Admissions now open to inmates of Agder Prison dep. Froland

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It is possible to apply for a transfer to Agder Prison to take part in this programme.

Student pakker sammen (Close)

En av våre studenter pakker sammen for å begynne reisen videre etter kunstakademiet. Vi takker for samarbeidet og er enormt stolte over studenten og utviklingen i hans kunstnerskap de siste årene. Vi gleder oss til å se arbeidene hans stilt ut under Agder Kunstakademis avgangsutstilling på Kunstnernes Hus i november 2023.

Agder Kunstakademi is an autonomous art school in Agder Prison, dep. Froland, based on experimentation and independent thinking. The academy is founded by artists, for the inmates.
Agder Kunstakademi offers a versatile art education consisting of shorter and longer courses. The aim is to provide its students with artistic insight, experiences and tools for personal development and participation in the public sphere. Its programme matches the artistic standard of Norway’s most prominent art schools, set by the professional artists invited to teach and lecture within a wide range of fields, based on their own practices.


Agder Kunstakademi is produced by KORO – Art in Public Space and developed in close dialogue with Agder Prisons directorate and labour operations. Agder Kunstakademi is a relational art project, consisting of an independent, versatile, high-quality art education over the course of three years; from spring 2021 to the end of spring 2023. The art project is initiated by the curators Kristine Jærn Pilgaard and Thora Dolven Balke based on an idea that surfaced during a meeting with Frank Johansen, director of Agder Prison; Berit Johnsen, head of research at KRUS; and Jon Erling Lystad, in charge of the building project for the new prison, representing KDI.

Agder Kunstakademi’s pedagogical model and programming is developed by The Academy Council (Akademirådet), consisting of main artists Hege Nyborg, Dag Erik Elgin and Sverre Gullesen, in addition to the two curators and art teacher in the prison, Solfrid Kjetså. At the end of the project’s three year period, the aim is for Agder Prison to implement the art school into its educational programming.


Agder Kunstakademi is based on collaboration between artists and students. Our educational programme will reflect the individual interests and development of our students, thus allowing for personal growth. Invited guest teachers will use examples from their own and other artists’ practices to introduce subjects, followed by manual, collaborative work, technical training and experimentation. This art education should provide the students with relevant experience for a variety of work situations and roles in society.

Agder Kunstakademi offers a programme of practical and theoretical knowledge within a range of media and techniques. The art academy invites artists who are specialised within everything from painting and drawing to video, sculpture, sound and text. These techniques will not be taught as a curriculum, but will be tied to artistic research and practice. The art academy works together with labour operations in the prison, as well as other departments in the prisons organisational structure including the library, workshops and school. Students plan, execute and install artworks together with the visiting guest teachers. These works will become a permanent collection in the prison. Throughout the semesters, permanent teaching staff closely follows the students’ development, and offer foundational courses, reading groups and group critiques.

Art as a field of study is limitless, without a defined hierarchy between academic and practical knowledge. An art education therefore encourages intellectual work and craftsmanship side by side, crossing many other subjects such as architecture and design, music, philosophy, sociology, science and literature. Agder Kunstakademi requires no specific background knowledge, previous experience or fundamental education from its students. All personal histories and interests are valuable as the starting point for an art practice.


Akademirommet is Agder Kunstakademi’s designated classroom, tailored to the academy’s needs and where teaching and artistic production takes place. The architecture of the classroom is designed and developed by architect Alexander Eriksson Furunes in collaboration with the academy students, to be installed during the first semester, spring 2021. Agder Kunstakademi offers a range of equipment for video, sound, photography and design editing, a print workshop with a Riso printer, a library and gallery wall for student exhibitions. In addition, we will accommodate the use of other artistic materials as needed. During our first year, 2021, we will construct a workshop with tools and means for concrete casting and treatment. The classroom library grows over time, with donations from visiting guest teachers and art institutions like the National Museum in Oslo. All student work and educational material is documented and included in a physical and digital archive.

Agder Kunstakademi’s main art teachers are prison officer Solfrid Kjetså and one of the artprojects main artists, Sverre Gullesen. Sverre is present at the academy for one week every three weeks whilst planning the general programme in collaboration with Solfrid who is with the students on a daily basis. Sverre provides professional guidance to the students artistic development, through one-on-one conversations, group meetings, courses and workshops in theory, history and material understanding within a range of subjects. Due to the ongoing pandemic, most of the courses will be held digitally during the spring semester 2021, with more focus on online studio visits and lectures.