to film animation.
The study programme consists of practical studio courses and general and theoretical subjects that support the practice: artistic practice is central. Here, students are confronted with different aspects of animation and film animation as a medium: the qualities of movement, styling, narrative structures and musicality. In addition to a basic fundamental knowledge, technical knowledge and skill is cumulatively achieved in the service the personal projects of the students. Each school year consists of a first semester, with an emphasis on the transfer of knowledge and skills, and a second semester in which students are given the time and space to process this into their own personal projects.
Fifteen studio practice teachers guide students in the bachelor and master’s studios, each with his or her own specific artistic vision and technical expertise. In addition to an open attitude to learning and boundless curiosity, students are expected to be tenacious in finding their own way in the richness offered by the film animation genre.
Graduate students working towards their master’s deepen their artistic research to the fullest extent. They are responsible for their own trajectories, each supported by two mentors: a practical mentor and a theoretical mentor for their written thesis. Master seminars provide a theoretical framework in the form of discussion platforms with students from different disciplines. In the studios, there is frequent consultation with fellow students, following and discussing each other’s working process. This testing and nurturing of individual practices find expression in their relation to the outside world in the form of ‘art in the working field’ internships.
Master projects, which can take forms beyond that of the film medium, are judged by an external jury of experts.
The working field of this programme is extremely broad. Our film animation alumni are found not only throughout the audiovisual arts, but also in theatre, fine art, graphic novels, social artistic projects, art education and more.
Emma De Swaef
Steffie Van Cauter
Carl Van Isacker