• ISAC Keeps Moving. Temporary Livery

    August 26, 2009 // No Comments »

    ISAC_bandeira2copy

    These days we are going through the intake process. The applicants have taken examinations in English, Portugese, General Knowledge, Drawing and then we have had an interview with all of them. Today the board dealing with applications meet in the Ministry of Education and Culture to draw the final list. At the same time the buildings and furniture and infrastructure is being prepared. We went to pick a colour that can unite the campus. We picked an earth colour, reminding the earth here in Africa. In a way we were pressed a bit since the large mobile phone companies have taken blue (Vodacom) and yellow (Mcel) and the insect producer (Raid) uses green. But I am happy with the colour and the idea is that it is temporary until we have run a competition for identity. But we have made some draft images for banners for the opening day and to signify the institute. The picture shows ‘draft’ make note all graphic designers: ‘draft’ of what we might do. We have passed the images around for opinions and Soley will complete one example for printing this weekend.

    The idea is to digress a bit from the ‘Art School Modernism’ into more African ambience, introducing some patterns while trying to be clear and hopefully represent the African soil.

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    Posted in DogS ACTIVITIES, DORI BLOG

    ISAC CAMPUS – increased urgency

    August 19, 2009 // 2 Comments »

    aentranceThis is the entrance to the campus.

    The buildup for the opening of ISAC is taking a certain crescendo. Things are late as in any proper project like this and surely some things will be done in the last minutes. But we have written the study and workshop program for the first semester, of course based on the longer strategy. We know the date of the speeches and the arrival of the political people, we now know the number of applicants that have applied to study now in the first semester. Today there are examinations for the applicants (see photo) and on Friday the interviews will be taking place. An interesting perspective is that very many of the teachers in the secondary schools, and in the foundation art school here (ENAV) are applying for studying in ISAC. During the recent days there has been a crowd of teachers around the printer in the media-lab there. This is great, meaning that the people in the field are motivated to lift their own competence and gain a university degree. As a matter of fact, only 7% of all those employed by the state here do have a university degree, and that includes all professions. I am sure that very few do have degrees in the creative industries or even the humanities.

    aexam

    Applicants taking an exam in one of the classrooms this morning

    We spent some time on campus today to look at plans and how things are faring. We look at how to create an identity for the location and the buildings that are allocated for ISAC in the first round. We agree that there is a very good atmosphere inside the walls of the campus. Karina and me, a partner in crime here for creating the design department, went on Friday to select a ‘unifying’ colour for the campus boundary and to use in the signification of the various buildings that the academy is allocated. The campus has for years been a location for a vocational school. That is great since it means the location already is known as a place of education and there are some workshops that we look forward to using like the woodworking, metal, electric and glass.

    agalleriThe building that is to become the gallery

    Here are some images of the campus as it is today with the workers really hacking away to be ready for the opening. I expect that much will be transformed by the 3rd of September. This blog will continue to post news as they come and we will inform about the study program that we are working on now, later.

    avinnustofaOne of the workshop areas being prepared. Internet cables, acoustic ceilings, nice concrete floors.

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    Eiffel and the New Art School, ISAC

    August 17, 2009 // No Comments »

    casadoferro

    The office of Madame Alda Costa, who is the leader of the group that is forming ISAC, the arts academy here in Maputo is in Casa de Ferro (de, do or di, depending on the reference). The building houses some of the offices of the Ministry of Culture and Education. I walk the three minutes from my apartment in the a block designed by the Mozambican architect Pancho Guedes to her office when we are planning and conferring. The Casa de Ferro is a very interesting building designed by Gustave Eiffel and is a kit building in the fashion that Bucky Fuller wanted to develop in his prefab heyday. It was probably shipped here and bolted together (I have not bothered to ask its history). The Google blurb says: “Casa do Ferro was constructed 1892 by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel. The whole building is made of steel and was dedicated to the Portuguese governor. Due to the subtropical climate in which the building is heated to extreme tempertures nobody had ever lived in it.”

    I think it very appropriate that the new Arts and Design Academy is being created in this building, it has a cultural spirit, while also being prefab. It refers to history and is quick build. It is transportable and light but looks like out of heavy stone masonry. There are references to the classics in Europe and the technology that has been developed here in the colonies, of fast production and spontaneous adaption. The building has nothing to do with the African culture here and one wonders how it will be for ISAC and the designers that will  be educated here to deal with their own culture in the prominence of global design culture and mass production. The Casa de Ferro is a symbol of such struggle.

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    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

    ISAC Advertises for Students

    August 13, 2009 // Comments Off on ISAC Advertises for Students

    The new art and design academy, ISAC, that I work with planning has advertized student places for the first semester starting early September. This first semester is planned to be quite experimental with dialogue meetings of teachers, experts and students to discuss the scope that is potential here in Mozambique. We are going through the basic courses that have to take place and then we plan short intensive workshops about specific areas of design and design methods.

    auglys_550px_wide

    Enclosed is the advertisement that filled a whole page of the newspaper NOTICIAS, addressing every county of the country, laying out the requirements for portfolios and examinations to enter the programs.

