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The School of Sound joins consortium to form the European Master of Arts in Sound (EMAS)



The European Master of Arts in Sound (EMAS) will become the first European Joint Masters degree for Sound created by a consortium of European universities, film schools, art schools and arts organisations. Created by a consortium of European universities, film schools, art schools and arts organisations, the overall aim of the course is to produce practitioners to work in the creative industries, who are not only highly skilled but also individual, creative, critically aware, innovative and professional in their approach. By producing graduates with these attributes, EMAS will fulfill its objective to enable people who have something ‘to say’ to communicate effectively with their audience.

What is EMAS?

EMAS is a two-year MA in Sound, an intensive education in the creative potential of sound both of itself and as part of a multi media practice. The innovative curriculum emphasises the development of creative practice alongside technical craft and embraces research as essential in supporting self and creative development.

Currently a steering group is developing the curriculum with the support of the European Commission The group comprises members from Aalto University, Finland; Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie, Netherlands; ENSATT, France; Festival International du Film d’Aubagne, France; Flanders International Film Festival, Belgium; ifs internationale filmschule köln, Germany; KASK and Conservatory/School of Arts Ghent, Belgium; and The School of Sound, UK.

Why is it needed?

Sound is at the heart of our perception of the world. It defines and clarifies our experience in time and space. It is both informative and affectual – sound can give us information but, more importantly, sound makes us feel, physically and emotionally.

While there are countless courses teaching how to interpret visual information, from medieval painting to modern advertising, sound is a relatively unexplored field of study. And, although academic studies do explore the theoretical and conceptual sides of audio production, sound is generally considered a technical, rather than aesthetic, subject. EMAS aims to address this imbalance through an integration of practice and theory continuously fed by theoretical, critical and conceptual thinking. In this way, it will teach sound as a discipline in itself as well as in relation to screen production, dance, theatre, radio, architecture and other arts and media.

We strongly believe that this can be achieved most effectively as a joint degree, taking full advantage of the diversity of research and working practices across Europe and assimilating them into one educational program. This collaboration between European schools, creative industries and professional practitioners and artists will address the need for new skills – both technical and creative – demanded by rapid technological, economic and social developments. By combining research and education in this unique curriculum we will enable graduates to flourish within this creative and technological evolution.

Additionally, the EMAS curriculum encourages mobility within Europe by requiring the students to study at one of the partner schools or with an associated artist or practitioner. This form of international education stimulates new creative thinking while encouraging more job opportunities for graduates on the European labour market. Likewise, the teachers benefit through interaction with a much more diverse group of students as well as with a broader circle of educators than they would normally experience.

Who is EMAS for?

Our target group is artists, creators and professional practitioners who want to develop their knowledge and skills in sound. We will welcome applications from anyone already using sound or interested in exploring the field of sound to incorporate it into their artistic practice.

Students will be selected first and foremost on their creative abilities, coupled with a passion for their chosen medium. Technical abilities are important, but providing there is a good level of basic competence these skills can be taught. Recent graduates, experienced professionals or those without a formal academic background will all be welcome as we look for a diverse group of students who can learn together and inspire one another.

The strength of EMAS is that students can access the expertise of different institutes and exchange ideas on a European level. Students will have the possibility to develop their own projects within a multicultural environment, providing them with fundamental insights into the diversity of European thinking. Even though the course will be taught in English, the variety of European philosophic and artistic traditions is at the heart of this MA.

When does it begin?

The EMAS partners are now developing the curriculum and working out the details of the joint degree. A starting date for the course will be finalised in the coming months with September 2016 our current target.

Our website is now online to disseminate information about EMAS and our progress with the curriculum.

If you would like to be kept informed about EMAS and receive periodic newsletters, send your name, your organisation’s name and email address, to

Larry Sider



Partner organisations and their representatives

Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland

Pietari Koskinen

Professor of Practice, Film Sound Design, Department of Film, Television and Scenography. Multiple award-winning sound designer in feature films, documentaries and animation for 24 years.

Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie

Ben Zijlstra

Studied mechanical engineering followed by sound and camera at the Netherlands Film Academy. Worked free-lance for 17 years in documentary and feature film: sound recording, sound editing, sound design and mixing. From 2001 until present: Head of Sound Design at the Netherlands Film Academy, developed the sound design curriculum from scratch with emphasis on ‘team teaching’ and ‘sound as storytelling tool’.

Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre (ENSATT), France

Daniel Deshays

Sound explorer and recorder for theater, cinema and music for 40 years. Teacher in National schools and for professional lifelong education. Coordinator of the Dept. of Sound Conception in ENSATT since 1992. Lecturer since 1989. Writer of essays about “sound writing”: De L’écriture Sonore, 1999, publisher Entre-Vues, Marseille; Pour une Ecriture du son, 2006, Entendre le Cinéma, 2010, publisher Klincksieck, Paris.

Festival International du Film d’Aubagne (FIFA), France

Samya Papasoff

In charge of international relations and artistic adviser for FIFA. After studying in management and administration of arts in Canada and France, she worked in press relations for the Festival International du Jazz de Montréal/Francofolies de Montréal/Montreal HightLights Festival (2009-2010) and as a communication and partnership assistant for Jazz des 5 continents, Marseille (2011).

Ghent International Film Festival, Belgium

Valerie Dobbelaere

The Festival started in 1974 and has developed into one of Europe’s foremost film events. In 1985 it introduced the innovative theme, ‘The Impact of Music on Film’, focusing the international film competition on the importance of film music and sound design and organising a series of film music concerts and seminars with guests such as Ennio Morricone, Georges Delerue, Nicola Piovani, etc. The World Soundtrack Academy and the annual World Soundtrack Awards, launched in 2001, has intensified our focus on the importance of film music. &

ifs, internationale filmschule köln, Germany

Su Nicholls-Gärtner

Su started her career on international film sets in Vancouver, Canada then moved to Germany in 1993. Here she became an editor for film and television. She has taught at the RTL School for Journalism and the ifs internationale filmschule köln and since 2001 has worked there as Head of Editing Picture & Sound. In July 2012 she will take over the position of Head of Studies.

Andre Bendocchi-Alves

Andre studied and fell in love with film at the USP University in Sao Paulo, Brasil. Since 1988 he has worked on many award winning films such as Lisbon Story, Smilla Sense of Snow and Picco. He has been a member of the German Film Academy and the EFA since 2003 and has taught Filmmontage and Sound Design at the ifs since 2001. In 2009 Andre took on the position of Professor for Editing Picture and Sound at the ifs.

KASK and Conservatory/School of Arts Ghent, Belgium

Martine Huvenne

Musicologist, lecturer and researcher on Sound and Music in Film at the School of Arts, Ghent. Trained in Laban technique as a dancer. PhD on a phenomenological approach of sound in film (UVA 2012). Curator of the annual film music seminar of the Ghent International Film Festival. Coordinator of EMAS.

The School of Sound, UK

Larry Sider

Sound designer and film editor in features, documentary, animation and experimental productions for 30 years. Teacher at film, media and art schools around the world. Former Head of Post-Production at the NFTS (UK). Co-founded the School of Sound with Diane Freeman in 1997. Co-editor Soundscape: The School of Sound Lectures 1998-2001; Co-editor The New Soundtrack journal.



With the support of the Lifelong Learning

Programme of the European Union