The Royal Academy of Fine Arts
Conservation Studies

Hogeschool Antwerpen

Besides Visual Arts Studies, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which is now a department of Hogeschool Antwerpen, also offers Conservation Studies. In 1988, a Conservation Option was established at the National Higher Institute of Fine Arts, laying the foundations for the present study programme in Conservation.

Conservation Studies is a full-time daytime training programme, consisting of a two-year candidature cycle and a two year master's degree cycle. After the first cycle, students receive the diploma of Candidate in Conservation/Restoration. On completion of the second cycle, they receive a Master's Degree in Conservation/Restoration.

Conservation and restoration depends on four essential pillars:

These four aspects are inextricably linked with one another, and as such they constitute the basis of the Conservation Studies programme.

The first candidature offers a basic package of practical, technical and theoretical programme components which will familiarise the student with the appropriate methods and attitudes. Among other things, you will study the history and the materiality of the objects to be conserved or restored, develop manual skills, study modern conservation and restoration techniques, and learn how to document the conservation and restoration process with the purpose of making correct diagnoses and recording the treatment approach for future scholars. All this fits into a broader framework of research in the humanities and the natural sciences, as well as the acquisition of the deontological insight that will ultimately enable you to develop a comprehensive conservation concept.

Step by step, you will compile your own curriculum, whereby you will evolve towards a specific area of expertise. The range of possible majors is already very broad (book, film, photography, vessel glass, wood, ceramics, costumes, metals, furniture, mural art, paper, polychromy, painting, stone and plaster sculptures, flat glass, flat textile, ...), but, if at all possible, it may be adapted or extended in accordance with your own interests or with the requirements of the national heritage sector.

All programme components are taught and supervised by an expert team of lecturers and assistants. Your work and methodology is assessed continuously to ensure constant progress. A more in-depth evaluation is made at the end of each semester.

This programme demands a lot from students, as the (prospective) conservator must inevitably work with unique and irreplaceable objects belonging to museum collections, archaeological departments, monuments, archives and private individuals. In order to attain the required standard of work, the Conservation Studies programme aims at combining a broad cultural baggage and aesthetic sensitivity with manual skills and a scientifically sound research methodology within a strict deontological framework.

In addition to the fixed programme components and the optional courses, the training also encompasses study tours and visits to museums, other study programmes, research centres, conservation studios, specialised fairs, exhibitions, etc., both in Belgium and in other countries. Such visits will help broaden students' perspective and may pave the way for a future apprenticeship or professional career.

The Conservation Studies programme is involved in exchange and apprenticeship programmes with other European schools, museums, conservation workshops and private companies. The duration and the content of these initiatives may vary considerably, as an individual programme is always drawn up.

The conservation sector is very dynamic, witness the many conferences, colloquiums and workshops that are organised in Belgium and abroad. As the Conservation Studies Programme intends to offer students up-to-the-minute information, it participates frequently in such events. These are not mentioned in the curriculum, as they are organised by third parties and because topics may be relevant to very specific groups of students.

At least once per academic year, students must present their practical work to a jury. This provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate the skills you have mastered as well as your theoretical and practical insights.

Theoretical programme components are assessed separately, usually by means of an oral or a written exam.

The second year of the master's degree cycle is concluded with a thesis on a specific aspect of your major. Together with this thesis, you are required to defend your final conservation/restoration project before a jury consisting of teachers from the training programme, complemented with domestic and foreign experts.

The programme in Conservation Studies produces skilled individuals with very specific competencies. As a graduate from this programme, you will be appreciated within your professional environment, not only for your technical knowledge and expertise, but also for your ability to develop appropriate conservation concepts. As there is currently great demand for highly-skilled conservation experts in Flanders and the rest of Europe, graduates may rest assured that their professional careers will take off very quickly.

Graduates who do not wish to start out professionally immediately may wish to consider a postgraduate or continuing education programme at Hogeschool Antwerpen or elsewhere. Moreover, there are various institutions in Europe that offer doctoral programmes in conservation.

In other words, the possibilities are endless!

Contact Information

Departement Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten
Opleiding Conservatie/Restauratie Speerstraat 12
B-2020 Antwerpen
Tel: +32 3 257 06 68
Fax: +32 3 257 21 53
(This address is valid up until the beginning of July 2002)

Prerequisites for Entry to the 1st Candidature:

In order to be admitted, you must possess a diploma of higher secondary education.

Foreign diplomas and degrees must be recognised as 'equivalent':

The Netherlands: VWO or MBO diploma (min. 4 years) or 'getuigschrift met goed gevolg afgelegd propedeutisch examen'.

France: Diplôme du Baccalauréat

Germany: Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife

Entrance Test 2001-2002:

Wednesday and Thursday, 4-5 July 2001


Monday and Tuesday, 3-4 September 2001

from 9am till 12am and from 2pm till 4.30pm

This test encompasses:

For enrolment and further information, please contact the Secretary's Office of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts:

Mutsaardstraat 31
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel: +32 3 213 71 00
Fax: +32 3 213 71 19

Open on workdays from 9 till 12am

How to Reach the Institute By Public Transport:

From Antwerp Central Station

tram 2: get on at stop 'Diamant', get off at stop 'Schijfwerpersstraat'

bus 27: get on at stop 'Centraal Station', get off at stop 'J. De Voslei'

From Groenplaats bus 25: get on at stop 'Groenplaats', get off at stop 'Schijfwerperstraat'

Berchem Station: bus 290: get on at stop 'Berchem Station', get off at stop 'Abdijstraat'

Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten: tram 7: get on at stop 'Wijngaardbrug', get off at stop 'Harmonie', then change to tram 2

get on at stop 'Harmonie', get off at stop 'Schijfwerperstraat'

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