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    ISAC – THE INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE ARTES CULTURA

    August 9, 2009 // Comments Off on ISAC – THE INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE ARTES CULTURA

    001The whole campus seen from Avenida das Industrias

    Will be launched next month. The first higher education arts and design academy in the country, as I have said often before. Things have been slow and hickuppy and, yes it could be an African thing, but I had the same experience all through the Nineties when we were establishing the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Things are different; access to politicians is different, but decisions have to be taken on a basis of a political system, access to finance and competence in the country. I am very happy that we decided to come here and do our bit, whatever comes out of it. At least I have established a faculty of design and architecture before, so maybe my experience counts for something. The support of the Norwegians is counting greatly in the cultural sector here and The Oslo National Academy of the Arts should be proud of participating in the establishment of a new school of design in Africa.

    002This is where the entrance to ISAC will be next month!

    After various meetings, we decided to go to the location of the new school. It is a campus, on the outskirts of Maputo, I do not know all the history behind the location but am understanding that the decision is based on a strategic vision for devolution from the center of Maputo that actually seems to collect all the fundamental activity in Mozambique. An interesting comment I heard last month was: “There is lots of money in Maputo, that is where all the bribes go!”

    003The main campus square and the auditorium and social areas.

    These images show the campus as it is today, and I must say that I was really impressed with the space and the potential. There are of course many things that are not ready and one does not know what condition the place will be in when the school starts next month, but since I am such an optimist and usually see the potential of things rather than the pitfalls I think the new academy will be great one day.

    004Timber, metal and glass workshops. Remnants from an earlier institute.

    We are waiting for certain decisions from the Ministry. Some of the curriculum is ready, I have been through the specifications for equipment and furniture for the design department and now we just have to live in hope. I remember the same feeling in Reykjavik, Iceland in the late 90’s and during my years in Oslo about the new building there. Always wondering when the decision comes from the ministry. Life is maybe not so different from one country to an other.

    006Very bright and clean studio spaces. New furniture is being ordered at this moment.

    Next week, we are going to be trough the startup courses/seminars/meetings that are going to be fundamental for the design department (I do not yet know if it will be named a faculty or department) in the first semester. The curriculum for design is not very clear yet and that is going to be our task the coming two months. The people that wrote the general plan for ISAC are from the arts. The general plan is ok, but design has its own specific characteristics as we all know and that is what is going to be our task.

    007The lecture and assembly hall.

    The first semester will be a pilot semester and the school proper will start in early February 2010. That means we will have some time to run a dialogue about what design is, how it differs from arts, crafts and business, and to map the knowledge available in Mozambique to teach and run projects. This is really an exciting time ahead and we say that everyone is welcome to come and participate. Just send me a mail and we try to sort something. Of course there is no money here to pay for the participation, but maybe people can apply for development funds in their own institutions or countries to come and participate. We are expecting some people this coming semester, in photography, product design, visual communication and I hope fashion.

    009The canteen.

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    Vitoria Diogo, Minister of Public Service in Mozambique

    June 9, 2009 // Comments Off on Vitoria Diogo, Minister of Public Service in Mozambique

    Zero Tolerance for Poor Public Service.

    vitoria-diogo-destaque

    Our interest during the last weeks have been the public transport system in Maputo and how communication can maybe open up avenues and work against prejudices about the public transport. The police here is very active in stopping the chappas and checking the cars and documents. This probably leads to better services. But this news-text is lifted from the very informative website Club of Mozambique, a site in english run by expats. It is great to hear that the government is working on infrastructural issues because there is the foundation for a well performing society.

    Mozambican Public Service Minister Vitoria Diogo, declared in Maputo on Saturday zero tolerance for the rendering of poor public services.

    She was speaking during the closing session of a Conference on Public Administration, that brought together officials of the state apparatus, representatives of private business, and civil society organisations.

    Diogo stressed that guaranteeing good public service requires strengthening internal inspections and control to prevent irregularities, and to find out whether the offenses committed are intentional or result from lack of knowledge of the regulations and norms in public service.

    “Our position is zero tolerance for poor quality in the rendering of public services. Our public administration, our country, our Mozambican identity must be synonyms of merit, quality and excellence”, she said.

    She added that every citizen must participate in improving the quality of public services, by denouncing irregularities committed by state officials.

    Diogo admitted that the existing methods by which people present their complaints and suggestions are not efficient.

    “We must ensure that the citizens can blow the whistle on poor performance, because the existing system of complaint and suggestion books is weak. So we must improve matters and find better ways for the citizens to present their concerns”, she said.

    It was not tolerable that civil servants failed to provide the services which people need. Diogo stressed that the words “come back tomorrow” have no place in the vocabulary of public servants.

    “The key to success”, the Minister declared, “lies in visionary leadership, which inspires and sets free the talents that exist in our institutions, and mobilizes the energy and skills of our workers aimed towards a common objective, including the sense of mission, the mission of serving citizens”.

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