zurich the arts Dance Design Theatre Music Transdisciplinary Studies Fine Arts Art Education Film

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the arts

Transdisciplinary Studies



Art Education

Fine Arts








the arts

Fit for the Future

As one of Europe’s leading arts universities, our teaching and research are oriented towards the cultural and creative sectors. At Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), we bring together under one roof a unique diversity of disci- plines in the arts, design, and education. This diversity enables us to give overarching, cross-disciplinary answers to today’s complex questions.

We build on the longstanding tradition of Zurich as a centre of art and design education, from which many outstanding alumni have emerged since the onset of modernity. Their work and achievements have continued to shape cul-tural and economic life to the present day. History inspires and encourages us to make innovation the measure of what we do, both now and in the future. The many acclaimed members of our teaching faculty and our internationally success-ful graduates bear witness to the continued legacy of this tradition.

Our national and international affiliations ensure high-quality teaching and research. Our manifold partnerships provide our students with networks for their future careers. The close proximity of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and the University of Zurich helps us promote close ties with two of the world’s leading universities. Firmly an- chored in Zurich, we make a substantial contribu-tion to the city’s globally unique quality of life.

Prof. Dr. Thomas D. Meier


The Toni Campus:

Perfect Conditions Under

One Roof

Our new Toni Campus, a former dairy factory, is a vibrant centre for culture, education, science, and society – a project whose dimensions are unique in Europe. The campus is a vision come true: an arts university that brings to- gether all the creative disciplines under one roof.

Our new campus provides optimal in-frastructure and working conditions for art and design studies. The building boasts state-of- the-art classrooms, art and design studios, work-shops, an IT infrastructure developed in close association with teaching needs, and an extensive library housing various specialised archives and collections.

Our concert halls, theatres, exhibition spaces, cinema, and music club provide an attrac-tive setting for presenting our work to the wider public. Following the relocation to Zurich’s thriving western district, we will remain present in the heart of town with the Theatre of the Arts at Gess-nerallee, a popular venue for contemporary theatre. Hosting over 600 public events a year, we make a significant contribution to cultural life in the city and region of Zurich.


Zurich University of the

Arts (ZHdK)

With over 2500 students and 650 teaching staff, Zurich University of the Arts is one of Euro-pe’s largest arts universities. We offer degree and research programmes in design, film, fine arts, music, dance, theatre, and art education on a purpose-built campus designed to provide a truly excellent environment for teaching and learning. Our mission is to prepare young talented in- dividuals for their future careers in the arts and design.


True to this mission, our teaching staff are dedicated to nurturing each student’s artistic and creative development to the utmost. Efforts are guided by the idea that graduates will assume active roles and responsibilities in the cultural and creative industries. Coursework is highly indi-vidualised, designed to make students take responsibility for their own work. Most of our tea-ching staff are practising musicians, artists, or designers who integrate their everyday professio-nal experience into teaching. In addition to our BA and MA programmes, we offer various founda-tion courses and a wide range of further edu- cation courses. We also run several doctoral pro-grammes in cooperation with other universities.



Design education at ZHdK builds the core skills needed to succeed in the highly competitive field of design and pursues interdisciplinary pro -jects aimed at breaking the confines of disci - pline-specific thinking. Seven specialisations are available, each preparing students for a diverse professional field: Cast / Audiovisual Media, Game Design, Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Scientific Visualisation, Style & Design, and Visual Communication. Our consecutive Master’s programme offers five partly overlapping speciali-sations that enable postgraduate students to follow a research-based approach to design.

Film, Theatre, Dance

The Department of Performing Arts and Film offers programmes in the various performing arts. Its BA and MA degree programmes are aimed at equipping future actors, directors, dramaturgs, scenographers, theatre educators, and set designers with the necessary skills to embark on successful careers. The Department provides students with excellent facilities for staging public performances of their work at the University’s Theatre of the Arts.

