ARTES LIBERALES is an annual program held in Minsk (Belarus), which is aimed at underlining the important role of humanities (liberal arts education) in the process of evoking creative and civic energy of democratic communities.

The program includes intellectual discussions about contemporary education, art and humanities, also exhibitions of art works, and presentations of books, video projects and other initiatives.

The classes are given by specialists from the fields of media, design, psychology, philosophy, history, law, photography, sociology and other disciplines. The events are held in Contemporary Art Gallery “Ў” and are free of charge and open to a wide audience.

The first round of EHU ARTES LIBERALES events took place in May 2012, the second one – in February 2013, the third one – in February 2014, and the fourth in March 2015. You can read and follow the information about upcoming events on our ARTES LIBERALES Facebook page.

What is Artes Liberales?

ARTES LIBERALES is an ancient name for knowledge complex, which has to be learned by a free citizen. In the Middle Ages liberal arts, which were divided into Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics) and “art of numbers” – Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music), were seen as an eternal basis for university education. Wherein, “art” was understood less like artistic excellence, but more like “applied science” – the means of world’s cognition, based on developed logical thinking and systematically organized knowledge; and the notion “artista” referred to, primary, the student learning liberal arts.

Nowadays the notion of “liberal arts”, as a rule, refers to a whole complex of humanities. Nevertheless, in contemporary social cultural and economic situation (which is characterized by the dusk of classical university educations and its values), the space and possibilities to study “liberal arts” are rapidly shrinking. Logic and ideology of “free market” dictates a pragmatic choice in favour of narrow specialisations – with the possibility of fast conversion of symbolic educational capital to a real one. In these conditions the choice in favour of humanities and studying “liberal arts” as the first education necessary for becoming an autonomous and free personality with a university degree is seen as a challenge, as a symbolic protest – against market dictatorship, “deafness of specialisations” and preponderance of technocratic thinking; furthermore – as a manifestation of economically unjustified “behaviour” in favour of selfless love for art…

But do we have the right to suppose, that inextricable (as it seemed for ages) connection between word and image, between art and humanities, between scientific cognition and artistic ways of learning the world, – in a word, everything, that served as a foundation for classic university education and provided the width of outlook and the depth of thought – is lost forever? And is it actually so? To whom and how studying “liberal arts” can be useful? How are value priorities of “knowledge society” and economic efficiency of “creative industries” connected to cultural tradition and thought of humanities? What are the consequences of rapprochement of classic liberal arts education and digital culture? What does differentiate “liberal arts” from “intellectual supermarket”, offered to the Internet and us by television? Which role is played by optics of humanities in research of various social and cultural phenomena? And finally, how can art help to visualise and articulate socially important problems? These questions and many other ones are attempted to be answered by our project.

Thereby, ARTES LIBERALES is an artistic and educational experiment, aimed at comprehension of “use” of humanities and necessity of studying liberal arts in contemporary social, cultural and economic situation.

ARTES LIBERALES is a festival of ideas and art-projects, created by young people studying “liberal arts” and seeking personal interpretation of various events and phenomena of surrounding us reality in artistic and media form.

ARTES LIBERALES is a cycle of open and exciting lections, workshops, discussions and round tables, involving best professors and lecturers from Belarus and Europe; wherein, the program of project academic events covers all the space of humanities: from theory to history of visual arts, gender problematics, art-critics and media theory to religion, cultural heritage and philosophy.

In fact, the space of the gallery “Ў” (the space of Ў-topia and heterotopia at once) for three weeks is turning into the field of “open university” – accessible for each and every one. Acquaintance with traditions and newest tendencies in the field of various social disciplines of humanities is offered through the synthesis of intellectual practices and artistic projects.

All events will be accompanied by expositions of art-objects, video films, animation artworks and dj- and vj-programs.