Amir Berbic, a professor of design at the University of Illinois, Chicago, has been appointed dean of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) effective from August 1. Berbic succeeds executive dean Donald N Baker who will continue in his role through December 31.
Berbic previously served as associate dean for faculty affairs of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; chair of graphic design; and as acting director of the School of Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has worked in collaboration with cultural organisations, arts institutions and publishers. His scholarly and creative work examines the role design can have in shaping identities of places.
“VCUarts Qatar is nimble, dynamic, experimental, and it is a lab for innovative ideas that emerge out of research, teaching and student initiatives within a very unique environment,” Berbic said. “I am inspired by the co-operation between VCU and Qatar Foundation to establish a world-class arts institution in the Gulf — one that responds to the local context while having global impact. I am especially excited by the possibilities to expand on VCU’s relationships with the other esteemed institutions in the Education City, an academic environment with colleges from worldwide universities operating in proximity, and allowing students and faculty opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration.”
Berbic’s work has been recognised in numerous publications, conferences and exhibitions including Design Issues, Visual Communication, Print, Graphis, The Society of Typographic Arts, the International Council of Design, AIGA Design Educators Community, TypeCon and Salone del Mobile in Milan. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Berbic immigrated to the US in the 1990s where he completed his studies and worked in editorial design and publishing. He holds an MFA in visual communication from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Amir Berbic to VCUarts Qatar,” said VCU president, Michael Rao. “I am confident the university’s legacy of groundbreaking innovation and creativity will continue with dean Berbic as leader. I look forward to working with him for years to come.”