School of Design: Taking a Closer Look
— The School of Design is unique in many ways at HSE. What does it mean for you in terms of international dimension of learning and teaching?
— I would say that the whole Faculty of Communications, Media and Design is rather different from other faculties. Our knowledge and skills are essentially practical and project-based, and our contribution to the reputation of HSE worldwide is our reputation as practitioners rather than researchers. It means that we want to be an attractive design school for fellow professionals and students, on the one hand, and to bring our projects to exhibitions and give talks and workshops all over the world.
Nearly twenty years ago international activity of HSE used to be a project of its own, because we were building partnerships, looking for the best practices to implement and adapt, and I am very happy to see that now internationality is embedded in the university.
— How do you make sure that students are in touch with the global trends?
— Our students are very much interested in what is going on in the design world, and we’ve started holding open lectures with the best designers, artists, photographers, etc. Lectures are not only for our students, but are open to everyone, so everyone is welcome, whether you study at another university or just interested in design. And by design we do not mean only “pictures” or other visuals, it is also environmental design, fashion, architecture, and design thinking in general.
We also encourage our students and lecturers to participate in exhibitions, whether they are in Moscow, regional, national or international, and we regularly share information about upcoming events and application deadlines.
— Do you have international students?
— Students from universities and art schools abroad visit quite frequently. These are usually short visits for one or two weeks, and are very good for sharing experience and learning from each other. Currently we have about 40 full-degree international students, mostly from CIS countries, and also from Latvia and Estonia. It’s not much, but we are a very young School, only four years old, and we want to take grand steps only when we are ready, so that they do not undermine the reputation we are working hard to build. For HSE to become one of the top 100 design schools we need to be not only well known and sought after among colleagues and students, but also to become a place where people would want to bring their works for an exhibition. It applies to all the programmes we have, be it visual design, animation, fashion, environment design, and the new study tracks which we are planning to launch, such as design and futurology, and design and contemporary art.
One of the challenges we face is that our building at Pionerskaya street is rather old and not fit for exhibitions, so in the meanwhile we are holding events at Bakhrushin Museum nearby. We are hoping to finish renovations which will enable us to have our own exhibition space soon. There are quite a lot of requests from design professional and student from different countries who would like to exhibit their work with us, and this is what constitutes the international dimension of our work, along with roundtable discussions and workshops.
— Are you participating in other international events at HSE?
— We have not yet held a session within HSE’s major event, April Conference. However, this year we started discussing what our participation would look like, and we would like to hold a session on contemporary design and technologies, mostly through displaying projects and discussing them. HSE has a lot of public design and branding projects for schools, museums and Moscow districts, and our Design Lab has a lot to show.
As I’ve said before, we are mostly focused on projects, but we do have plans to develop research as well. It is going to be a PhD school in art history, and the idea is to involve colleagues at HSE who are already working in cultural studies, art historians from the Faculty of Humanities. It would be very important for us to study not only classics but also contemporary art, as it is very closely related to current social and economic situation and its challenges.
In the late 1950s, Soviet designers created something unprecedented in the Soviet Union — lightweight, modular furniture for the entire apartment. However, their progressive take on interior design clashed with reality. The system trumped common sense, with the result that the best entries in the first national competition for furniture designers remained little more than good intentions. HSE University Art and Design School instructor Artyom Dezhurko studied the history of the competition.
The new unified standard provides a general framework for developing Master’s programmes and delegates the determination of specific professional skills, types of career activities and key learning outcomes to programmes themselves, as well as recommending particular courses to students. Which tracks did programmes select? What are the opportunities and risks under the new standard? How much do students demand individualization and a project component in their education?The HSE Look posed these and other questions to the Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Academic Supervisors of three programmes offered at HSE University.
At the end of 2020, the Academic Council of HSE University approved a new educational standard for Master’s programmes, which expands learners’ options in designing their own educational trajectories. It also places a bigger emphasis on project work. The standard will take effect in the 2021/2022 academic year for 33 participating programmes at the pilot stage.The HSE Look met with Sergey Roshchin, Vice Rector for the University’s degree programmes, and discussed the new measures.
HSE University postdocs share their thoughts on transitioning from PhD studies, as well as individual and collaborative projects they are currently engaged in. The participants include Adam Gemar and Daria Khlevnyuk (PhDs in Sociology), Nikita Lychakov (PhD in Finance), and Amanda Zadorian (PhD in Politics). We also talked to Ekaterina Paustyan, a postdoc at the University of Bremen and an excellent example of the connecting power of HSE University’s research centres.
Alena Akmatova and Svetlana Ilyushina, graduates of the HSE Art and Design School Master’s programme (2017), won the open Russian Post competition, which was held jointly with the Novgorod regional government and the Novgorod State Museum-Reserve in the autumn of 2020. Participants had to design a series of limited edition postcards and packaging dedicated to the cultural and historical heritage of the region
This year’s Big Animation Festival featured a number of films by HSE Art and Design School students and curators. Out of 1,501 applications received from 89 countries, the Festival jury selected 95 films to participate in the Russian competition and 90 for the foreign one. Twelve works by students of the Bachelor’s Programme ‘Animation and Illustration’, as well as six animated films by curators of HSE University Art and Design School made it into the competition. HSE News Service spoke with some of the participants about making video clips for popular musical groups, inspiration, and the importance of festivals.
On November 10th,HSE ART GALLERY opened an exhibition showcasing pieces by second-year students of the Master’s programme in ‘Contemporary Art’ under the supervision of famous Russian artist, Vladimir Dubossarsky. A special feature of the exhibition is its sound design: all the images are accompanied by compositions of sound artists, most of whom are also students of the HSEArt and Design School. They focused on the theme of forced relationships, the impact of the pandemic on the creative process, and the mixing of art forms.
Dr Anatoly Kharkhurin joined HSE University in 2019 as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. He received his PhD in Experimental Psychology from the City University of New York and taught in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. This academic year he is teaching Psychology of Thinking and Reasoning and Psycholinguistics. Dr Kharkhurin shared with The HSE Look his perspective on the prospects for the digital transformation of social communication.
At Arch Moscow 2020, master’s students of the HSE Art and Design School won the student project competition in the category ‘Best Architectural and Planning Solution’. In the competition, participants had to conduct a comprehensive analysis of Yauza River bank territories and propose a project for their redevelopment.
The event, sponsored by the Cumulus Association, a global association of art and design universities, will take place online from October 28-30. It will be organized by three Russian universities: HSE University, St. Petersburg State University, and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. The conference will focus on today’s most pressing issues in the field of design.