5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: October, 2019
The Austrian school system is essentially uniformly nationally regulated. Ministerial responsibility for education agendas has changed several times in recent years. Until 2014, education was part of the Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture and since 2016 it has been assigned to the Ministry for Education and Women’s Issues. The Ministry of Education, Science and Research was created in January 2018.
In relation to the organisation (establishment, maintenance, school hours, number of students per class) of the public compulsory schools, legislation on the fundamentals the responsibility of the federal government, while the passing of implementing legislation and its execution is the task of the provinces. The curricula are formulated nationally in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgestzblatt) and include objectives for musical and artistic education for each school grade. The good provision of music schools, especially in Upper Austria, is widely regarded as a best practice learning to play an instrument has a high priority.
Last update: November, 2020
The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research has the principal responsibility for issues concerning arts education in schools. At the elementary school level, arts education in general includes music, visual arts, textile and technical design education. According to education policy guidelines for the secondary school level, individual schools are increasingly forced to define their specific school profiles through autonomous curriculum planning. Accordingly, secondary school students can choose from different arts subjects including performing arts (mainly voluntarily) or participation in school choirs or bands and music ensembles. Generally, many vocational schools (for students over 15 years) do not offer any arts education as a specific subject. However, there are individual schools with special educational curricula in this field (e.g. for music, fine arts, dance, graphics, design or fashion).
The cultural education division of KulturKontakt Austria within the OeAD (KKA/OeAD, see chapter 1.4.3) operates on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research at the interface between schools, art and culture. For many years it has developed participative educational arts projects and activities with schools and cultural institutions. KKA/OeAD sets impulses in the cultural school development, provides consulting for teachers, artists, art and cultural mediators and institutions, and financial support of up to 2 600 workshops per year as part of the programme "Dialogveranstaltungen" (Dialogue Events), Austria's largest art education programme.
Last update: October, 2019
Since 1998, the Kunstuniversitätengesetz grants university status to the six art colleges (Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and three in Vienna) for programmes like music, design, drama, dance, visual arts, painting, sculpture or architecture.
|University||Focal Points||Students 2018||Women||Men|
|Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien / Academy of Fine Arts Vienna||painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance. conceptual art, architecture, scenography and conservation/restoration||1 450||964||486|
|Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien / University of Applied Arts Vienna||architecture, arts sciences and education, conservation and restoration, design, fine arts and media art, language arts||1 575||1 003||572|
|Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien / University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna||musical and instrumental studies, composition, music therapy, ethnomusicology, acting, performing, drama directing, film (directing, editing, production)||2 493||1 357||1 136|
|Kunstuniversität Graz / University of Music and Performing Arts Graz||musical and instrumental studies, performing arts (acting, directing)||1 923||875||1 048|
|Universität für künstlerische und industrielle Gestaltung Linz / University of Art and Design Linz||1 297||845||452|
|Universität Mozarteum Salzburg||1 651||1 028||623|
Source: Official university records, on the respective reporting date: BMBWF Dept. IV/10
The first Austrian Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) for multimedia and design opened its doors to students in 1994. In 2004, the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz (formerly Bruckner-Konservatorium) for music, performing arts and dance was established. In 2005, the Vienna Konservatorium also received the status of a private university.
Further universities of applied sciences with artistic training courses are Kufstein University of Applied Sciences and the St Pölten University of Applied Sciences. Most of the artistic courses are diploma courses leading to the Magister artium (Mag.art.) degree, but there are also some bachelor’s and master’s courses.
Degree courses in the visual and applied arts are structured on the basis of a basic course or orientation phase (BA) and a main course or qualification phase (MA). The basic studies are completed with an intermediate diploma and the main studies with a diploma. The emphasis is on practical artistic work as proof of achievement.
Most music and instrumental courses are also divided into two sections, with the first section (eight semesters) being completed with the first diploma examination, the second section (four semesters) with the second diploma examination and the academic degree Magister artium / Magistra artium. Different profiles in the second section offer targeted preparation for a specific occupational field. Many instrumental studies can be completed with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
The fields of study are highly diversified: in addition to the classical branches one can also study aesthetics, art history, art therapy, media art, graphic design or stage design. Further courses are musicology, music management, music education or music therapy, and teacher training studies with artistic subjects.
Last update: November, 2020
Arts education is also provided on an institutional basis ‘outside of school hours’ by music schools, children's singing schools, and youth and cultural centres. Out-of-school education is mainly provided in the Bundesländer (provinces) or on the community level. With 200 000 school students and almost 7 000 teachers, the 430 public music schools are densely represented in all provinces – in particular the Upper Austrian music schools should be highlighted here as examples of best practice – and above all offer children and young people a high-quality musical education.
As the Austrian school system is currently slowly changing from half-day-schooling to all-day-schooling, new forms of co-operation between schools and out-of-school institutions are on the political agenda.
At the same time, education programmes of cultural institutions, especially for children and young people, have increased considerably. In response to the need to search for new audiences (and by that to legitimise public funding), arts education has become part of marketing strategies especially of museums and exhibition halls, followed by concert halls (concert pedagogy) and theatres (theatre pedagogy).
There are also provisions for art and cultural education in all art and cultural institutions, in particular for children and young people. A public interest in supporting the creativity and aesthetic capacity of young people led to the establishment of cultural institutions dedicated to young target groups. In the Zoom children's museum in Vienna, for example, under the motto "Hands on, minds on, hearts on!" children can ask, touch, feel, explore and play as they wish. In workshops and exhibitions children gather sensory and emotional experiences through play, which trigger learning processes and facilitate understanding. Unlike museums for adults and most children's events, which are more oriented to entertainment, children can touch and try out the objects and through touch reach better understanding. The DSCHUNGEL WIEN Theaterhaus für junges Publikum – both institutions are based in the Vienna Wiener Museumsquartier – is aimed particularly at children and young people. The house dedicates its entire spectrum to performing arts: from acting, storytelling, speaking, figure and musical theatre, and from opera to dance, dance theatre and interdisciplinary forms.
Last update: October, 2019
Within recent years, the number of postgraduate courses in and out of the existing arts universities has increased, offering further education and professionalisation for example in cultural management, intercultural communication, intervention art, pictorial sciences, archiving, event management, and museum and exhibition management. Examples are: University of Applied Sciences Kufstein, Donau-Universität Krems, New Design University St. Pölten, Institute for Cultural Management and Cultural Science (IKM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna or Institut für Kulturkonzepte Wien.