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Exhibition and Symposium „Practices in Design Education – Hundred Years Kurt Wirth 1917 – 2017“

The Kurt Wirth exhibition and symposium is organised as a contribution to the reflection on the history of design education and to honour the 100th anniversary of the Swiss Designer Kurt Wirth.

The Swiss designer Kurt Wirth was one of the leading figures of 20th century Swiss graphic design. Kurt Wirth, born in Bern in 1917, began his graphic design apprenticeship in 1933 with Hans Fischer, opening his first studio in Bern in 1937. While his highly innovative designs for stamps, posters, book covers, coins etc., were globally recognized and collected in his own time, his decade long participation in the tradition of educating apprentices would also find international resonance. An article entitled “The Apprentice”, published in Graphis Magazine in 1983, showcased six of Wirth’s apprentices. In addition to this, between 1971 – 1987, he would work as a drawing instructor for the Bernese Trade School for Arts and Crafts as well as publish two volumes concerning design education through drawing: In 1965 “drawing when how”, Niggli, Teufen and 1976 “drawing a creative process”, ABC, Zurich. Kurt Wirth’s educational legacy is relevant to current research enquiries, in part, due to his uncompromising emphasis on drawing as the foundation of design processes, as well as, his successful employment of the master-apprentice model of education. In his time, this drawing-based artistic approach was generally recognised as a contrast to the developing design practices guided by minimalized conceptual parameters.


November 17, 2017, 10am – 5pm
Symposium,  Building D, Auditorium
Freilager-Platz 1
4142 Münchenstein/Basel

Individual Traffic: Parkhaus Ruchfeld, Frankfurt-Strasse 37
Public Transport: Tram 11 from Bahnhof SBB direction Aesch, station Freilager

Speakers: Stephan Bundi, Sandra Bischler, Sarah Klein, Jenny Leibundgut, Julia Meer, Michael Renner, Moreno Tuttobene; Panel discussion with Simon Wirth


9:00 Coffee
10:00 Welcome
10:10 The versatile designer: Kurt Wirth
Moreno Tuttobene
10:50 Education at School – Education at the Design Studio
Stephan Bundi
11:30 Women in Graphic Design – Questioning the Canonisation of Graphic Design History
Julia Meer
12:10 Lunch
13:30 The Role of Drawing in the Design-Process of Kurt Wirth
Michael Renner
14:10 Back to the roots: How hand skills remain basic in the digital age
Jenny Leibundgut
14:50 Drawing lines – The beginnings of graphic design education in Basel
Sandra Bischler
15:20 Coffee Break
15:40 Point, line, plane: Basic exercises in graphic design education
Sarah Klein
16:10 Speaker’s panel with Simon Wirth
17:00 Apéro

All lectures are in English

Download the detailed program of the symposium.

Without previous notice, free admission.

Monday – Friday
 9am – 5pm
Building D, Parterre

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