PLACEText: Kyoko Tachibana
Hyper Island has been the hype of Europe’s and the world’s web design industry. No wonder, many of the students who graduated from Hyper Island have opportunities to work in many of the leading web design companies all over the world during and after they complete their course.
The school has only been around since 1995 when multimedia producers David Erixon and Lars Lundh met during a project together with Jonathan Briggs, now the Strategy Director at the OTHER Media. The famous story is that the building of the school is a renovated naval prison, which was active until 1860, and is located on a world heritage site.
Not only the physical feature of the school is distinctive, but the structure of Hyper Island as a higher educational institution is somewhat unique. First of all, there is no computer equipped in the school; the students have to bring their own computers to work on their projects. Second, almost 40% of the course work is based on work placements. Having taken the entrance exam of high level, students proceed the practical course work projects and 2 stages of the actual working experience and they eventually get their way through to the industry.
“By always letting the industry teach students, and students teach the industry. We do not have any regular teachers. It’s the industry that are the best teachers, and in return, they get the students they need” says the CEO of the school, Mattias Hansson.
The learning process is based on organising projects independently in teams often with multidisciplinary approach. Students are required to proceed the projects themselves, lectures are not carried out in the conventional way of giving lectures, but they are there to give professional advice as if they are in the actual working environment.
Hansson explains the role of the Hyper Island in this style of education: “Our main task is to provide the arena for this to happen, and to know the secrets of how to facilitate this learning process. This is what we have been doing now for thirteen years. This is the hear of Hyper Island.”
This style of teaching method was designed based on the experiences of other European institution such as FABRICA in Italy and Space Invaders in Copenhagen, according to the co-founder of the school, Jonathan Briggs’ article in the OTHER Media website.
The Hyper Island’s next mission is to accept more students from abroad. They offer some courses in English for non-Swedish citizens, also there have already been requests to hold courses in countries such as USA and UK. There are also intensive courses available in Karlskrona and Stockholm, and they are also currently preparing a special course for some Japanese participants. “In addition to the typical Hyper Island Experience, we will provide some real exclusive inside visits at some of the most well known Swedish design brands and designers as well as some highly secret surprises for our Japanese participants.”
The Hyper Island perhaps shows a lot of potential not just in the digital media education, but also higher education in general, as a challenging and effective learning environment.
Address: 14 Bastionsgatan, S-371 32 Karlskrona, Sweden
Tel: +46 455 30 7777
Text: Kyoko Tachibana
Photos: Courtesy of Hyper Island