50 years of cooperation in the higher education for visual media, especially the graphic arts technology and management.

The foundation took place in Lausanne in 1957, on the occasion of the international fair for the graphic arts industry "Graphic 57", under the patronage of the “International Master Printers Association” (IMPA). Several principals of Higher Educational Institutes for Graphic Arts Technology and Management met on that occasion with the representatives of the printers associations in order to discuss problems of the higher education and the possibility of a narrower cooperation among all European schools. The result was the foundation of an association: the international circle of the principals of Educational Institutes for Graphic Arts Technology and Management (IC). The first President was Dr. Gustav Barthel, Director of the higher vocational school for the graphic arts and professional training in Stuttgart. As a scientific of humanistic and arts, he was teaching history of writing, book formation, art history and psychology, and directed the Stuttgart school since 1952. In the year 1961, he got the first professorship in the house and 1963, after the separation of the two schools, he became principal of the higher vocational school, which he handed over in 1969 as an engineering college to his successor Dr. Horst Ohlhaver. On that occasion he passed also the presidency of the IC to his colleague of the school in Vienna, Hofrat Dr. Wilhelm Mutschlechner. He died at the 26. January 1973.

In this first life phase, the IC corresponded to a relatively intimate circle, with a majority of European schools. Under the culturally and arts oriented president Gustav Barthel all the cultural heritage of Gutenberg and the printer guild were favoured. At the same time most of the relatively young schools (the Leipzig master school could not take part in the IC for political reasons) were occupied with the acknowledgment as higher educational establishments. This was of importance since new education structures had to be created after the end of world war, 1945 in Europe, which were compared among the different countries and were adjusted partially together. The members of the IC felt comradely interconnected in accordance with the printer guild thought. The first meeting after the foundation took place in 1958 on the occasion of the third Drupa in Düsseldorf. Afterwards, the members of IC met in the different schools: 1960 in Amsterdam, 1961 in Stockholm, 1962 in Milano, 1963 in Vienna, 1964 in Berlin, 1965 in Copenhagen, 1966 in Munich, 1967 in Paris, 1968 in Stuttgart, 1969 in London and 1970 in Vienna. Generally each year one of the member schools was visited. This allowed the exchange of information and comparisons on the spot. Also the members visited important printing shops and suppliers for graphic arts industries as well as cultural institutions. At the 8th meeting, 1965 in Copenhagen the present members decided moreover to extend the IC also to schools of American and east European countries.

On the occasion of the Viennese meeting in the year 1970, Gustav Barthel stepped into the retirement and handed over the presidency of the IC officially to his Viennese colleague Hofrat Dr. Wilhelm Mutschlechner. This came from another professional environment as his predecessor. After a study of chemistry, physics and philosophy, the 2nd world war led him into the areas of the chemical analysis and the mechanical testing. After the end of war, he continued his thesis about a photo-chemical reaction and finished his doctor thesis 1947 as an assistant of the laboratory for material testing at the “Graphische” in Vienna. Beginning 1948 he became teacher and 1955 he was chosen as manager of the attempt institution. In 1964 he was elected as director of the "Graphische".

Beside school-political and acknowledgement questions, which depended strongly on the laws of the individual countries, also now more and more technical topics was treated. So, at the 14. Conference 1973 in Gent a narrower cooperation between the schools and the institutes of graphic arts and photographic research and testing, of the corresponding countries was stimulated. This was joint in the International Association of Research Organizations for the Information, Media and Graphic Arts Industries (IARIGAI). In some countries, like for example Austria, these were integrated into the school. In other countries, like Switzerland, both were of each other independent institutions, which worked narrowly together in technical areas. In other countries, the relationship changed between hard competition thinking and total mutual non-observance. Among others, such situations consisted in Germany and Belgium. Fruit of these considerations was a common interest between the IC and the international organization of the graphic research institute IARIGAI.

