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Interview with Marije de Haas: New Head of Programme

Marije de Haas has been appointed as the head of the Digital Design Master's programme. She took over this role in September from Gabriele Ferri, who had held this position with distinction for the last two years.

New at AUAS/HvA

Marije de Haas is not just taking on a new role: she is also new at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). Marije: 'I started working at AUAS in September, and work at the Digital Design Master's four days a week. Before this, I lived and worked in England for 15 years and in Sweden for 10, as an associate professor at the renowned Umeå Institute of Design. I am also a designer at my own design agency, F31.'


Within her role as head of the Master Digital Design, Marije will decide the direction of the programme, primarily regarding the content. Marije: 'With our team, we are developing the programme to better prepare students for the future. Design is practised with a history of industrial production and commercial growth. In the last 20 years or so, design has evolved into being largely human-centric, but we are now looking at people in relation to their environment, adding value in a balanced system. Sustainability, accessibility and more-than-human-perspectives are crucial themes in these efforts.'

Connecting education, research and industry

We are focusing on the connection between education, research and industry. Marije: 'Research results often remain within the academic bubble of research publications and conferences. It takes a long time for them to seep through to practice and industry. We can make this bridge by offering students access to research which the student can implement in their client projects.'


Marije: 'We are going to work on a positive future within the framework of digital design. I am a “tech-optimist”, even though there are some problematic aspects, such as regarding Big Data and privacy, with many (un)intended consequences. Digital design has an important place in our society. It is important to understand the influence and power of digital and realise that designers must take responsibility for the things we introduce in society. This is what we work with in the degree programme. We aim to educate responsible, confident, critical and ethical designers, to which the industry has reacted positively. We have a great cooperative relationship with design agencies and clients, and together we collaborate to shape a generation of designers ready for the challenges of the future.'

Passionate programme manager

Frank Kresin, Dean of the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries at AUAS/HvA: 'I'm glad that, in Marije de Haas, we've found a great successor to Gabriele Ferri. Marije is a passionate programme manager who operates on the cutting edge of education, research and industry. She has international experience and has a clear picture of what capabilities and knowledge students need to contribute, through design, to a better planet. I am convinced that the Master's programme will continue to thrive under her watch.’

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