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Two schools become one: Bitte Nygren Head of new HDK

News: Apr 25, 2012

Two schools, with top competence in Design, Crafts and Teacher Training Programmes in Sloyd and Visual Arts are soon to merge. From 1 July the University part of Steneby in Dals Långed and today’s HDK in Gothenburg will both go under the name of HDK – School of Design and Crafts. Bitte Nygren, former Director of Swedish Museum of Architecture will become Head of School and Jeff Kaller will be Deputy Head of School.

Bitte Nygren. Photo: Åke Hedström

Bitte Nygren: Head of new HDK

Bitte Nygren and Jeff Kaller will assume their new posts July 1, 2012, when the new department is launched. The aim is to create a distinctively international environment that will promote disciplinary and interdisciplinary education and research. The merger between the present HDK in Gothenburg and Steneby - the School of Craft and Design will result in the name HDK signifying more programmes, more international students, new competence, new environments and new energy.

In Dals Långed there are four programmes at bachelor’s or master’s level. Here you can spend your time doing intense, concentrated work close to nature. Steneby bases its activities on the long tradition of craftsmanship in Dals Långed; material-based study courses and programmes within the field have been pursued there since the 1930s.

Steneby’s well-equipped workshops and their material-based courses and programmes also contribute to further strengthening and widening the implications of the name HDK. Today’s HDK in Gothenburg is surrounded by the pulse of city life and offers thirteen programmes at bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral level. HDK has over 160 years of experience in education, in recent years developing research activities and teacher’s training programmes in Visual Arts and Sloyd.

Bitte Nygren is very enthusiastic about the mission:

- This is a real dream job! Steneby and HDK are two exciting and impressive schools, with well-deserved good reputation. HDK and Steneby complement and reinforce each other and the new department will be a win-win situation for everyone.

- I consider it a particularly exciting and important challenge to work with the research development within each field, adds Bitte Nygren. University of Gothenburg is a role model in Sweden, with its’ serious and long-term focus on artistic research.

Bitte Nygren was Director of the Swedish Museum of Architecture 1999 - 2008. She has also been head of the Form Design Center in Malmö, and worked as an architect in Gothenburg, for example at Wingårdhs Architects. Bitte Nygren has a degree in architecure at Chalmers University of Technology, has studied at the Art Academy in Copenhagen and graphic design at HDK.

Over the years, she has had various board assignments such as: the board of Svensk Form, chairman of NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art), industry representative on the education committee for graphic design and illustration at Konstfack, jury member of the Bruno Mathsson Nordic Design Prize, jury member for the EDIDA Award (Elle Decoration International Design Awards) and the Swedish representative in the advisory body to the European Union prize Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award.

- Bitte Nygren's leadership experience at an important national cultural institution, the Swedish Museum of Architecture, where she was involved in an extensive change and development process, has been important for the recruitment group.

- Bitte Nygren is passionate about issues related to design and communicates a strong motivation for the position as new Head of School, says Anna Lindal, Dean at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Jeff Kaller. Photo: Håkan Karlbrand

Jeff Kaller, Deputy Head of new HDK

Jeff Kaller is now Head of School for the university programmes at Steneby - School of Craft and Design and principal for the university preparatory and vocational courses at Stenebyskolan in Dals Långed. In his new role as Deputy Head of School he will, work with the whole new HDK, together with Bitte Nygren.

Jeff Kaller was born in the U.S. and is a ceramic artist. He taught in Japan, UK and USA, has participated in international exhibitions and is represented in permanent collections such as the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in New York and San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in San Angelo.

- It is of great value that Jeff Kaller is involved in the management of the new department. His solid experience from Steneby and his fine arts and crafts skills are prerequisites for good leadership at HDK, says Anna Lindal.

- Eva Engstrand ends her position as head of HDK June 30, after 5 years. Eva has been a dedicated leader of HDK with a strong sense of quality and artistic content issues.

- She has also led extensive development processes and has always valued involvement of employees. I thank Eva for good leadership and for being a valuable discussion partner in faculty issues, says Faculty Dean Anna Lindal.

This merger is the result of an extensive project, which started in 2010, to reorganise the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. From 1st July 2012 its seven departments are to merge into three. HDK – School of Design and Crafts is one of these three. HDK is an abbreviation of the Swedish name.


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