In 1977, the members of the IC met to the 15. Conference in Wuppertal on the occasion of the Drupa.
In the same year, the IC gave official statutes to itself as a not registered free association. This formulated the usual regulations in generous way, as name and seat, purpose, membership, funding, meetings of its members and the executive of the IC.

Further Conferences was organized 1978 in Lausanne, 1979 in Zagreb, (in the then Yugoslavia, a country of the Eastern block), 1981 in Italy (Verona und Torino) and 1982 again in Lausanne, where the esig+, the Swiss engineering college for printing and packaging celebrated its 10 years of existence with the European colloquium: “Printing today and tomorrow”. At this occasion, the president Wilhelm Mutschlechner resigned from this charge, in order to prepare for its retirement in 1983. As third president in the history of the IC was elected Professor Antonio Abbondio the director of the esig+ in Lausanne.
At this meeting end of October 1982 in Lausanne could also be celebrated the 25 year of existence of the IC, the first 10 years of the esig+, as well as the 30 year old jubilee of the Ugra, the Swiss Association for the Promotion of Research in the Graphic Arts Industry. It was three solemn ceremonies with the participation of the authorities of the Swiss Federal Government, the State Government of Vaud, the Mayor of Lausanne and numerous representatives of the industries. A memorial writing over the first 25 years of the IC was created as a gift for Wilhelm Mutschlechner, who was elected Honorary president of the IC. In this memorial book all the member schools introduced themselves in original way.

The intent to organize the next conference at the Technical University of Rochester (USA) failed because of the difficult economic situation at the beginning of the 80s. So, the 20th conference took place in May 1985 again in Lausanne, together with the European Colloquium "print finishing today and tomorrow" at the esig+. As novelty, two teams focussed on specific topics were formed. Leaded by members of the IC, they included specialists from the own or from other schools. This permitted to have active connections between the specialists of the individual schools and widened strongly the work basis of the IC on selected goals. It also became possible to submit international projects with participation of several schools and to execute them together. The first team dealt with the training in the new area of electronic data processing (EDP) and should help the individual schools to come on this correctly and efficiently. Leaders of this group were Professor Dr. Klaus Tradowsky from Berlin and lecturer André Van Huffel from Gent. The second team, managed by Professor Christian Schade from Wuppertal dedicated its activity on Gravure Processing and the corresponding requirements on training. Both teams began their fertile activity of several years with the analysis of the state of the art in the schools by means of a questionnaire.

The 21st Conference of the IC took place in May 1986 on the occasion of the Drupa in Düsseldorf. On this occasion the Gravure study group organized a joint meeting of the IC with specialists of the European Rotogravure Association (ERA), the Gravure Education Foundation (GEF) and the American Gravure Technical Association (GTA) which came to the Drupa.

In May 1988, the IC members were invited to another jubilee celebration. The "Graphische" in Vienna became 100 year old and the president of IC had the honour of holding the celebration speech. Also the progressed activities of the two teams were discussed and it was decided, to get official the symbolic yearly contribution of 50 CHF per school. This allowed to a majority of schools to prove their affiliation to the IC on their authorities and to announce corresponding expenses.

The 23rd Conference took place in May 1990 in Wuppertal, simultaneously with the Drupa. Beside the activity reports of the two teams, the mutual acknowledgment of engineer diplomas (Europe engineer for "Europa92") was treated and a team under the lead of Prof, Dr. Hartmann Liebetruth from Wuppertal was formed to continue this project. Moreover, a team was proposed on stimulation of Professor Page Crouch of the Clemson University (USA) to pursue the waste disposal problem in the printing industry. Also, was organized a gala dinner of the GEF with honour of the prize-winners of the student competition on Gravure.