Dance education at ZHdK includes pro- fessional training in classical academic dance at Zurich Dance Academy (taZ) and, since the autumn of 2014, a Bachelor of Arts in Contem-porary Dance.


Fine Arts

The Department of Art & Media offers program- mes in fine arts, photography, media arts, and theory. It provides BA and MA students with unique opportunities for experimenting with their individual approaches to art, culture, politics, and society. Coursework aims to develop critical authorship. The Department encourages theoretical and research-based work, as well as collaborative ventures with national and inter-national partners.


The Department of Music offers programmes in the creation, teaching, and interpretation of classical music, jazz, and pop. Its two BA and four MA programmes are aimed at training future orchestra and church musicians, orchestra con-ductors and choral concon-ductors, soloists and opera singers, composers and sound engineers, instrument and voice teachers, jazz and pop musicians. Music students offer performances at the University’s own concert halls, at the acclaimed Tonhalle Zurich, and at other public venues.


Art Education,

Transdisciplinary Studies

Our Department of Cultural Analysis specia- lises in art education and in the dissemination of culture to a wider public. Its BA and MA pro- grammes are aimed at equipping future educators, cultural journalists, and exhibition makers with the necessary artistic and teaching skills. The Department also delivers university-wide teaching and research across disciplinary boundaries. The MA in Transdisciplinary Studies explores forms of cooperation beyond the confines of individual artistic disciplines, and the Z+ Platform brings together the respective teaching and research activities. The Department is also home to Zurich’s Museum of Design.


Research at ZHdK means research in the arts, design, and art education. Our research often reaches beyond disciplinary confines and brings together theory and practice, basic and applied research, production and critical reflection. ZHdK research promotes innovation, both within and beyond the University, and plays a decisive role in further enhancing the quality of our teaching.


A Success Story

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is a state university and a separate legal entity. It emerged from various institutions steeped in a long and rich tradition. Since 2007, ZHdK has united under one roof the former School of Art and Design, established in 1878, the Winterthur and Zurich academies of music, founded almost at the same time, the former Jazz School, the Theatre Academy, and the Swiss Professional Ballet School. ZHdK and its precursor institutions boast distinguished alumni and thus have con-tributed significantly to establishing Zurich as a widely acclaimed centre of art and design education. ZHdK graduates remain influential in the creative and cultural industries in Zurich and Switzerland, either in permanent roles at or-chestras or theatres, or in the independent scene. The education offered at ZHdK benefits art and cultural institutions, private and public schools, business and industry, galleries and museums, and the media.


Partnerships and

International Orientation

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) maintains partnerships with over 140 arts universities worldwide. We also have collaborative arrange-ments with many governmental and non- governmental institutions at home and abroad. Our extensive network helps us promote international cooperation and exchanges in tea-ching and research. Along with exchange pro-grammes and partnerships with higher education institutions and universities, we have manifold contacts with museums, theatres, and other cul-tural institutions, both in Zurich and beyond: Tonhalle Zurich, Zurich Opera House,

Schauspiel-haus, Kunsthaus Zurich, museums, galleries, and so forth. On a national level, we closely co-operate with other Swiss arts universities and various other universities.

Museum of Design

The Museum of Design is also part of the Uni-versity. Its design, graphics, poster, and applied art collections enjoy great international acclaim. It is the leading museum for design and visual communication in Switzerland and one of Zurich’s most-visited museums. As part of Zurich University of the Arts the Museum is actively involved in education, teaching and research in the areas of design and visual commu-nication. Bringing together its four collections in the Schaudepot (Open Collections) at the new location on the Toni-Areal has created a centre of excellence for design and visual com-munication of European significance.



Zurich University of the Arts

Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 96, CH-8005 Zürich rektorat@zhdk.ch, +41 43 446 46 46




the arts

Imprint Published by:

Zurich University of the Arts, © 2014 Concept, Editing, Design, Pictures: Communication ZHdK

Credits (inside, left to right): 03 © Andreas Zihler 04 © Jasper Granderath 12 © Pat Bromilow-Downing





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