HICA

Basel School of Design Postadvanced Class

Alumni Summit 



July 10th - 13th, 2011

Basel Switzerland

From 10th  to 13th  July 2011 the Basel School of Design Postadvanced Class Alumni Summit took place in Switzerland. The Basel School of Design is one of the leading educational institutions in its field and is today part of the University of Northwest Switzerland. The post advanced class of graphic design, which was offered untill 1999, still sets global standards for the education and training in graphic design.

The age groups of 31 years, who had attended the Postadvanced Class from 1968 to 1999, were invited. Thus, around 100 alumnis arrived from 35 nations.

The Postadvanced Class consisted of participants who had then already entered professional life and who had already achieved profound qualifications, on which the postadvanced training was to build on. Some had been lecturers at universities. Although we are working in many different areas by now, and everyone is highly qualified on his or her field of expertise, we are all connected through the distinctive education we received and which influenced us, with its own conceptual convictions and its special practical philosophy.

What is also special is the high artistic level of the teachers and their close collaboration with one another - they all shared the same philosophy and practised similar teaching methods. The training of the Postadvanced class is considered to be unique and it is estimated by many throughout the world. Me too, when I recall my years of study in Basel from 1977 to 1981, can only think of positive memories and the attainment of crucial knowledge, which still has an impact on my work today.

Originally it was Jean Craig-Teerlink’s idea (who is an alumni from California) to organize a meeting after the time span of 30 years. She intended to use the occasion of Armin Hofman’s 90th birthday to thank all of our former teachers. However, there didn’t exist a complete address list of all students of the postadvanced class and it took more than one year to collect all addresses and find the alumnis. The following instructors participated at the summit: Dorothea Hofmann, Kurt Hauert, André Gürtler, Christian Mengelt, Peter Olpe and Moritz Zwimpfer.

On Sunday evening, July 10th, we were cordially welcomed to the Alumni Summit in a nice reception-event. On this occasion, instructors' and students' works were presented. Kurt Hauert exhibited 30 drawings, Armin Hofmann showed a selection of his inspirational colourful silkscreen prints and his wife, Dorothea Hofmann, also exhibited her own drawings. In the course of this, we, the former students, became aware that we are still not able to keep up with our former heroes. Great masters will remain great masters.

Besides this, the history of the post advanced class program was presented to us – an overview of its development from the past up to the present. During the 3 days of the summit we had ample opportunity to communicate with former fellow students and with the teachers about our vocational experiences and practice.

Finally, one afternoon, our highly esteemed teacher, Kurt Hauert, invited us to go for a walk with him. During this occasion I felt as if it was 30 years ago: The teacher goes ahead and we have to follow him in one long row similar to little ducklings. The way led us into a meadowy countryside, where Kurt Hauert gave us a 2-hour drawing lesson (sketching of landscapes), in which we again – of course - learned very much.

Various memories come to my mind when I think of Kurt Hauert. I attended his drawing-, colour- and visual form translation courses. Kurt Hauert has been a very conscientious but rather strict teacher, who talks little, especially when he is contented with your work. A brief comment like “Not too bad!” can already be considered as a profound approval and genuine compliment. More often, however, we were repeatedly asked to erase the own sketching, and to improve it until the work met all the requirements.

One day, I finally lost all patience because of the repeated eraseing and sketching efforts I had to do, and I said: “Mr Hauert, my paper has become thin.” At that, Mr Hauert held my sheet of paper against the light, scrutinising it skeptically. Then he answered: “That’s still all right.” And he asked me to start still a further attempt.

Mr Hauert taught me many basic rules for life, as the ability to never give up, perseverance, to be not that easily contented, but also to stop at the suitable moment. Undoubtedly, I thankfully owe very much to my teacher Kurt Hauert and the Basel School of Design.