At the 24th Conference in May 1992 in the new school building of Gent (B), it was decided at first to replace the previous brochure presenting the member schools with a more currently loose leaf collection. The possibility, to take part in the European project for the training simulator PrintSim of the Technical Research Center of of Finland (VTT), was seized from different member schools. The Gravure team presented the operational requirements for a Gravure testing machine and corresponding alternative suggestions. The EDP team had worked out training material for PostScript and the affiliated programming. The Europe Engineer team started a subgroup to itself to the topic of the multilingual training at the schools. After the Conference, some participants of Gent travelled to Paris to the TPG'92.

Also the 25th Conference in April 1994 in Torino and Verona was very busy. Topics were a simulation trainer for rotative printing machines (SIR). Another simulation involved the areas of the production planning control (PPS) as well as the factory planning, which were developed in Leipzig. Advances were also shown with the current documentation of the schools and with the introduction of at least one foreign language, as well as with the student mobility program and the mutual acknowledgment of the study performances. Finally, Professor Dr. Hartmann Liebetruth from Wuppertal was elected as the 4th President of the IC. Antonio Abbondio had expressed his resignation wish already before and has been elected unanimously as a honorary president.

As an economist, Hartmann Liebetruth promoted especially the industrial management and the business administration for printing and publishing industries, including the costs and their calculation. The 26th Conference in May 1995 was again in Wuppertal, parallel to the Drupa'95. Simultaneously took place, the yearly meeting of the "European Graphic Students Association" (Reéig), which had been founded in 1992 in Lausanne, a student initiative in some member schools of the IC. This offered the opportunity of fertile thought exchanges about student exchange, college cooperation programs and workplace situation after study. In the meantime the European Erasmus Program was being replaced by the more extensive Sokrates Program of the EU. The IC member list now included already over hundred schools and institutions. To the conference, over 80 participants had been present.

In May 1996 the members met to their 27th Conference in Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Tilburg (NL). The work program consisted substantially of papers of representatives of the schools and graphic arts industry suppliers.

On invitation of Professor Dr. Alexander Zyganenko, the leader of the State Academy for Printing and Editing, the 28th Conference was in Moscow at the end of May 1997. Beside numerous visits and sightseeing’s, the participants got also an insight to the situation of the Russian printing and editing industry.

The 29th Conference was even more distant. In August 1998 some IC members met in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Further the Conferences followed after shorter periods: in May 1999 in Stockholm (S), in April 2000 in Wuppertal, at the end of May 2001 in Saint Petersburg (Russia), in November 2002 in Stuttgart, 2003 in Taschkent, 2004 to the Drupa'04 in Düsseldorf, 2005 in May in Lviv (Ukraine) and in October in Hefei (China) as well as in November 2006 in Manipal (India). At this, until now last Conference, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Faigle from Stuttgart was chosen to the be the 5th President of the IC. The now retired Hartmann Liebetruth was elected unanimously as a honorary president.

As main focuses of the programs for these member conferences, the intended goals for 2002 in Stuttgart can be mentioned exemplary: Create a platform for knowledge exchange and intercultural exchange, Presentation of the school and its most important industrial partners as well as the region of the host school, and friendly contact care, including teachers and students. The opening of the IC Eastern Europe's borders that took place under Hartmann Liebetruth is remarkable as well as the presence of the IC in China.

During the first 50 years of its existence, many world-wide personal friendly and comradely contacts has been originated thanks to the IC. Some of these friendships continue to exist also after the end of the professional activity. Also important are the possibilities to exchange and cooperation, which helped most member schools to be known and to have successful activities even outside of their own country or their own regional borders.

The IC has celebrated its 50 years of existence in October 2007 at its foundation place in Lausanne, on the occasion of its 39th Conference. The host was the “Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud“ (heig-vd), a member school of the big College of Western Switzerland (hes-so), in which the former esig+ became the department of communication.

Should much friendship and success be granted for the next 50 years of the IC, to the welfare of all the students, the teachers, the leaders and the involved authorities, as well as to the printing and publishing industry, which meanwhile turned into the communication industry.

Antonio Abbondio

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