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Lithuania/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.4 Higher arts education and professional training

Two main higher art schools are under the Ministry of Education and Science: the Vilnius Academy of Arts and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre that specialises in music, theatre, film and dance.

The history of the Vilnius Academy of Arts began in 1793, when the Department of Architecture was established at Vilnius University. The Academy has faculties in Vilnius, Kaunas, KlaipÄ—da, and Telšiai and provides training in visual arts, applied art, media, architecture and design.  The total number of students was 1814 in 2012/2013 (see: The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre was established in 1933 on the basis of a reorganised Conservatoire of Kaunas. Both Academies provide BA, MA, PhD level studies and preparatory courses.

In 2006 Vilnius Academy of Arts, with financial support from the European Structural Funds and the government, established the Design Innovation Centre, which aims to promote collaboration between the Academy, businesses and education structures. The aim of the Centre is to create optimal conditions for young designers, to develop international collaboration between similar institutions, and to contribute to the formation of a Lithuanian design policy. The Centre is located in a renovated building (former printing house of the soviet communist daily "Tiesa") and has contemporary technical equipment (see: The last new subdivision of the Academy is Nida's Art Colony (NAC), which was developed under the EEA and Norway Grants support and opened in March 2011. NAC became a meeting place for experienced and emerging artists, designers, architects, curators, art critics and researchers from around the world. NAC also runs an artist-in-residence programme, which offers curated and independent stays by invitation or selected by open calls for professional artists (see:

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for financing and development of Arts Gymnasium/schools and conservatoires in Lithuania. According to a research study (2010), there were 5 arts gymnasiums and 4 conservatoires with music, arts and ballet curricula. 2511 students were enrolled in arts gymnasiums/schools and 726 in conservatoires in the 2009/2010 training year (source:

After Lithuania joined the European Union, spheres of life were challenged by the question how to become a competitive European country in the field of arts and how to better artists' integration into a common European art and job market. Above mentioned higher art institutions started to develop links with foreign partners and participate in student exchange programmes (Socrates / Erasmus). However, the number of Lithuanian students and professors, participating in these programmes, is not very high.

The Bologna Declaration, which Lithuania signed in 1999, became an important document for Lithuanian arts and culture education. Several conferences were organised in order to clarify the declaration's goals and stimulate rapid changes in training programmes. Lithuanian universities and art academies were one of the first in Eastern Europe to introduce BA and MA qualifications, however public financing for these training programmes in the use of new technologies in teaching processes and the availability of technical equipment still remains insufficient. Following the adoption of the Bologna Declaration, Lithuanian higher art schools joined several international networks in order to promote competitiveness of arts and links with the state's economy and business sector. For example, the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts became a member of the Nordic-Baltic Design School network. The Scandinavian and Baltic countries initiated the project Design Innovations and Economics in the Countries of the Baltic Region. The aim of the project is tohelp to create design products that would be commercially viable in the domestic and international market and that which would contribute to the establishment of new employment positions.

Due to the growing role of arts and culture management during the 1990s, they were included into the curricula of several higher education institutions. UNESCO supported the establishment of the Chair for Cultural Management and Cultural Policy at the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts in 1999. The Chair was the first educational institution in Lithuania and the Baltic Region to develop a specialised postgraduate programme (MA) in cultural management and cultural policy based on international standards. 26 students from the MA programme graduated in 2005.

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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