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Jan van Eyck


For many years the Janvan Eyck Academy in Maastricht has been an international centre for critical and radical theory. The Dutch government has recently proposed drastic changes to cultural funding. These changes will directly endanger the JvE and other Dutch post-academic institutions.

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Recently the Dutch Ministry of Culture published a document containing its policy for the period 2013-16. Amongst a whole range of intended drastic cuts, it proposes that the State should stop financing post-academic institutes like the Jan van Eyck Academie. There is no explicit motivation for this plan, other than a reference to the supposed need to reduce public expenditure. The State Secretary, Halbe Zijlstra, restricts himself to stating that the cultural field should self-finance post-academic formation and education, ‘as the legal professions and building industry do.’ However it is clear that the principles motivating the policy document derive from a logic of austerity and will result in the application of business criteria.

As far as the Jan van Eyck Academie is concerned this policy would mean a severe cut of its means as of 2013, resulting in its closure in 2016. Instead of financing an experimental, non-university and research-oriented post-academic institute like the Jan van Eyck Academie, the State Secretary wants to invest in fifty artists who have proved to be ‘successful’. Despite the fact that the Jan van Eyck Academie can easily demonstrate its essential role in the successful careers of numerous artists, designers, and theoreticians, this contribution has never been articulated in terms of ‘success.’ The Academie is about combining research in the fine arts, design, and theory, and thus about creating invaluable interdisciplinary connections and radical innovations. Such places of intellectual and artistic freedom are necessary, and the inability of the Ministry to recognise this testifies to the obtuseness and short-sightedness of its policy.

We strongly oppose the intentions of the Ministry of Culture, for we want the Jan van Eyck Academie, along the other post-academic institutes, to continue to do what it is good at. We repudiate an austerity driven policy which will result in a blind erasure of an institute that has proven to be an important element in the Dutch and international network of artistic and art-related practices. We therefore request the State Secretary to withdraw his plans.


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Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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