State of the Bologna-Process in Germany

Where are we in 2007? Where will we be in 2010?

Author: Matthias Knaut,
Course in Conservation and Restoration / Field Archaeology FHTW Berlin
University of Applied Sciences Berlin

Background

The Bologna-Process to reach a »United European Higher Educational Space« that includes a »United European Research Space« has touched conservation-restoration education programmes in the German speaking community when for the first time at Bern, Switzerland in the year 2004 the course was defined in modules and shortly after Hildesheim was the first programme in Germany to transform its eight semester »Diplom« course into a six semester bachelor course with the option for a consecutive master course in conservation-restoration.1 Everyone in the universities and throughout the profession had to face the fact that we in Germany, Austria and Switzerland would not be released from the upcoming trend to undergo this transformation, and that the process is speeding up in the second half of the process period – ending in 2010, as the ministers of the involved European states had decided in 1999. Having this in mind our discussions during our yearly university meetings where still filled with arguments about »not to hurry in this process« or »to try to avoid the transformation« or »to stick to the well established Diplom degree« which we have taught for years.

Looking back, I think while doing so, we have lost pretty much time for a closer cooperation and exchange between the schools, and we could have tried to face the challenges together and look for the advantages and try to minimise the disadvantages. As a result, and due to the fact that every German state and every university is highly independent in it's decisions on higher educational programmes, we have produced a friendly spoken »multifaceted« image of a higher education landscape with a broad range of rather different decisions on more or less closely related or even similar subjects.

Regarding our courses now, my impression is that we did not get any further to invent a more united or easier and more transparent system for studying conservation-restoration in Central Europe. But I fear to say that this is also true in comparison with all our neighbours in Europe and beyond!

Where are we in 2007?

On the 30th of November 2006 our last annual meeting of the German speaking universities with conservation-education courses took place at the Institute of Conservation at Cologne. The discussion focussed again on the Bologna transformation process. The situation in 2007 (Table 1) shows two main streams. As described above most of the Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen) are in the process or starting with the transformation. The Bachelor courses are running at Berlin, Bern, and Hildesheim. They are ready to start in 2007 at Mainz, Cologne, and maybe, it was not quite clear yet, at Erfurt also. Potsdam and Munich are in the planning process but do not have or give a clear deadline.2

University/ Academy

BA/MA duration semesters

Grades

Transition to BA/MA

Modules

ECTS

Remarks

Berlin

7/3

BA Cons-Rest
MA Cons-Rest

2006
2010

+

+

accredi­tation by ACQUIN 07

Bern, CH

6/4

BA UAS Prev Cons
MA UAS Cons-Rest

2005
?

+

+

accredi­tation by?

Cologne

6/4

BA Rest/Cons MA Rest/Cons

2007
2010

+

+

accredi­tation by AQAS 07 

Dresden

10

Diplom

+

+

 

Erfurt

6/4

BA Cons-Rest
MA

2007

+

+

accredi­tation by ACQUIN 

Hildesheim

6/4

BA Prev Cons
MA Rest

2004
2005

+

+

accredi­tation by ZeVa 06 

Mainz

6/4

BA Arch Rest
MA Rest (planned)

2007
?

+

+

accredi­tation by ACQUIN 07 

Munich

10

Diplom

2009/10

 

Potsdam

8

Diplom

(planned)

+

+

 

Stuttgart

10

Diplom

 

Vienna, A Angewandte

10

Magister

 

Vienna, A Bildende

10

Magister

 

 

Table 1 State of Bologna process in the German speaking universities of Central Europe, after the university meeting at Cologne, November 2006. The table displays consecutive BA and MA courses in conservation-restoration only. Other MA courses for further education are not included here (i.e. Hildesheim, Stuttgart).

