HISK offers a post-academic course in visual and audiovisual art. The institute provides young artists from Belgium and abroad with a workspace of their own for duration of two years. The emphasis at the institute lies on individual practice. The programme aims to achieve a practical balance between study in the studio, discussions with visiting lecturers, workshops, reading groups, field trips and public presentations. At the end of the two years, the participating artists receive a certificate as a ‘Laureate of the Higher Institute for Fine Arts.’ 230 laureates have graduated from the institute since 1997. The majority of them are now pursuing successful professional careers in the international art world.
The HISK has collaborations with different organisations, as well with educational as professional institutions, at home and abroad. It is collaborated with BL!NDMAN, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, H ART, Staalkaart and Exchanges with Estonian Academy of Arts, Malmö Art Academy and Sale d’Art Jove.
The two-year work period at the HISK prepares the candidate-laureate for positioning him or herself as an individual artist. During the course one learns to assimilate the diversity of input from visiting lecturers, fellow candidates and the outside world. The candidate-laureate is approached as a young artist who needs to develop a whole range of competences. Self-organisation, resourcefulness, and the ability to articulate and communicate about ones own work are significant factors. But an artist is also a maker of exhibitions, someone who takes care of the making of books, a builder of websites, an accountant, a producer and, more often than not, his or her own promoter.
The HISK is located at the edge of the Citadel Park, at walking distance from Ghent Saint Peter’s Station and the city centre. It is moreover located at a central point in the City of Ghent’s so-called cultural kilometre. Immediate neighbours are the SMAK (the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art), the Museum of Fine Arts, Sint Pietersabdij Kunsthal (the Saint Peter’s Abbey Art-hall), the City Museum (STAM), the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Ghent University and the Department of Fine Arts of University College Ghent.