The Faculty of Creative Industries is one of the most popular faculties at the Higher School of Economics. Today we have more than 5 thousand students. In the international QS ranking in the communications and media subject area, the HSE is ranked among the leading universities in Russia, and in the Art and Design category HSE became the best Russian university and entered the top 200 international universities.
Our faculty is one of the largest centers for training specialists in the creative industries: it brings together the best teachers and curators from among practicing professionals, talented students and successful graduates who work in leading russian and world companies or create their own startups.
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Cumulus the only international association in the field of education and research on art, design and media; it has been in operation since 1990. Through membership in the association, students in creative fields at HSE will now be able to study in exchange programmes at the world's leading universities and participate in international competitions. It will also be easier for teachers to publish in international academic journals and be at the centre of global trends.
Tatiana Rivchun, an advisor to the rector and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, took part in the Cumulus conference in Milan. She recently spoke with us about the prospects that are opening up to HSE students and teachers.
— What does membership in Cumulus give HSE?
— First and foremost, there is the opportunity to be in unison with the world’s leading art and design institutions. We can now interact with them as full-fledged partners. In particular, we can take part in international events, with our students participating in competitions designed for the association’s members. Our teachers will find it easier to publish in Cumulus journals and increase their qualifications. International exhibitions, seminars, workshops and summer schools are all open to our students and professors. For example, Cumulus has just announced a competition on environmental design for students at participating universities. There will be five winning teams, each receiving 4,000 euros.
Moreover, Cumulus is not simply a university organization, but rather one that collaborates with business. This means that we will be able to send our students to other countries for internships. And, of course, the exchange programmes are very valuable for students; this represents a breakthrough to a new international level.
— Could you say a little more about the exchange programmes?
— As a member of Cumulus, we can send our students for study at other universities that are association members (there are more than 200 of them in 48 countries), free of charge, under the condition that they select courses that we can give them credit for at our faculty. The same scheme works from the other side. In other words, we can invite foreign students to study here if their faculties have similar courses with a total volume of 30 credits.
— How was the most recent Cumulus conference and the interaction with other association members?
— The theme of the conference was ‘Culture and Experiments in Design’. Each day had a full programme of roundtables and group exercises. There was also an exhibition by young designers called ‘Design to feed the world’ that featured 90 student projects from 33 Cumulus member universities on topics like the history of food, the wealth of food, and the future of food. This actually coincides with the name of Expo-2015 – ‘Feeding the planet - Energy for life’ – which is currently taking place in Milan.
I have to say that our foreign colleagues are very interested in collaborating with HSE and would like to develop exchange programmes as soon as possible. We are already corresponding with colleagues from Belgium on closer cooperation.
— What upcoming plans are there for international cooperation?
— Just after the Cumulus conference, the School signed an agreement with a young Italian designers’ store. They would like to promote works by our students in Milan and possibly open a joint store in Moscow. They said that although there is a large number of Russians living in Italy and that demand for Russian designers is high, they are virtually unrepresented in local stores. Apart from this, we will seek to take part in various Cumulus initiatives. The website of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design will soon feature a section presenting news from the association.