It is still a major dispute throughout our European scientific community whether a Bachelor degree should be the first academic graduation for a conservator/restorer. It was decided to do so at Berlin, Cologne, and Mainz and to call the graduates Bachelor Conservators/Restorers; and the consecutive Master course will lead to a Master of Arts in Conservation-Restoration. Bern and Hildesheim decided to call the Bachelor graduate a »Preventive Conservator« and only the Master (M.A.) a Conservator/Restorer. How Potsdam and Erfurt will finally decide is not clear yet. The pending question for all our institutes is if they will be able and get the funding from their authorities to provide consecutive master courses after their bachelor course. One example of this is the T.E.I of Athens, Greece; a rather large institute which is currently unable to provide a master course.

I have heard rumours but I am not sure, that Potsdam will not have a specialised master course in conservation-restoration, but a master course for architects and conservators in buildings conservation in a broader sense. A case like this could be the worst case in the process, that universities due to financial reasons cut one or another programme after the bachelor and do not finance a consecutive master course with the result that our rich academic »landscape« in conservation-restoration education will suffer a blood drain that will affect many other fields as well such as co-operation and applied research projects with other partners in our field, etc.

The table (table 1) shows that, as far as we know now, the art academies at Dresden and Stuttgart, and also our two hosting institutions here in Vienna, Austria, are far from that. Their aim is to transform their ten semester Magister or Diplom courses into direct consecutive Master courses without a first graduation as Bachelor of Arts.

To describe the new situation between the different types of academic institutions, be it Universities, Academies or Fachhochschulen, politicians use the expression »Equivalent but different« (dt.: Gleichwertig aber andersartig). It shall describe the situation that via the Bologna-Process we will have a three step academic graduating system everywhere in Europe and beyond, which will be open for all graduates of all types of universities (Hochschulen) as we will further call them all.3

The discussion in Germany and in the European organisations ENCoRE and E.C.C.O., if a B.A. graduate in Conservation-Restoration should be able and allowed to work as a professional is just right now separating the community. But here is not the place and the space to explain the pro's and con's of that discussion in more detail. You can imagine the struggle and argument going on in this situation especially when you look from the perspective of the ones who are at the beginning of their Bachelor studies, and those who have successfully passed 4 year Diplom courses until today.

Looking into some details of the Berlin Programme

Let me describe some facts of the new bachelor, and the following master courses, which started at FHTW Berlin in October 2006.

Terms/Semester

Diplom C-R

B.A. C-R /
M.A. C-R

Terms/Semester

1.

Basic studies
(Grundstudium)

Basic study
(Basisstufe)

1.

2.

2.

3.

Specialization study
(Spezialisierungsstufe)

3.

4.

Specialization study
(Hauptstudium)
(+ placement semester)

4.

5.

Deepen study
(Vertiefungsstufe)
(+ placement phase)

5.

6.

6.

7.

Bachelor of Arts

7.

8.

Diplom

1. Master course

8.

9.

 

2. Master course

9.

10.

 

3. Master of Arts

10.

Table 2 Comparison of the transformation of the course at FHTW Berlin

Table 2 shows the major changes of the system. They have caused a concentration of the course programme and a minor shortage of time as thought before. We offer four specialisations. Three in conservation-restoration of Archaeological-Historical Objects, Modern Materials and Industrial Heritage, and Audiovisual and Photographic Materials, and one in Field Archaeology. The four specialisations are linked in two groups, i.e. older and newer cultural history, art, and archaeology. Besides that division conservation-restoration courses and projects form the main clamp and link between the different conservation specialisations. The annual take-in is 40 Students. Modules as the structuring element of the programme are based on the idea of a workload of 30 h for one credit point in the framework of ECTS. This results in an overall workload per student of around 900 h per semester or 1.800 h a study year.

