Want to achieve something that matters? Think big. We did — and went from idea to inauguration in six years.

The Arts Campus has now been officially inaugurated. Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Bildmuseet and Humlab-X now have a common campus on the banks of the Umeälven river - a unique creative environment that is also home to Sliperiet, a dynamic environment for researchers, students, companies and public organisations.

- The Arts Campus is the single biggest project in the history of Umeå University since its opening in 1965. The aim is for Umeå to become a creative centre on the world map, says Lena Gustafsson, the university's vice-chancellor.

Courses on the Arts Campus are distinctive. The School of Architecture on the Arts Campus is the first school of architecture in Sweden to have an artistic profile. The Institute of Design leads the field in several international rankings. At the Academy of Fine Arts the focus is on individual artistic expression and on art's critical potential.

- We have very high hopes for synergies from the campus. It will be a powerhouse where the whole is greater than the parts, says Kjell Jonsson, pro-vice-chancellor and chair of the Arts Campus' steering committee, who goes on:

- At the same time it is important that the Arts Campus does not live a life of its own - it is part of Umeå University and we also want to see greater collaboration with the other parts of the university. This initiative must benefit everyone.

New buildings complement the old

Arkitekthögskolans fasad

The Academy of Fine Arts was first out when it moved into the old wood mill in 1987. It was followed in 1989 by the Institute of Design, which has been converted and extended several times over the years.

The new School of Architecture was opened in 2010 and Bildmuseet, which moved down from Gammlia, where it had has its home since it opened in 1982, moved into its new premises in spring 2012.  The different buildings have also been inter-connected by means of a below-ground-level building by the water, containing among other things a café, a library and the Humlab-X digital experimental workshop.

All the new buildings have been designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with White in Sweden

Inaugurations in May 2012

Bildmuseet "jumped the gun" by opening on May 19 and the entire Arts Campus - which is not only a place but also an ambition - was officially inaugurated on 25-26 May.

The idea is that the Arts Campus will act as an arena for education, research and professional activities in architecture, design, art and digital cultures - a creative environment that is somewhat unique for Sweden, Europe and perhaps the entire world.

The university and Umeå Municipality will be investing a total of about 350 million SEK in the Arts Campus over a 6-year period, including a donation of 36.6 million SEK from the Baltic Group Foundation.

Sliperiet - an incubator for companies in creative industries

In a later stage, the old pulp mill will be converted into an incubator and help entrepreneurs by providing them with active, focused business support, office services, technical and commercial networks and financial support - all in the same creative environment. Just like Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI), the Arts Campus' incubator will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Uminova Innovation.

The Arts Campus is also part of Umeå's efforts as European Capital of Culture 2014 and is intended to be a stimulating and exciting meeting place for both inhabitants and visitors.

 Anna Valtonen och Peter Kjaer

What some people are saying about the Arts Campus

"I am convinced that creative thinking is better when different backgrounds come together."
Anna Valtonen, Rector of Umeå Institute of Design

"The prerequisites for something extraordinary arising out of Umeå University's Arts Campus are fantastically good. They have both a pioneering spirit, ambitions and resources. Being part of it from the beginning is incredibly exciting."
Lars Nittve, artistic advisor to Bildmuseet

"The opening of the university laid the foundation for the attractive, creative city that Umeå is today. One example is Umeå University's Institute of Design, which is one of the best in the world. The Arts Campus will further strengthen that image."
Eva Nygren, CEO, Sweco Sverige

"At the Arts Campus we can think freely in new directions, new environments and with new angles of approach."
Jana Revedin, architect and teacher at the School of Architecture

Photos and illustrations

Photo of the Arts Campus: Johan Gunséus
Illustration: White Arkitekter/Henning Larsen Arkitekter
Photo of the front of the School of Architecture: Andreas Nilsson
Photo of Anna Valtonen and Peter Kjaer: Elin Berge