The Foundation Year of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a general formative year. It offers a broad and coherent programme in which all subjects are compulsory. During the Foundation Year, you will be introduced to various professional disciplines. You will receive a lot of assignments; it is an intensive year in which you will spend five days a week working at the academy. In order to complete this year successfully, you must have an adventurous, receptive and inquisitive attitude. A critical eye and the willingness to cooperate with others are also essential for optimal participation in the programme.
The focus of the programme is on becoming intensively acquainted with numerous views, concepts and working methods, to provide a foundation for working independently and autonomously as an artist or designer. You will work on the basis of assignments. The purpose of these assignments is to help you on your way and to encourage you to use your talents in the most concentrated and focused way possible. In order to be able to make a well-founded choice of specialisation, you will be introduced to the different departments and workshops in the course of the year. Course results are tested twice a year on the basis of a small presentation of your work. Written or verbal tests are taken for the theoretical part of the study programme. At the end of the foundation year, you and your lecturers will determine whether a sufficient foundation has been laid to pursue the study programme. Sometimes students will be advised to retake the foundation year with different lecturers and thus with different assignments. Students may also sometimes be given the binding advice to discontinue the study programme. Occasionally, students may be encouraged to transfer to an academy that emphases different subjects.
Drawing is an important skill, which enables us to look at things more closely, put down thoughts and ideas, gather sources and express our imagination. Drawing forms the basis of all the disciplines. Every conceivable drawing and painting medium is used.
The three-dimensional form is the main focus in this discipline. Attention will be paid to work in relation to space, time, volume and motion, and the expression thereof using mouldable materials.
These classes address all stages of the design process, such as assignment and problem analysis, and idea development and execution. Subjects covered include: Clothing/Textile, Jewellery/Household Objects, Furniture/Tools, House/Environment, Text/Language, Translation/Communication. Attention will also be paid to design research.
The use of every conceivable technique, such as photography, audio visual media and installations, is addressed in the Mixed Media classes. It is an interdisciplinary subject that combines the various techniques. You must use one medium or more when carrying out the assignments. A lot of attention and time will be spent on reflection of your own and other people’s work. The class lasts all day and the lecturer is also the mentor.
Theory classes are held on the same day each week, with part of the day taught by the theory mentor. The subjects covered include art history and contemporary art theory. Theory classes include the Studium Generale, a programme of lectures and films by theory or guest lecturers. For more info go to Studium Generale
At the beginning of each academic year, an excursion is organised for all basic-year students. This is an important part of the programme, aimed at helping the students get to know one another and reinforcing the mutual bond. The Basic Year also organises the January Project each year, in which all students and lecturers take part. The January Project is based on a general theme, and the final presentation takes place during the Open Day at the end of January. The first year at the Rietveld Academie also includes regular visits to museums, exhibitions and symposiums.