Evaluation of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in design and crafts
This report presents the results of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education´s 2006/2007 quality audit of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in design and crafts. An external assessment team made up of seven experts (two of which were students) in design and crafts training was commissioned to carry out the evaluation.
The report is in two parts. The first part consists of the National Agency´s decisions and reflections, based mainly on the assessment team´s report. The second part is the assessment team´s report, with one section for general observations and another for assessments of individual institutions. The assessment team alone is responsible for the contents of its report.
The assessment team notes in its report that design and crafts programmes are generally of good quality. The assessors see a positive development particularly in the design area since the National Agency´s 2000 evaluation. Programmes with a distinctive image, such as Industrial Design at Umeå University and Textile Design at the University College of Borås, receive favourable judgements, as do the older and bigger education providers Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) and the School of Design and Crafts (HDK) at Göteborg University, both of which work in visionary, strategic and innovative ways. The picture is more varied in the crafts area. Particularly at HDK, the assessment team finds that here is a need to strengthen the crafts programmes´ identity and links to contemporary culture.
The design and crafts programmes are generally supported by an adequate, and in some cases excellent, infrastructure. Technological know-how and materials knowledge are high, and contact with the outside world is frequent. Among other features, guest teachers are often employed for their excellent qualifications. A big challenge, however, is to define and develop the artistic basis of the education programmes. The assessment team points out that many programmes need to improve in terms of links to contemporary culture, critical reflection, links to theory, and free representation. In this connection, teachers´ inadequate opportunities for artistic development is a problem. Furthermore, research and postgraduate studies in design and crafts are relatively new activities. The assessment team urges increased national and international cooperation to support the development of design and crafts as education and research disciplines.
All programmes passed the audit, with the exception of the programmes run by Carl Malmsten — Centre for Timber Technology & Design with Linköping University as principal, and the Industrial Design programme at the Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University. The former were judged to be strong on craftsmanship, but did not meet the requirements for higher education in the arts. The latter were judged to have a weak artistic foundation, and the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was also critical of how the programme has been handled at the faculty level.