Iceland Academy of the Arts (P)

IslandThe Iceland Academy of the Arts is a self-governing institution established in 1999 and the first art academy on a university level in Iceland. Today, the Academy offers instruction on a bachelor and master level in five departments: The Department of Fine Arts, the Department of Design and Architecture, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Music and the Department of Arts Education. The purpose of the Academy is to provide higher education in the arts, to work to strengthen art education in Iceland and to convey to the public information on art and culture.

Policy and objectives

The role of the Iceland Academy of the Arts is to encourage progressive thinking in the arts and to stimulate innovation and development in different fields. The Academy offers education in the arts at the university level and conveys both knowledge and professionalism in the arts to Icelandic society. It operates in a global environment and cooperates with many academies in the field of arts in neighbouring countries.

Three main values guide the focus and direction of the Academy in all of its work:

• Curiosity

• Understanding

• Courage

Curiosity prompts us to ask questions and search for new approaches, solutions and answers. Through understanding and training we develop the talents and skills we require. In that way we strengthen our courage to follow through on our convictions and our artistic vision.

The Department of Art Education offers a Master’s programme in Art Education that allows graduates to apply for certification to teach at the primary and upper secondary levels. Two programmes are offered: a 120-ECTS programme leading to a MArtEd degree, or MA, and a 60-ECTS diploma programme providing teaching credentials. Students in a Master’s programme must have completed a BA degree or similar in fine art, design, theatre, dance or music before they enrol in the programme. The diploma programme is only offered for students who have already completed a Master’s degree in their artistic field.


The Master’s programme in Art Education has three fundamental objectives:

* To provide excellent training for art teachers, guided by the criteria and working methods in different art forms. Emphasis is placed on professionalism and clear vision.

* To respond to an acute need for dedicated, well-trained art instructors at all educational levels, and to encourage collaboration and discussion in the teaching of art.

* To show initiative and strengthen interaction between academic and creative work through research in art education and teaching.

The Art Education programme is an academic programme to train teachers to transmit art and perform general academic work and art instruction in primary and secondary schools, in line with a set curriculum. By offering the programme the IAA wishes to ensure that innovation in art and artistic subjects is transmitted from one educational level to another, and to ensure a high regard towards art education among artists.

It is the goal of the Academy to strengthen the role of living art in the education and instruction of all Icelandic residents, while forging an understanding of the value of creative thinking in all forms of education.

Study arrangement:

The aim of the programme is to train artists in the method of instruction and to strengthen their skills and academic foundation, allowing them to communicate their knowledge in a new forum and lead artistic projects within the educational system and outside of it. The Art Education programme is composed of workshops in instructional theory, pedagogy, psychology, philosophy and sociology, parallel to teacher training and artistic communication in a classroom setting.

An emphasis is placed on students acquiring knowledge and understanding of the teaching profession, both academically and in the classroom. Students learn to plan instruction and individual study components on the basis of the curricula of primary and secondary schools, and to select study materials, instruction methods and the appropriate methods of evaluation. Teaching and communication are also examined in a broader context and students are encouraged to introduce their own visions and ideas about art instruction and programme availability in society.

The programme is organised with the goal of training leading art instructors, whereby artists in various art forms work together and parallel to each other on solutions relating to instructional theory. As each student focuses on his/her specialty, continuous dialogue is generated between different art forms which opens the doors for collaboration between them, and thereby new opportunities in art instruction.

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