Last month I had the pleasure of contributing to an interview for Dude, Dutch Designers Magazine #1 2018, which is out now.
The article was about the transition from art academy into the professional design practice. It argues that a smooth transition is rarely the case for many students. There are questions if design design training sufficiently reflects the reality of the professional field. The author spoke to teachers, designers and design-buro owners.
I was happy to inform how we try to bridge that gap at the WdKa by using the following tools;
– specify the design practice into 3 different ‘area’s of expertise’
– offer authentic and challenging design projects
– offer integrated courses in business and value creation for design
– let students collaborate (multidisciplinary) in open workplaces (stations)
– open dialogue about the professional practice through assessments
– provide student coaching
Last month we had a presentation by Gert Gerritsen & Markus Praat (owner of the ‘New Chique Agency‘) about the BNO, the Ducth Design Union, which received many positive reviews by students. I believe in many ways we’re trying to make that gap smaller; by having dialogue with students about how they see their future.
Yesterday I visited the symposium and departure lecture of profession dr. Saskia de Bodt. Over the last 9 years she has been the Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam. This position was supported by the Fiep Westendorp Foundation. She wrote several publications among which:
- From Poe tot Pooh; illustration to pay your brushes? An overview of Dutch Childrenbook illustrations from 1850.
- De “imagionists” (De Verbeelders) An overview of one century Dutch Book Illustrations (Nominated for the Golden Tulip Award).
It was an inspiring symposium with interesting questions such as:
- How can we visualize our society in such a way; it clarifies the essence of our society?
- Statement by John Berger (Ways of Seeing): We learn to interpret illustrations before we understand the meaning of words; therefore the image is not the illustration; but it’s the text that illustrates the images.
- Can illustration convey the message of ideals such as: freedom, peace and solidarity? (Like it is done in music?) Images are always related to an ideological tradition.
The ‘departure-speech’ of Saskia was interesting because I found out that one of my most cherished children books was made by Tomi Ungerer; who has his own ‘Tomi Ungeren – illustration museum‘ in Strassbourg. Which might be comparable to the House of Illustration in London.
Last but not leas; a student from Saskia explained the 3 wise lessons she had learned from her and are still just as valid for anyone:
- In principle everything is possible; but you have to organize it yourself.
- When you think it is not possible; you should probably try it anyways.
- You have to be able to estimate your own value.
Last scoop: Saskia received a fresh new publication on Illustration: ” De Verbeelders Verbeeld(t); an intruiging follow-up of her previously mentioned publication. I will be looking forward to read it.
The new Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam is: Emilie Sitzia. Looking forward to see her progress in the academic field of illustration.