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Design Expert Amir Berbić Named Dean of VCUarts Qatar

VCUarts Qatar Building

Amir Berbić, a Professor of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been appointed Dean of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City.

Berbić 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 at 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. Berbić said:

VCUQatar ArtsVCUarts 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.’

I am inspired by the cooperation between VCU and Qatar Foundation to establish a world-class arts institution in the Gulf — one that responds to the local context while having a global impact. I am especially excited by the possibilities to expand on VCU’s relationships with the other esteemed institutions in Education City, an academic environment with colleges from worldwide universities operating in proximity, and allowing students and faculty opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration.’

Prior to joining the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014, Berbić was on the Art and Design faculty of the American University of Sharjah. He was on the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Chicago board of directors from 2015-18, serving as Vice-President and Co-Chair of Education.

Berbić’s work has been recognised in numerous publications, conferences and exhibitions including Design Issues, Visual Communication, Print, Graphics, 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, Berbić immigrated to the United States 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.

VCU President Michael Rao, PhD, said:

It’s a pleasure to welcome Amir Berbić to VCUarts Qatar. I am confident the university’s legacy of groundbreaking innovation and creativity will continue with Dean Berbić as leader. I look forward to working with him for years to come.’

Nancy Scott, Acting Dean of the VCU School of the Arts, said:

A warm welcome to Dean Berbić on behalf of the VCUarts and VCUarts Qatar communities. We are very fortunate to have identified an esteemed educator, designer and scholar to lead VCUarts Qatar and its valued faculty at this pivotal intersection of developing new and innovative disciplines for our creative and engaged students.’

Berbić succeeds Executive Dean Donald N. Baker, PhD., who will continue in his role through 31 December.

Find out more about VCUarts Qatar at

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