A Little Bit of History


Fine Art High Education in Europe is rooted in the rich and diverse regional traditions and specialisms of art practice and pedagogy. It also reflects the constantly expanding field of contemporary art practice and its associated history and theory. There are numerous values and aspirations that Fine Art HE in Europe shares. The choice of the name Paradox reflects this at times awkward relationship between the local and the global.  There is perhaps a paradox about a group that, on one hand constitutes individuals arguing for the right for their courses to be distinctive with their own unique approach, while on the other hand forming a cohesive, strong and (on occasion) united voice.

Paradoxes may seem problematic but they can offer new insights, or throw more light upon old ‘truths’. There are also, of course, many paradoxes built in to the process of teaching Fine Art that make it an ongoing and stimulating challenge and a subject that requires discussion and debate.

In 2006 Paradox members collaborated to write the EU ‘Tuning Document’ that set out to describe the characteristics of Fine Art Higher Education in Europe. This was one way in which Paradox represented the vital role that Fine Art programmes play in the cultural communities of Europe and the wider world. The Tuning Document has since been translated and employed as a guide and discussion paper in a number of countries in Europe. The Tuning Document was implemented at Utrecht School of the Arts, Netherlands. 31st March to 1st. April 2006.


Paradox organises a biennial conference that examines fine art pedagogy, practice and research. It is accompanied by a student residency project for fine art students across Europe.

2009 Transition and Progression in Fine Art Education and Research, Accademia Di Belle Arti, Palermo, Italy

2011 Outside In: The Permeable Art School, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Ireland

2013 The Inheritance: Contesting Legacies in Fine Art Practice, Research and Education, University of Granada, Spain

2015 Alternative Zones: Uncovering the Official and the Unofficial in Fine Art Practice, Research and Education, University of the Arts Poznan, Poland


Links (http://www.elia-artschools.org/elia/partners-and-networks) and other ELIA (http://www.elia-artschools.org/) research projects.