Today a framework agreement has been signed between the institutions, universities and entities promoting the Campus of the Arts, a project led by the University of Barcelona that aims to strengthen higher education in the arts.
The other main aim of the project is to restore the Can Ricart factory site, declared a cultural good of national interest, as its headquarters. The UB has applied for funding under the EU Next Generation funds for the refurbishment and adaptation of the building.
During the signing ceremony of this framework agreement, the rector of the UB stated that the Campus of the Arts is "the fundamental axis for strengthening a field of knowledge such as higher arts education". The rector also noted that "the commitment of the UB to Can Ricart, a cultural good of national interest, and to 22@, is firm and is one of our main commitments for the future". According to the rector, "the activity of the Campus of the Arts will include research projects, postgraduate courses, lifelong learning and knowledge transfer activities in the city and the country".
The Catalan Minister of Research and Universities, Gemma Geis, considers the Campus of the Arts to be a "unique project in Catalonia". "It results from our conviction that the country needs a university of the arts, a thematic university, which does not exist either here or in Spain, but which does exist in most European countries", she said. The minister believes that it is necessary to generate more knowledge and develop more research in the field of the arts "because we also need the study and reflection of the contemporary man on artistic disciplines".
Jordi Martí, deputy mayor for Culture, Education, Science and Community, said: "The Arts Campus shows the capacity of the universities and institutions of the city to work together and promote Barcelona as a benchmark in higher education and as a cultural capital. The project strengthens the field of arts and design at a university level and creates a broad alliance to promote it.
The Campus of the ARts plans to have 6,800 m2 available on the Can Ricart site. Built in 1853, Can Ricart was once used for manufacturing printed products and was active until the last quarter of the 20th century. It is a building that is representative of the industrial heritage of Barcelona and Catalonia. In 2015, the City Council, which owns the site, granted the UB the use of the main industrial building and some outbuildings. This agreement will enable the development of a project of fundamental use both from an educational perspective and for the future of this emblematic space.
Nineteen schools and more than 8,000 students
The number of students in higher level arts education in Catalonia is more than 8,000, with around 2,000 entry students and more than 1,500 graduates per year. However, the fragmentation of the offer in nineteen centres of very different typologies (university, university-affiliated, higher education public and private centres) means that the diversity of higher degrees or university degrees is very low (one per centre on average) and that master’s degree level studies are still a minority (less than 6% of the total number of students). This situation also hampers the development of postgraduate, master’s and doctoral studies and R&D&I capacity. The Campus of the Arts aims to create a network with all the universities and centres of university or higher artistic education in the country to address these challenges, while at the same time contributing to the dynamism of the cultural hub of the 22@ district.
The Campus of the Arts was born in 2019 via an initiative of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CoNCA). Since then, the nineteen university or higher arts education centres in Catalonia have jointly designed the contents of the project and have developed activities, such as the Indisciplines Congress in 2019, about research in artistic practices.
The following entities have signed the framework agreement for the Campus of the Arts: University of Barcelona, Council of Research and Universities, Barcelona City Council, Autonomous University of Catalonia, Open University of Catalonia, University of Girona, Technical University of Catalonia, Pompeu Fabra University, University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia, the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona, UOC Arts and Humanities Studies, Elisava. Barcelona University School of Design and Engineering, Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia (ESCAC), University Centre for Design and Arts of Barcelona (EINA), Escola Massana. Center for Arts and Design, University School ERAM-UdG, Bau. University Centre for Design of Barcelona, ESDi Higher School of Design and Liceu Conservatory.