HKU University of the Arts Utrecht

With around 4000 students, the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht is one of the largest training institutes for culture and the arts in the Netherlands and Europe. HKU University of the Arts Utrecht offers preparatory courses, Bachelors and Masters degrees and research degrees in design, media, games and interaction, music, fine art, theatre and arts management. HKU University of the Arts Utrecht is also actively involved in many other arts-based European networks and initiatives such as ELIA (European League of Institutes of the Arts), AEC (Association Européenne des Conservatoires), CUMULUS (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design & Media), IETM (International network for contemporary performing arts) and ENCATC (European network on cultural management and policy), as well as other networks such as ERRIN (European Regional Research & Innovation Network), EnoLL (European Network of Living Labs) and EnoLL Taskforce on Social Impact of AI, OECD Working Group Creativity & Critical Thinking, COST Action EFAP (European Forum for Advanced Practices), UAS4Europe and many others.

Art offers solutions to the issues facing society. It provides a different perspective on developments within culture, politics, economics, education and science. HKU University of the Arts Utrecht dares to move beyond the traditional boundaries of its own disciplines to other contexts. In so doing, we ensure that our professional practice remains relevant.

Our focus on critically informed creative practices enables us to contribute to developing and shaping meta-cognitive capacities and redefining clusters of skillsets increasingly sought by the work-field. Indeed, our proximity to the work-field allows us to establish and sustain meaningful feedback with the cultural and creative sector, as does our participation in regional Q4 and RIS3 activities.


At HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, the creative process itself is a form of research. It occurs in close collaboration with teaching and the professional field. We see the creative process as an alternative form of knowledge production when developing research questions, methods and outcomes. The research focus lies on making art, media and design, which allows us to take a fresh look at existing processes, to improve or to revitalise them.

At HKU University of the Arts Utrecht we have identified five research areas. These are frameworks rather than strict boundaries, and so one research study could span two research areas. We strive for cohesion and synergy. The research areas don’t have a fixed organisational structure, but each area is linked to one professorship. These cover Creative Processes and their relationship to Multidisciplinarity, Technology, Entrepreneurship , Learning, Methodology and Emerging Research Areas.


HKU has been active in co-ordinating and participating in many pan-European and international projects across many research and innovation themes with a strong focus on instrumentalising crossover innovation. The opportunities for the Cultural & Creative Sector within the Horizon Europe programme are more extensive than ever and HKU University of the Arts Utrecht is interested in contributing to strong proposals and projects in this area. This includes helping Social Sciences & Humanities  initiatives to become more generative and introducing state of the art co-creative approaches based on artistic intelligence and design for emergence in addressing shared societal challenges.

HKU X 2018-09-21 – Mariska Kerpel – 36