The Hungarian University of Fine Arts celebrates the 150th anniversary of its foundation in the academic year of 2021/2022. The official name of the institution at the time of the foundation – Hungarian Royal School of Model Drawing and Draughtsmanship Teacher Training – and its legal status was modified many times, but one thing remained unchanged: since 1871 the Hungarian University of Fine Arts has been one of the most significant places in all time contemporary art education.
The one and half decade history of the university is one with the history of the education in the Andrássy Avenue building complex and in the Epreskert (Mulberry Garden): the career of many world-famous artists started from here, important, youthful pieces of the oeuvres of Hungarian art history were made here.
However, the anniversary offers opportunity not only for the overview of the events, achievements, documents, pieces of the valuable art collection of the last 150 years in the historical context of the institution's artistic and pedagogical ideas, but also for asking what we can do today with this heritage and the higher art education, including the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, should face what kind of challenges currently.
Over the past one and half century not the purpose of the education has been changed but the method and means by which the theoretical and practical education are realized: the way and with which artists work and the way we talk about art.
From the very beginning the Hungarian training has been closely related to the international artist training: within the Hungarian Royal School of Model Drawing and Draughtsmanship Teacher Training the “founder” masters passed on their knowledge and experience gained at foreign academies to young talents. Today the foreign partner institutional collaborations of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts do not only provide opportunities for student and teacher mobility. Exhibitions, workshops or international research projects, such as the EU4ART project to rethink national art education traditions and develop the foundations of a common European curriculum, will enrich current research and development institutional plans with additional directions and new educational opportunities.
In the jubilee year 2021/2022 we will thematize the 150 years of Hungarian art education in university and outdoor venues and virtual community spaces with exhibitions, conferences, community photo collecting, a representative album presenting the university collection and different student projects. The jubilee is at the same time a great opportunity for common thinking about how we image the continuation of the one and a half century long history of the institutional and art education.

Projects (exhibitions, publications, conference, presentations, guided tours) related to the jubilee are built on three big thematic units with their focus on representative exhibitions:


HUFA (The Hungarian University of Fine Arts) – THE PLACE OF EDUCATION

The thematic unit deals with the education at the university, the history, subjects and methods of art education, the actual theoretical and practical questions of studio work. The related exhibition presents the role of the body in art education, the changes in the ways of representation, based on the social historical and scientific approaches related to the human body.


In the centre of the unit there is the institutional situation of the university: institutional history, partner institutions, international partners. The 150 years history of the institution is the sequence of reforms followed by rearrangements. What visions of a possible art education institution are emerging among students nowadays? How can the 150-year-old heritage of art education be linked to these ideas?


This unit deals with the building of the institution as a cultural heritage, as a changing cultural stage with an all-time prominent space by emphasizing the significance of the art collection and the architectural, decorative and fine art works in the Andrássy Avenue building in the Hungarian art history and art education.

In the 150-year-old history of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts the units mentioned above cannot be separated from each other: education realizes in one institution and its most important element is the artistic practice. The old and the present practice can be seen within the studios and exhibition spaces of the institution at the events of presentations and exhibitions; the objects, the documents of the exhibition enrich the expanding university collection so they can get back to the art education later as curriculum.

Eszter Lázár project leader of the MKE150 program.