The 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.

This 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!”


The 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.


Timber, 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. Always wondering when the decision comes from the ministry. Life is maybe not so different from one country to an other.


Very 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 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.


The 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.


The canteen.