Royal Academy to set up Society of Arts

22 November 2013

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences intends to establish a Society of Arts next year. The new Society will give artists a place to share ideas with professionals in other artistic and scientific disciplines. It will offer them a forum for discussing the role of art in society and the relationship between art and science.

The Society of Arts will also focus on the broader public by organising public meetings. A similar platform for individual artists has been lacking in the Netherlands until now. The Royal Academy is acting in part at the request of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ms Jet Bussemaker. The Society of Arts will have a provisional term of 3.5 years.

The Royal Academy has long-standing ties with the arts; in the nineteenth century, both artists and scientists were members of the Academy for many decades. That is still the case in such countries as Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where the Academies of Arts are clearly valuable to artists and scientists and contribute to the debate on the value of art and culture for society. There are many similarities between the work of researchers and the work of artists. Both are driven by passion, with creativity, curiosity and originality playing a crucial role. The Society of Arts will make such similarities more explicit and help restore the relationship between science and art.

Artists will be selected for membership on their artistic merits, regardless of their discipline. Artists working in literature, the fine arts, design and architecture, film, music and the performing arts in the broadest sense will be eligible for membership. They must have distinguished themselves artistically, be able to connect art, science and society, serve as inspiration for other artists, and be willing to contribute to the new Society of Arts. The Royal Academy will appoint the first twenty members in the new Society’s first year. That number will increase in the years thereafter until there are fifty members. Nominations will be submitted by the publicly funded cultural funds and by members of the Royal Academy. A committee of Royal Academy members will select the members, based on expert recommendations.

The Royal Academy will continue to consult the cultural funds closely and at regular intervals about how the Society of Arts  is developing and how it can support the funds’ own programmes in order to encourage and enhance the relationship between art and other sectors of society.

About the Academy

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences is the forum, conscience, and voice of science and scholarship in the Netherlands. As an independent organisation, the Academy safeguards the quality and interests of science and scholarship and advises the Dutch government. It is also responsible for seventeen institutes whose research and collections put them in the vanguard of Dutch science and scholarship.