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Research profile of the UdK Berlin

Among the world’s Art Schools only few others can compare themselves with the Berlin University of the Arts Berlin in size, diversity, or wealth of tradition – in both the arts and arts-related science. In 1975, the UdK – which was then called “Hochschule der
Künste” – was awarded university status and holds it to this day. Ever since then the UdK Berlin has had the right to award doctorates and professorships for all scientific disciplines represented within its individual faculties. The UdK is thus one of only four universities in Berlin (the others are the Technical University, the Freie Universität, and the Humboldt-Universität) and the sole institution of the arts to have university status. Like its predeceasing institutions, the UdK Berlin is well known for its educational approach, through which the arts themselves, both in their artistic practice and as objects of aesthetic experience, are subjects of scientific research and critical reflection.

The UdK Berlin offers its students not only the most varied and diverse range of arts and design disciplines in the nation, but also unmatched breadth and depth of content and methodologies. The four university faculties – Fine Arts, Design, Music, and
Performing Arts – together with the Central Institute of Further Education offer more than seventy degree programs, covering the entire spectrum of the arts and art-related sciences. Outstanding artists relate teaching to contemporary artistic practice, while eminent scientists and scholars provide instruction that is intimately tied to current scientific research in the arts.

The close daily contact with artistic practice means that the UdK Berlin can provide a unique research environment for scientific exploration. While the scientific scope and the mix of basic and application-oriented research resemble those of traditional academic universities, the immediate proximity to the arts is what truly sets the UdK Berlin apart. This proximity, together with the ways in which scientific subjects are embedded in the artistic and scientific/artistic degree programs, leads to a strong culture of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary communication. The scientific profile of the UdK Berlin is thus characterized by energetic and varied cooperation among the sciences, as well as between the sciences and the arts.

The UdK Berlin has institutionalized a variety of scientific and research priorities through the establishment of permanent research facilities such as the “Design Research Lab” and the “Vilém Flusser Archive,” and also through long-term cooperative projects with other universities, such as the “Hybrid Plattform” and the “Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.” The establishment of the UdK Berlin university archives has also served to organize research into the UdK Berlin’s own history and the history of its predecessor institutions. In addition, numerous research projects are under way at various university faculties, including those funded by the DFG or the Einstein Foundation Berlin; these projects often involve multiple faculties or are carried out in cooperation with other universities or research institutions. Since 2011, the DFG Research Training Group “Knowledge in the Arts” (“Das Wissen der Künste”) has been located at the UdK Berlin.

Doctoral and postdoctoral programs at the UdK are based on the formats current at nearly all universities; the UdK Berlin does not offer “practice-based PhD” programs in the art disciplines. However, the scholarship program of the Graduate School offers artists in doctoral and postdoctoral programs the opportunity to develop, over a period of two years, an artistic project grounded between the arts and the sciences.

Early in 2014 the UdK Berlin founded the Postgraduate Forum, which seeks to forge stronger connections, both internally and externally, for UdK Berlin’s postgraduate offerings, and to enhance their international visibility.