Exit ecav, enter édhéa

Sierre, 10 January 2019

Names carry a history, but they should also fit the current state of affairs. The name of the École Cantonale d’Art du Valais could no longer fully express what this 70-year-old institution has become. As of 10 January 2019, as befits its double function as a school of applied arts – with a strong focus on graphic design – and a “Haute École” of art and design, the name of our school has been changed to École de Design et Haute École d’Art du Valais, or édhéa.
But there is more: on 1 January 2019, édhéa joined the network HES·SO Valais-Wallis and its other four members:
Haute École d’Ingénierie
Haute École de Gestion
Haute École de Santé
Haute École de Travail Social.

The full integration into HES-SO Valais-Wallis is an opportunity to develop new academic collaborations among its members. One instance, in the field of research, is the newly born ArtinLab, an idea incubator where scientists and artists work together to find new ways to address social issues.
As for our research institute, with over twenty years of experience, it has now joined the other eight institutes of HES-SO Valais-Wallis.
The last days of 2018 gave us a glimpse of the future, after our Council of State announced the construction of a new building for our school. The project is the fruit of a joint collaboration between the City and the Canton. Soon after its establishment in Sierre in 1997, our school started feeling constrained by the narrowness and inadequacy of its premises.
According to the Department of Economic Affairs and Education of the Canton of Valais, the costs of the project are evaluated between 30 and 35 millions CHF.
According to the Law on the location of tertiary education school and on the contribution of host municipalities, the Canton will finance 90% and the City of Sierre 10% of the project. The City will also provide a building site. The details of the project (exact location, time frame) still need to be fine-tuned, but we are aiming for 2023.
We are also delighted to announce the creation of two new artist residencies among the opportunities offered to EDHÉA graduates: two 3-month residencies at La Bisque in La Tour-de-Peilz, and an exceptional residency in the aboriginal lands of Australia, fruit of a partnership with Foundation Opale in Lens.
2019 also marks our school’s 70-year anniversary. The dancewalk by Foofwa d’Imobilité will be a spectacular highlight of the celebrations throughout our Canton. The Ultra Valais dancewalk will last 9 days (from 28 September to 6 October) and will take its participants from the Rhône Glacier to the village of Bouveret.
But there will be many more projects during this anniversary year, thanks to a network of partnerships developed throughout the years and expanded in the past few months – a network that connects our school and its students not only to a region with a strong cultural potential, but also to the international scene.
Our open doors on Saturday 26 January will be one of the first opportunities to discover the new visual identity of our school, developed by the studio baldinger·vu-huu.

Jean-Paul Felley
édhéa director