Department of Art and Design at Kathmandu University (KU)
The Department of Art and Design at Kathmandu University (KUart) was established in 2003 under its School of Arts to address the dearth of art and design education in Nepal. Over the years, it gradually offered Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) to domestic and international students in Painting, Sculpture, South Asian Art Studies, Art in Education, and Graphic Design. Presently, it offers BFA degrees in Studio Art and Graphic Communication. The major workload is on the studio courses whereas theory and critical courses are designed to strengthen art practices and support the artistic research of individual pupils.
The BFA program is spread over four years with eight semesters. The four years are split into two years of foundation and two for specialization. In the last semester, students prepare a thesis in their areas of interest with mentorship from different experts. Thesis outcomes are displayed during the BFA Exhibition Project which is well-received each year by the art fraternity in Nepal. KUart has played an instrumental role in initiating newer approaches to arts and design education in Nepal. This is where the relevance of the DAAD project comes in, facilitating international and interdisciplinary exposure and qualification.
The students and faculty members have extended their support and contribution to some of the major art events of Nepal like Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) in 2009 and 2012, Photo Kathmandu in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and Kathmandu Triennial (KT) in 2017. The works of many of the faculty members and graduates were selected for KIAFs and KT. Under the direction of Prof Christiane Brosius, Heidelberg University, eight students conducted artistic project for Patis in Patan during Photo Kathmandu 2015.
Beyond the DAAD initiative, and to further strengthen its education in arts and design, KUart regularly collaborate with various international institutions including Gerrit Reitveld Academie, the Netherlands; Korean National University of Arts, Korea; Ecole de Bleue, France, Notre Dame University and California Institute of Arts, the USA. It also regularly invites professors and artists for seminars, lectures, artist-in-residence programmes, studio visits, workshops, and critique sessions.
Since 2022, KUart runs a Master of Fine Arts MFA programme with interdisciplinary curriculum to foster independent research projects. The graduates are offered specializations in Studio Art, Design, Curatorial Practice and Art in Education. The primary goal of the MFA is to support the local art ecosystem by bringing about graduates who demonstrate a deeper understanding of pertinent glocal issues on art and across other disciplines, be critically engaged and strengthen their research in the arts.
KUart also aims to document, archive and avail the materials related to the local arts and other creatives disciplines as there is scarcity of resources. This is another instance where the DAAD emphasis on archiving previously unpublished and difficult to access materials in order to allow more focus on urban transformation in Nepal, India and also learn from Germany.