We try to gather groups of different specialisations in some of the courses to gain a better use of the lectures provided. So usually course groups do not exceed a number of 20 students, and in the specialised courses and the projects not more than ten. The total course programme is led by the principle of regular practical conservation-restoration project work in each semester that covers 40 to 50% of the student's time. We decided to stick to a 9 week (minimum) external placement phase in Germany or abroad in the first half of the 5th semester. This causes an extension of our Bachelor programme to seven semesters – 3.5 years. Our aim is to keep all core competencies in the bachelor course to enable the graduates to go out into the profession with a sound basis of knowledge and skills.4

The consecutive master course therefore lasts three semesters, 1.5 years only. Special lectures in natural science, materials science, cultural history/archaeology, and conservation-restoration ethics and methodology guide the projects of master students. They will work on specific topics and objects which lead into the master work and thesis. This course will start in 2010 when the first Bachelors graduate form our course. We are aiming for an earlier start of the consecutive master course, but we do not know yet if it will be possible. Our new premises, laboratories, and conservation studios are the ideal basis for our plans. Since September 2006 we have moved to the new »Campus Wilhelminenhof« in the south-east of Berlin, on the area of former AEG / KWO cable producing plant.

FHTW Berlin building A2 »Campus Wilhelminenhof«.
The course Conservation-Restoration / Field Archaeology is located on
the ground floor of the building. The Campus will be restored and extended
until 2009 for 6.000 students of engineering and technical courses (Foto: Knaut).

Prof. Dr. Matthias R. Knaut,
Course in Conservation and Restoration / Field Archaeology,
FHTW Berlin, Campus Wilhelminenhof

We have space and well equipped working places for all our students. As one example a high and spacious workshop hall provides more then enough room for a mobile broadcasting truck (LG 3000 Mercedes Benz – DTM Berlin) from World War II. where more then 15 students are working simultaneous. We call it the »Studio for large objects of industrial heritage«.

Advantages of modularisation

Due to the accreditation regulations soon all these courses will have full scale module data bases at hand either as printed volumes and / or on their university internet sites. So we all, like our students will be able to look at the structure and content of the offered courses. At the same time we will then know how high the work load for the academic and practical course work is allocated, and in the end how many credits one gains for the work done. From now on every graduate can show a »transcript of records« and a »Diploma supplement« which show all the details of the course including the courses and projects and the background of the institution where he or she has studied.

It would be an interesting task for the schools to exchange and evaluate the content and workload of their modules to find out how far they are compatible or not. It would help all students to know, how far their credits in courses are valued as equal performance in different schools. This could be a real advantage for students exchange in our conservation community.

Outlook

Some developments are predictable for the remaining time until the goal of the Bologna-Process is reached in 2010.

All governments and universities tend to push their institutes to transform the courses rapidly because Germany wants every federal state to fulfil the signed treaties. In Berlin we have contracts with our ministry to finalize the process in 2008! So it is only a question of time that the other ones will follow until 2010. If the academies hope and think that they can slip off the running train–maybe politicians will not interfere or care due to the small numbers of students per year and the exclusive status that art academies have reached. But from my point of view this is only a sideway and not the mainstream of the European development. Recently I read an interview of Prof. Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, in »Kunstzeitung« (126, February 2007, p. 21) an art magazine in Germany, that he is convinced that also the art academy courses should be transformed to the consecutive B.A. and M.A. graduation. He argued with the better and clearer structure of the B.A. programmes and pointed out »the old masterclass is terminated«.

We will have a range of further education master courses which can be followed on a direct consecutive way, and I think more programmes in a distance learning format with presence phases for practicing conservators/restorers who cannot give up their jobs although they want to take part in further education and to reach higher academic grades.5

In 2010 all German conservation courses will be transformed and the great majority of students will graduate as Bachelors first and then chose if they either find a job first or carry on with their Master studies aiming maybe for a Ph. D. as highly specialized researchers in conservation-restoration. It is likely that on the long run we will not have as many M.A. courses in conservation-restoration as we have now as Diplom courses.6

It will be a question of serious co-operation in Germany and Europe as »Equivalent but different« institutions and partners to further our conservation-restoration students to struggle and long for the highest, the third academic grade as Ph. D. in conservation sciences. We have to provide these possibilities and the support for the best of our graduates regardless from which type of school they come. We should not take the right of Ph.D. studies as an exclusive privilege for one or the other institute. In the light of history we are responsible as well to share this for the benefit of our profession. If we do so in a shared understanding of real co-operation and not confrontation we can strengthen the science of conservation as an important discipline on the same level with other partner disciplines in the field of cultural heritage preservation.

