A press release of the Freeszfe Society
European universities expected to save degrees of Theatre Arts University students
Emergency Exit scheme organized by Freeszfe Society
Students of the University of Theatre and Film Arts will not have to resign to losing their education and degree, even if they do not wish to continue their studies at the university due to the method it has been reorganized last summer. Five European universities have offered to take over altogether 150 students, recognizing the courses they have completed and the work they will conduct with their teachers in future. An internal survey has shown intense interest in the opportunity, and talks are ongoing with other universities to enroll even more students.
The Freeszfe Society has been working on its Emergency Exit diploma-saving programme for months. Within that programme, the association has concluded agreements with the Salzburg Mozarteum University, the Academy of Performing Arts Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany, the Warsaw Theatre Arts University and its puppetry faculty in Bialystok and Switzerland’s Accademia Teatro Dimitri to take over 14 former SZFE classes. The exact number of transferring students will be
known once all individual student contracts have been signed.
Although the universities employ various administrative solutions, the aim is the same: they want to offer an escape route to students who doubt freedom of education and autonomy of the creative process are ensured at SZFE, in view of the method the university was reorganized in 2020. They
mostly offer a special status to these students, by registering the Freeszfe Society, which is not accredited for educational activities, as a partner institution conducting education-related activities and by recognizing its courses and exams in their credit system. The results of the courses – films,
performances and final theses – will be mostly evaluated by a joint committee of the university and teachers of the association. Most of the classes carry on with their studies within the Emergency Exit programme starting in the 2021 spring semester. During the semester, nearly 70 students from outside Budapest and across the borders will be housed with the help of the Central European University (CEU).
As the pandemic situation deteriorated in Hungary, the association converted to digital education:
the courses are held online, and projects are being developed without personal contact. When the restrictions are lifted, they will return to temporary rehearsal rooms and studios, as the association is
still looking for a building it could use as a base. Donations received during the university’s blockade last autumn and since are being used to rent buildings, equipment and to produce productions for exams. Teachers’ salaries and the students’ social benefits or grants will be disbursed once the association’s revenues and the members’ sponsorship make it possible.
+36 30 012 3103
Declaration of solidarity of E:UTSA with the University of Theater and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE)
With great concern we look at the latest development in Hungary’s cultural and educational landscape. A board of trustees appointed by the government has taken over the management powers of the Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) and abolished the university’s autonomy. In this way, Viktor Orbán´s government is taking another decisive step toward eliminating critical positions and transforming the Hungarian cultural and educational landscape into an instrument for propagating folkish nationalism. At the same time, with this autocratic and undemocratic approach it is moving further away from European fundamental rights.
We are extremely concerned about the elimination of the democratically elected organs of the SZFE and emphasize the non-negotiable freedom in art, science and teaching, which is a cornerstone of European self-conception. A concept of art and education oriented towards nationalism, on the other hand, definitely needs to be put on the scrap heap of the disastrous history of the 20th century.
We express our solidarity with the students, the resigned teachers, the resigned rectorate and the resigned senate of the Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) and demand the unrestricted restoration of the university’s autonomy.
We expect the governments of all EU countries to exert pressure on the Hungarian government and to return all its powers to the governing bodies.
Prof. Jochen Schölch (Chair)
June 22nd – 24th 2020
The Idea was born during a General Assembly in Glasgow where E:UTSA members
learned about RCS’s unique BA performance in BSL and English programme for D/deaf
people interested in becoming professional Actors. „It aims to enrich the talent pool in
the UK, whilst making training available to D/deaf artists.“ A programme such as this
one should receive attention beyond the realms of the united Kingdom. Therefore Claire
Lamont, Head of the BA Programme and Prof. Regina Guhl from the Drama department
of the University of Music, Drama and Media in Hanover (HMTMH) decided to start a
multilingual cooperation. Acting Students of both courses will work together to create
theatre, using both acoustic and signed language.
This project will be dissiminated to a a broad audience of students and teachers from 20
drama universities and academies.
The Cooperation is financed by the Ministry of Culture of Lower Saxony, Germany