Person med laptop I kreativ miljö
Photo: Natalie Greppi

New Freestanding Courses on HDK-Valand


Right now, our application period for freestanding courses that start this autumn are open. Among our comprehensive and broad range of offerings are three new free-standing courses: Art History and Image Analysis for Teaching, Creative Entrepreneurship for Material-Based Craft and Design Innovation, and Literary Writing in Exile.

The wide range of courses at HDK-Valand suits those that are already professionals within the filed, as well as those who have never previously studied at a university. It also includes those who are studying something else and are curious about artistic subjects, but do not have the opportunity to read an entire program. Several courses are also part-time and distance learning - perfect if you live outside this part of Sweden.  

Magnus Sterner-Bernvik holds the position of director of studies for free-standing courses at HDK-Valand, and he believes that practising artists and designers may need some tools to continue developing and create the conditions for a long career.

“These may be tools for creating new networks, developing methods for understanding the effects of increasing digitization, or learning about changes in how public art is funded and supported in society,” says Sterner-Bernvik.

New courses often emerge from the interface between research and education, where new and exciting knowledge can be generated. He asserts that they may also be about giving students new practical tools and ways to apply them in their work or critical perspectives that broaden their understanding of a field. Free-standing courses also lead to changes and development in the programmes ore organisation with help from the co-workers and students perspectives.

“In free-standing courses, we see an opportunity to reach many people and it is an important forum for working with art and education. These courses offer a chance to take on new challenges and test out new methods,” says Magnus Sterner-Bernvik

Art History and Image Analysis for Teaching

The course Art History and Image Analysis is offered part-time and on distance and is given in Swedish. It is designed for those who need to expand their knowledge of the art historical and image analytical concepts that are used in describing works of art, architecture and images, and to those who want to know more about applying methods of image analysis.

Katarina Jansson Hydén is an adjunct lecturer in visual didactics at HDK-Valand and course director for Art History and Image Analysis. She has a master’s degree in visual didactics and is also a doctoral candidate at the post-graduate Centre for Educational Sciences and Teacher Research.

“In my research project, I’m interested in the potential of visual arts to communicate – in the relation between internal and external visual communication. I have the privilege of delving deeply into these questions, along with questions of identity and power, through image analysis,” says Katarina Jansson Hydén

The fact that the course is beginning this year is down to an increased desire among incoming students in education to study art history. A part-time freestanding course is a good complement to other studies and this particular course responds to the need to study art history, image analysis and pedagogy from a more interdisciplinary perspective. Also, new educational variants in visual arts teacher training sometimes require supplementary courses. Katarina believes in this combination of art history, contemporary art and pedagogy.

“I hope that curious students will apply to take this course,” she says. “Maybe you want to add to your prior knowledge, or maybe build up a new bank of knowledge. The course also appeals to students who are interested in critical reflection and broadening their teaching skill set. We’re going to root around in and pull apart art historical styles and take on the narratives that lie behind works of art history.”

Can this course be both the beginning of a education towards being a teacher as well as a continuing education for someone already working as a teacher?
“Absolutely!” she says. “The course is designed to meet you wherever you are in terms of knowledge and to help you build from there.” 

Creative Entrepreneurship for Material-Based Craft and Design Innovation

The Creative Entrepreneurship course is designed for students of industrial arts and design and for working people who hold a degree in craft, design or art and want to develop their own business. The goal of the course is to strengthen the skills that participants need in order to have a sustainable career working in craft or design.

The course director is Franz James and in addition to running this course he is a doctoral student in design with a focus on the importance of the physical environment in involuntary treatment facilities. He says that the course is designed for students who want to go further toward realising their projects in whatever form that may take.

“In other words, you don’t have to become a business owner ore entrepreneur, just be driven by the desire to have mastery of your process and the means to achieve your professional goals,” says Franz James.

The point of departure for the course is the difficulty of becoming established as a creative professional, and it aims to give participants the support and the tools they need to achieve their future goals as entrepreneurs or project managers for artistic projects. The fact that the course is launching now is down to an increasing need identified among graduating students, in part due the decline in grants and other financial support and the risk that these continue to decline in the future.

“We don’t have another course like this, and we have found that craft artisans and designers want to be better prepared for the professional life that lies ahead,” says James. “The course is meant to serve as a springboard for realising your goals, regardless of whether you’re a student or already in practice. The course can also help support and develop what you have to offer professionally – that is, your own artistry, expression and methods.”

In addition to teaching and being a PhDs student, Franz James is also a working as a designer and partner in a large design firm that designs, develops, produces, markets, and sells interior design products that are used both nationally and internationally in psychiatric care, correctional and youth care facilities. His background is in furniture making, product development and product design for multiple different contexts.

“My colleague Charlotte Svinevit and I are going to give the course together,” says James. “Charlotte has extensive experience with teaching, textile artistry and entrepreneurship. In addition to teaching at Steneby Campus, she also teaches at Beckmans (College of Design), Sätergläntan (Institute of Crafts), and Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Design). Charlotte also runs a shop and a studio in Stockholm, where she works with sustainability and reparations and designs stage costumes for bands such as First Aid Kit.”

Creative Entrepreneurship for Material-Based Craft and Design Innovation is offered as a distance course and part-time (50%), with four mandatory in-person sessions. These take the form of hybrid seminars in which participants may choose to meet in person on campus Steneby or online via a link. The course is international and will be given in English, which makes it possible even for students outside of Sweden to take part.

Literary Writing in Exile

The third new course to be added to our offerings this autumn is Literary Writing in Exile, which is another freestanding distance course given in English. You can read more about this course in a previously published article.


Fristående kurser på HDK-Valand

Under varje ansökningsomgång erbjuder HDK-Valand ett brett utbud av fristående kurser som innefattar på både engelska och svenska som utbildningsspråk och kurser på såväl distans som på campus. Det finns även alltid ett stort omfång av både grundkurser och kurser på avancerad, vilket vi kan erbjuda något som är relevant för en stor bredd av blivande studenter. 

Ansökningsomgången för fristående kurs höstterminen 2023 är öppen 15 mars – 17 april.