CIRRUS is a Nordic-Baltic network of Art and Design higher education. There are 20 excellent art and design schools from the Nordics and the Baltics in the circle of this cooperation. The central activities of the partner institutions are art and design, including innovative activities, technical development and artistic practices.

Job opportunity at HDK-Valand: Head of Design Unit

Head of the Design Unit

Diary id: PAR 2020/740
Employment level: Fixed term
Location: HDK-Valand
Apply by: 2020-08-06

On 1 January 2020, Valand Academy and HDK – School of Design and Crafts merged to form the HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design. We are now looking for a visionary head to lead the design unit at HDK-Valand.

Over the coming year, the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts is conducting a change project aimed at creating an attractive programme, research and work environment for future students, employees and partners. Read more about the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts and HDK-Valand here.

The Design Unit at HDK-Valand hosts an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s program and three research-oriented international Master’s programmes in Design (Design, Child Culture Design, Embedded Design) as well as a series of free-standing courses. Historically, the unit is rooted in the Gothenburg Slöyd Association’s School, which was established in 1848, and and the unit is located in Hedlund’s beautiful Art Nouveau building in Kristinelundsgatan in central Gothenburg with the Röhsska Museum as nearest neighbor.

HDK-Valand was among the first in the Nordic countries to embrace the modern concept of design and to establish a research environment and doctoral education. The Design Unit has proud traditions in collaboration with regional design industries as well as international design schools. Design research and design teaching at HDK-Valand have a strong focus on sustainable development and social responsibility. Empathy, experimentation, and the encounter with audiences and the design public are central in research methodology as well as in pedagogical practice.

Job description

The position primarily is to lead and develop the unit after the merger and towards fulling the Arts2025 vision. Major focus is on working with staff to develop the subject and the range of programme and course offerings within the unit, developing an inspiring and productive research environment, creating a good work environment and developing the organisation and its practices. The position’s responsibilities require clear communication and experience in working with development and change at group and individual levels.

The leadership assignment includes driving change and development work at unit, department, and faculty levels, participating in the management group, leading and supporting teaching staff, and coordinating work within the unit with the rest of the university and external partners.

The head of the unit has delegated staff and budget responsibility for about 40 employees (teachers, researchers and doctoral students) at the unit. The management assignment is planned to total 80% of full-time. Remaining time can be used for teaching, research or development projects, in consultation and in agreement with the head of department.

Work assignments include outreach and development of networks and collaborations both within and outside the university.


The position requires experience and demonstrated ability to lead staff and operations and to successfully drive change processes, experience working with the design field and experience from teaching.

Assessment criteria

Particular emphasis is placed on leadership experience, documented ability to lead staff and organisations and the ability to successfully drive change processes.

Educational expertise and artistic expertise are of equal importance, and the following criteria will be given particular emphasis:

  • ability to lead and facilitate collaboration and artistic and artist-led group processes
  • documented ability to lead and develop external partnerships
  • active participation in international and/or national networks within the field
  • documented experience of teaching at university level and experience in developing programmes, course content and examination forms
  • documented research competence and/or competence within artistic development as well as research management experience from a university or art school context or from research and development within another relevant sector
  • experience in developing education in interdisciplinary contexts
  • participation in relevant national and international networks within design practice and research

The assessment of applicants will examine personal suitability for the position and administrative abilities.

The university environment is primarily Swedish speaking, but the Design unit is in part international, which means you need to be able to lead and communicate in both Swedish/Scandinavian and English, both in written and spoken forms. If you do not have a command of Swedish, language courses will be offered.

If you lack training related to teaching and learning in higher education, you will be expected to attend such training or validate the equivalent existing skills.

After an overall assessment, the applicant deemed to have the best potential to carry out the position’s assignments will be chosen. Particular emphasis is placed on personal suitability.


You will be employed as a lecturer in Design and have an assignment as Head of Unit. At the University it is possible to apply for promotion to Senior lecturer.

The position is time limited to five years accordingly to Högskoleförordningen 4kap §10 Lärare inom konstnärlig verksamhet. The position is a full time position located at HDK-Valand. Start date is on a date agreed upon by both parties.

Appointment procedure

The selection process might involve interviews, tests and asking for references.

For questions about the position, contact

Troels Degn Johansson, Head of Department

Therese Vestlund, Human Resources Officer 

Union organisations

Union representatives at University of Gothenburg can be found here:


You apply for the position through the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal by clicking on the “Apply” button. As an applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that your application is complete in accordance with the advertisement for the position and that it is submitted to the university by the closing date. Any documents that cannot be submitted in electronic form are to be sent in triplicate with registration number to:

University of Gothenburg
ATT. Therese Vestlund 
Box 131
405 30 Gothenburg

We wish your application to be written in English.

Applications are to be received no later than: 6 August 2020

The University of Gothenburg works actively to promote an equal work environment and values highly the qualities diversity brings with it.

The university sets salaries on an individual basis.

In accordance with the directions of Sweden’s National Archive Office, the university is obliged to store application documents for two years after the appointment decision. If an applicant for a position specifically requests the return of the documents, the documents will be sent back after these two years; otherwise they will be disposed of.

About Us

Together with the Academy of Music and Drama, HDK-Valand forms Scandinavia’s largest faculty of fine, applied and performing arts, with unique breadth to its artistic education and research. The departments are located in central Gothenburg and work closely with local and regional cultural organisations, a wide-ranging international network and many international collaborators. Read more about HDK-Valand on the Academy’s website.