The Department of Animation at the School of Art and Design Kassel seeks to impart students with an appreciation of animation as a distinct form of artistic expression. The Department’s spatial and organisational proximity to the Departments of Fine Art, Graphic Design, New Media and Film is of great assistance and value to this teaching process.
Professors Martina Bramkamp and Thomas Meyer-Hermann, together with their assistants Martin Schmidt and Franka Sachse, are dedicated to providing students with a sound foundation in classical animation skills. Once they have mastered the basics, students are subsequently introduced to the wide range of possibilities offered by more recent developments in the discipline, such as experimental techniques, interactive forms of narration and digital production techniques.
Since its foundation in 1979, the Department of Animation has consciously worked on developing a distinctive culture of producing narrative animated films, initially thanks to the work of Professors Jan Lenica and Paul Driessen. Nowadays, the subject’s main focus is increasingly shifting from the manual techniques of puppet animation and cartoon towards computer animation. Nevertheless, the ability to tell a story with animated pictures bears no relation to the means of technology employed to convey the narrative. Accordingly, the fostering and nurturing of each student’s ability to successfully translate his/her ideas into a convincing narrative is a particular emphasis of the teaching remit at Kassel.
Students at the Department of Animation in Kassel primarily explore the medium by engaging in their own projects. They are encouraged to follow through their ideas from beginning to end, from developing their own storyboards – and translating these into their own pictorial form of artistic expression – to realizing these using the most appropriate means of technology until they have produced a film ready for public viewing. Furthermore, students are actively encouraged to share and discuss their ideas with others and collaborate with one another by pooling their skills and knowledge.
Tuition and support from members of staff in the technical realization of student projects is complemented by seminars and workshops on topics such as the History of Animation, Cinematic Storytelling, Techniques in Animation, Production Methods and the Media Market.
The quality of students‘ resulting project work speaks for itself. Animated films produced by students at Kassel are regularly screened on television and participate in festivals around the world. Their films are often awarded renowned prizes. Two of the puppet animation films produced at the School of Art and Design Kassel have even each won an Oscar: „Balance“ by the Lauenstein Brothers and „Quest“ by Tyrone Montgomery and Thomas Stellmach.