About ELIA

What is ELIA

The European League of Institutes of the Arts - ELIA is the primary independent network organisation for higher arts education. With over 300 members in 47 countries, it represents some 300,000 students in all art disciplines. ELIA advocates for the arts on the European level, creating new opportunities for its members and facilitating the exchange of best practices.

ELIA Mission

The principle mission of ELIA is to represent Higher Arts Education and to be an influential voice and advocate in promoting the interests of its members. In placing emphasis on the value of arts education and artistic research, ELIA is dedicated to enhance the conditions in which Higher Arts Education can flourish, nationally and internationally. Our current time is dominated by financial uncertainty, global ecological challenges and rapidly shifting political landscapes. Therefore, ELIA’s mission is vital, urgent and relevant.

ELIA Objectives (read more in the Manifesto here)

Strengthen the position and influence of the arts and higher arts education at regional, national, European and international levels
Support the establishing and maintaining of adequate social and political conditions for the free development of education in the arts and the specific needs of education in the arts and of art production.
Promote the arts as a central aspect of society and as a fundamental contribution to cultural and economic development;
Encourage cultural diversity and foster communication between European and non-European cultures as part of a global cultural society.

Structure of ELIA

ELIA members participate in various ELIA projects and events. They are encouraged to network and share information not only during ELIA events, but also with the network via the ELIA website.
The Representative Board consists of a maximum of 21 members elected during the General Assembly from and by registered full members of the organisation, ensuring a proportional representation of disciplines and regions. The Representative Board elects the President and Treasurer. The tenure is for a period of two years. See the current board by clicking here.
The Executive Board, including the President, comprises a maximum of nine members chosen from the Representative Board.
The Executive Office, currently residing in Amsterdam, coordinates daily affairs, project manages the events in cooperation with local partners and handles all membership requests and related inquiries.


ELIA has over 25 years' experience in representing higher arts education in Europe. Its Executive Office, elected Board, specialist steering groups and members provide the organisation with a wealth of expertise that bolsters its advocacy and forms an extensive resource for research, the development of new projects and networks, policy review and future scenario planning.


Together with its member institutions, ELIA initiates conferences, symposia, publications and research projects, targeting all sectors of the higher arts education community - artists, teachers, leaders, managers and students - as well as the wider public.

Highlights of these events include:
  • The ELIA Biennial Conference - a world-class event profiling current developments in higher arts education and facilitating dialogue.
  • The Teachers’Academy - an international platform for ideas and practices for teachers in art schools in Europe and beyond.
  • The Leadership Symposium - a meeting of selected leaders and key decision makers representing a diverse set of arts and design institutions throughout the world.

Projects, Partnerships and Publications

ELIA has well established links with other networks and cultural organisations worldwide and with national and international authorities. New projects and partnerships are always in the pipeline, whether initiated with an eye to the interests of members or in response to opportunities created through broader educational policy development and programmes.

One of ELIA's most successful projects was SHARE (Step-Change for Higher Arts Research and Education) - an international networking project, with 39 contributing partners in 36 countries, and structural support from the EU, working together on enhancing the '3rd cycle' of arts research and education. 

NE©XT Accelerator, an ongoing project that supports emerging artists to initiate successful international careers, improving their capacity to make a living from their artistic production.

For our current events and projects visit the Activities page.
For more Publications visit our Documents page.


Beulingstraat 8
1017 BA Amsterdam
The Netherlands

T: +31 (0)20 330 1116
F: +31 (0)20 626 7751
Email: info@elia-artschools.org

ELIA's activities are funded with support of the European Commission. The website reflects the view only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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