Regarding third-level arts education, there are major variations between the different art forms in terms of the training opportunities available. While there are several different institutions offering higher education in visual arts and music, there are fewer opportunities to train in the fields of literature, theatre, dance and film.
Over the last few decades, the number of artist academies – both private and public – has expanded, especially within the performing arts. The number of Norwegian students gaining an art education abroad has also increased considerably. This has contributed to a large growth in the number of artists in Norway. As long as the economic basis for artistic work has not expanded proportionally, the expanding education of artists is seen as a problem by both artists’ organisations and public authorities. At the same time, the growing numbers of artists who gain their professional training abroad means that the close links that have traditionally characterised the relationship between the arts education sector on the one hand and the art institutions on the other, not least in the theatre sector, are changing. However, artists who gain their professional training abroad have not been automatically accepted in the Norwegian labour market for art, although this discrimination seems to be declining in recent years.
Higher arts education has been reorganised during the last decade in terms of the merger of various institutions in the field. The intentions of the state merger have been to enhance the available resources to help establish broader artistic professional environments and promote cooperation beyond disciplinary divisions. Both working artists and professionals in the existing art educational institutions have expressed scepticism in relation to these organisational reforms. In particular, critics have questioned whether the quality of the arts education and the specific needs of each art form are sufficiently considered within the new organisational frameworks.