Founded in 2016, the Arts Academy of the University of Nova Gorica is one of the four academies in Slovenia. It is the first one to be established after 1945, and also the only one outside of Ljubljana. Its educational programme complements the other three establishments, differing from them as being distinctively interdisciplinary – its primary focuses are video, animation, photography and new media art. As a novel educational institution, this academy strives to be an active, not only research- but also production-oriented, academic environment.
The academy is located in the spatial Alvarez Palace in the centre of Gorizia, Nova Gorica's twin town across the Slovenian-Italian border. This provides for an international environment and enables in-depth cross-border cooperation.
Though the academy is relatively new, its programmes are based on two decades of groundwork. Its first emanation was the Famul Stuart School of Applied Arts, an informal programme initiated in 1994 by the artists Rene Rusjan and Boštjan Potokar. It offered a variety of complex study courses in three directions: Ceramics, Sculpture and Restoration; Ambient; and Digital Arts and Practices (including animation, video and film, photography and new media).
In 2008, this establishment got taken under the wing of the University of Nova Gorica and reformed as the School of Arts. Its post-graduate programme Media Arts and Practices was established in 2012 under the auspices of the international, EU-supported Adriart project. In that same year, the school settled at the Alvarez Palace across the border.
Faithful to the initial concept of the Famul Stuart School of Applied Arts, the studies at the academy facilitate both artistic expression as well as engagement in the commercial creative industries environment. It currently offers a bachelor's programme in digital arts and practices and a master's programme in media arts and practices.
The three-year bachelor programme focuses on the film environment, creative industries, and contemporary art via four carrier modules: animated film, video, photography and new media technologies and practices. The master's programme expands on this with two additional modules – contemporary art practices and scenographic spaces. Roughly half of the academy's participants are foreign students.
The academy is very open to international cooperation and the proximity between the towns of Nova Gorica and Gorizia enables various collaborations in the field of youth culture and entertainment. The region boasts two new media art festivals:Pixxelpoint International Festival of Computer Art and In\Visible Cities.
The Adriart project, through which the master's programme has been built, connected several universities from the region which focus on creative industries (from Nova Gorica, Split and Rijeka (HR), Graz (AT), Udine (IT), Sarajevo (BI) and Budapest (HU).
Another project the Arts Academy is involved in is "PAIC – Participatory Art for Invisible Communities" (2016–2018). It involves 4 partners from different EU countries with the ambition to "artistically instigate social change in deprived, alienated, isolated or remote communities".