Director’s word

EDHEA, a unique case in Switzerland

2021 will be all about sound at the EDHEA. Starting this year, our students will be able to specialise in this emerging field and obtain a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, major in Sound Arts. This major, which is unique in western Switzerland, is at the interface between sound studies, sound practices and visual arts. Sound is becoming increasingly important in contemporary art, both in the context of sound art and in connection with video, new technologies and performance art.

The major in Sound Arts offers new possibilities for transdisciplinary research not only in the fields of art and music, but also in health and engineering at the Institute of Visual Arts. Sound gives rhythm to our lives. When a virus paralyses our social rhythm, it also fundamentally changes our sound environment. The constant hum of engines falls silent and gives way to the rustle of nature. Artists can use these modulations, analyse them, transform them and integrate them into their works.

Our Master of Arts in Public Spheres (MAPS) is also undergoing changes. Although its strategic base remains in Sierre, teaching will increasingly take place in different locations. This two-year course encourages artists to explore the relationship between artistic creation and the environmental, social and cultural dimensions of the public sphere.

The EDHEA’s vocational training in graphic design continues to enjoy great popularity. Students carry out projects for partners on a regular basis and thus gain an insight into the professional world. After designing a carriage at the entrance of the company Constellium, students were commissioned to create the visual identity for the 2021/22 programme of the Les Halles theatre in Sierre. Next year, they will design the visual identity of Cirque au Sommet, a circus event that takes place every summer in Crans-Montana.

The EDHEA also organises a personalised one-year programme to prepare future students for university entrance exams. This multidisciplinary offer includes courses in the form of tutorials in disciplines such as fine arts, graphic design, fashion, design or interior design.

The EDHEA is currently located in three different buildings in Sierre. In 2025, the school will move to its new building near the railway station in Sierre where all its activities will be centrally located. This major project, which keeps pace with the school’s growth, is being carried out by the canton of Valais in cooperation with the HES-SO Valais-Wallis. The EDHEA is one of the five schools of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis.

Currently, where many certainties have been shaken by a pandemic, training in artistic creation has a fundamental role to play in society. Culture contributes more than ever to our development and our growth. It promotes co-existence and well-being, despite the constraints and hazards of our time. Against this background, the EDHEA has a duty to be an essential centre for training and cultural research in the ever-progressive canton of Valais.

Jean-Paul Felley