'The English master has given me a more international view of the art world'

Doing an English master studies in the Dutch city of Utrecht. It might be an unusual choice for a Dutch student, but Stefan Cammeraat would recommend it to anybody. As the only Dutch student in the two-year English Master of Fine Art, he has boosted his English language skills as well as his international network. ‘And both will be very valuable in the future.’

'The English master has given me a more international view of the art world'

For Stefan, the decision to do his master in English was actually quite logical. ‘The language is widely spoken in the professional field, so I was already used to communicating in English almost daily. I first looked at other Fine Art masters across the border, but they mostly stick to the traditional crafts. The master at HKU is much more focused on the research aspect, on exploring the philosophical questions through art. I felt much more attracted to that.

Apart from developing his language skills, Stefan also values the many international contacts. He mentions studying with a foreign press photographer and a fellow student who developed the app for Marktplaats (the largest online auction site in the Netherlands). ‘It is very inspiring to work with so many diverse people. From their different backgrounds, they can offer me wholly different perspectives on my work. And meanwhile my network is getting both larger and more international. I would not have that advantage with a Dutch master.’

Contacts with fellow artists

Stefan graduated in 2015 at HKU for his Bachelor Fine Art and initially entered the work field right away. But he quickly felt he was missing social contacts. ‘I wanted to start working to find out if I could handle the career of an artist. But being an artist also means that you mostly work in solitude.’ Cammeraat wanted to share and discuss his ideas with fellow artists as well. ‘As an artist, you mostly receive feedback from clients and friends, which was mostly positive. What I missed, were the opinions from lecturers and other art students. Their feedback is usually much more constructive, motivating you to think more deeply about your work.

Different perspectives

Cammeraat is also satisfied about the classes. Such as the visits to the various archives to learn how you should handle source material, or the walking tours where students went on a group exploration of the local art history. He also mentions the course Share Your Practice, where he worked with students from the masters Scenography and Music and Technology. ‘Here we gave short presentations of our work. This led to very valuable feedback, because students from other masters have a completely different view on art.

Never-ending art

For his graduation project, Stefan is now working on an installation that offers a horror experience. ‘It’s a device that lets you feel the presence of a ghost by transmitting a low-frequency sound. You cannot hear it, but you do feel the vibrations. The installation can cause windows and doors, for example, to vibrate. Quite a scary feeling.’ Stefan has also programmed about 50 fluorescent tubes and wrote a script for the installation. It is meant as an open-ended project; there is no clear end point and new elements will constantly be added. ‘Formerly, I always worked towards a point of completion of my projects. But thanks to the HKU Master of Fine Art, I now realise that it’s much more important to focus on the why behind your work and the discussion that it provokes. Since then, I’ve adopted a new and different approach to my work.’