What should the WG Education and Training aim for?

Until today neither ENCoRE (also the CONBEFOR publication does not!) nor our ICOM -CC Working Group Education and Training was able to collect simple basic facts and data of all academic courses in conservation-restoration provided by universities worldwide. If we keep it updated on a regular annual basis we have easy access to all information needed, also for our students, and will be enabled to recognise changes and developments. This could further networks and discussion between lecturers, students and directors and partnership between the institutes on a transparent and regular basis.

Prof. Dr. Matthias R. Knaut
Course in Conservation and Restoration /
Field Archaeology
FHTW Berlin
Campus Wilhelminenhof
Wilhelminenhofstraße 76 / 77, A 2
D-12 459 Berlin, Germany
E-Mail: m.knaut@fhtw-berlin.de
Tel.: +49 30 5019 2150

Anmerkungen

  1. The author has given some short papers recently in Germany on that subject:
    – M.Knaut, Ausbildungsdauer ist nicht Ausbildungsniveau, in: VDR Bulletin 2/ 2006, S. 15 – 17.
    – M.Knaut, Stand des Bologna Prozesses im deutschsprachigen Raum, in: VDR Bulletin 1/ 2007, 18 – 19
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)
  2. I have searched the web pages of the universities of Erfurt, and Potsdam on Saturday, 7th of April 07, without new or other information
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)
  3. Described in the article of R. Larsen, A. Bacon, and J. Caen (German translation by M.Knaut ), ENCoRE – Das europäische Netzwerk für Konservierungs-Restaurierungs-Ausbildung, in: VDR Bulletin 1/2003, 101 – 105 (including citation of all relevant documents)
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)
  4. We have orientated our discussions on competencies, knowledge and skills on different publications like the EU »Dublin descriptors« or published decrees of the »German Culture Ministers Conference« (in German: KMK – to be found under this abbreviation in the internet). Our professional organisation VDR (Federation of Restorers) has provided in 2006 a »Competency catalogue« (on the VDR homepage also in English) which is very useful as a tool and guideline in the discussion and for the accreditation process with external evaluators.
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)
  5. The Conservation-Restoration programme at FHTW Berlin is currently planning a distance learning Master Course for graduate conservators, B.A. or Diplom, who are employed or freelance working and want to achieve a higher university degree (Postgradualer Masterfernstudiengang Konservierung und Restaurierung). It will be a three year, six semester, MA programme with around 15 Modules, 90 credits, including the Master work, thesis, and examination. The practical conservation-restoration project modules will be part of the professional daily work of the candidates. The fee of the programme will be around 2.500,– to 3.000,– Euro per year. The intake will be 15 to max. 20 candidates. We will have more information in autumn 2007.
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)
  6. Today most of the conservators that long for further qualification go into different kinds of »Heritage Master Programmes« which are offered by universities such as the University Viadrina at Frankfurt/ Oder, the TU Berlin, and best known the University of Bamberg. They offer on the same hand the possibility of (feasible) Ph.D studies which has been successfully used by some German conservators to gain a Ph.D. for their academic qualification. It is interesting to recognise that these Ph.D.'s are also not in conservation-restoration but in other neighbour disciplines as heritage studies. Although we have with the Academies at Dresden and Stuttgart, as well as the LMU Munich three institutions in Germany which have the right to confer a Doctor degree in conservation-restoration.
    (Zurück zur Textstelle)

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