Hyper Island Hits Boulder and London

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Just when the industry thought it needed some new media schooling, Hyper Island, the Sweden-based digital university known for turning out top interactive talent through a decidedly non-didactic approach, has expanded to the U.S. and the U.K. This comes on the heels of the June announcement that MDC Partners, which owns Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and the University of Colorado at Boulder have partnered to open a digital program called Boulder Digital Works, which will be home to Hyper Island's first U.S. courses.

Starting in September in Boulder, Hyper Island will be offering three five-day classes geared toward advertising professionals who are looking to increase their digital skills and fluency. Over the last few months, the school has also introduced its Master Classes to advertising professionals in the U.K., where its faculty has worked with agencies to help bring their talent and leadership up to speed with digital changes.

Hyper Island's Mattias Hansson, speaking at Creativity's CAT conference
Hyper Island's Mattias Hansson, speaking at Creativity's CAT conference
According to Hyper Island CEO Mattias Hansson, the Hyper Island classes at BDW will be intensive versions of programs offered at the flagship school, two Master Classes focused respectively on interactive creative and interactive production/project management, as well as a leadership program. The latter famously has roots in Swedish military training and incorporates a program known as UGL, or Understanding Group and Leader, in which participants undergo rigorous group dynamics and leadership assessment in order determine their individual strengths. This will be the first time that Hyper Island will offer the course outside of Sweden.

BDW's Hyper Island faculty will be comprised of industry professionals from Scandinavia and beyond. Teachers of the leadership class specifically are licensed by the Swedish Armed Forces (although it's not certain whether they can really pass these exams.) Each Hyper Island class will hold no less than 12 and no more than 20 students, and the courses will be offered at least once a month, with more sessions added to fit demand.

Hyper Island's offerings are separate from BDW's 60-week comprehensive certificate program in digital arts and sciences.

As for why Hyper Island chose Boulder as its first U.S. home, Hansson says BDW "shared a lot of our vision regarding non-academic training when it comes to digital communication. We're so unscientific, in a way. We don't have a book. It's all in my and my colleagues' heads." Hansson notes that many other schools already have approached Hyper Island about partnerships, but they weren't the right culture fit given their accreditation needs. "At a very early stage BDW said it wanted to do things in a similar way to us, and no one else has said that."

Hansson says details on Hyper Island's U.S. courses will be available starting tomorrow at the school's website or on the Boulder Digital Works site.
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