Hilde Kramer's picture
Hilde Kramer

Hilde Kramer

Institutt for design

How may illustration communicate profound human issues considered unrepresented or non-representable?

The artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable explores illustration from a contemporary definition, where choice of media and publication platform is of lesser importance, while focusing on the understanding of the encoded message transpmitted through a visual language. Representation and the narratives of “us” and “the others” is explored in cross-disciplinary projects. Read more on https://illuminating.no 

2023 November 21st Designing with Tactile Experience. Keynote at conference Designing with
Communities University of Minho, Guimamaes, Portugal.
2023 November 2nd Illustration for Our Fingertips. Keynote at Illustration Research Symposium
2023 October 19th Presentation Jewish Cultural Heritage Practices, Perspectives, Challenges
challenges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXgVQjs0mIQ&t=6s
2021-2023 Memory Dialogues: EEA funded cooperation with support from Falstad and the Polin Museum.
Annual workshop with students from Norway, Poland and Germany in Poland, Germany, Latvia
and Norway. https://www.memorydialogues.com
2023 Sympoisum 4 June 29th Illuminating the Non-Representable symposium 3 with exhibition:
2023 Symposium 3 Illuminating the Non-Representable symposium: Work in Progress Symposium at
Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design. Exhibition Rom 61.
2021- Podcast Illustratørpodden: https://soundcloud.com/2021ipodden Part of the project Illuminating
the Non-Representable
2021 Symposium 2 October 15th
-17th Illuminating the Non-Representable symposium 2: Illuminating
the Non-Representable symposium 2 Materiality, Space and Embodiment
2020 Symposium 1 October 19-20th Illuminating the Non-Representable symposium 1: Transposition as
Artistic Practice https://illuminating.no/symposiums/transposition-as-artistic-practice
2019 Engaging the Viewer in a Hyper-Visual Time. Conference Art and Holocaust in Riga
2018 Artikkel Når tilskueren tegner. Formakademisk
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7577/formakademisk.2741
2017 A Reader Experience. Flying Letters. Editor: Nina Schønsby


In the course, the student will formulate and carry out a less extensive project within a self-defined focus area. The aim is to provide insight into the main areas within the field of illustration, i.e. rather than being media-specific, it is about awareness of the coding of visual content into a message that is decoded by the recipient. The subject will specifically deal with portrayal (representation) and stereotypes/conceptions of the Other. Experimentation, development and dissemination in different formats and situations will be emphasized in the course.

The focus project is composed of three parts: Development process of a design/illustration project, written and visual reflection as well as dissemination in the form of visual and oral presentation.

The course introduces the student to various writing practices aimed at design contexts, the Copyright Act and the use of relevant reference systems.

DES310 23H / Design practice 1 - Uncovering

The aim of the course is to prepare students for work on their own master's project.

The subject must convey an understanding of specific investigations and precision of the further project work, in order to uncover, clarify, expand or refine key questions.


The study covers the topics

1. Background and motivation, including the project's social relevance

2. Main questions and objectives

3. Project process with progress plan for implementation

4. Assessments related to resource use and form of presentation

The students carry out a preliminary project with investigations through design. Depending on the individual master's project, the investigations and experimentation may be related to materials, processes, scaling or other conditions.

VIS245 23H / Focus area within visual communication

In the course, the student will formulate and carry out a less extensive project within a self-defined focus area. The aim is to prepare the student as best as possible for his final exam project. Experimentation, development and dissemination in different formats and situations will be emphasized in the subject.

The focus project is composed of three parts: Design process, written and visual reflection as well as dissemination in the form of visual and oral presentation.

The course introduces the student to various writing practices aimed at design contexts, the Copyright Act and the use of relevant reference systems.

Illuminating the Non-Representable (2024) Journal of Illustration

Tactile Picturebooks: Worldmaking through our Fingertips (2024) Journal of Illustration 

Illustration as Commemoration and the Question of Aura (2024)

International conference Polin Museum: Jewish Cultural Heritage - Practices, Perspectives, Challenges 

The Transposing Illustrator (2023) Journal of Illustration 

Challenges and opportunities meeting the authorial illustrator that interacts, documents and bears witness of the unrepresented and the non-representable.

Når tilskueren tegner. Minnehandlinger og formidling av sensitive emner i det 21. århundre. Formakademisk 

Vol 11 Nr. 3 (2018): Tegning. Temanummer. 


Designing with Communities


The first conference Designing with Communities at University of Minho in November 2023 took its inspiration from Paolo Freire, and his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 2017). Freire proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society. Instead of thinking about the student as a «piggy-bank» that could be filled with knowledge, what Freire calls the ‘banking model of education’, he suggests to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge. This project is in the initial stage, with partners from several universities in Brazil, Portugal, UK, Norway, and Australia meet up to discuss common practices and individual research topics. It is planned to continue for a period of at least four years. 


Illuminating the Non-Representable


A central topic has been the representation and the narratives of “us” and “the others” in cross-disciplinary projects. Participants from different disciplines have explored the transformative role of illustration in contemporary communication. This project consists of three symposia and three illuminations (three illustration/design projects exploring different aspects of communication challenges). The artistic research has unfolded in the symbiosis of the symposia and the projects. The four work packages have their own pages, but smaller events such as dissemination and workshops after June 2023 can be found at Research Catalogue.


Memory Dialogues 

(2016 - 2023)

This is a  international crossdisciplinary cooperation project between the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, UiB, University College of Volda (Norway), University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe (Germany), University of Łódź (Poland), the Strzeminski Art Academy (Poland), Centrum Dialogu im. Marka Edelmana Łódź (Poland), Falstadsenteret (Norway) and the Polin Museum (Poland). It was initiated in 2016 and is centered around a yearly workshop in Lodz until 2020. The central question of the workshop is: How can we convey the Holocaust to a young audience? We focuse on developing concepts within visual communication and participatory design. You develop your skills in research, cross-disciplinary design thinking, participatory design. The course takes place in Gdansk, Chełmno and Łódź in Poland, and focuses on the history of the Jewish ghetto during WWII, and challenges of the area today. https://www.memorydialogues.com


Hilde Kramer (born 1960) is a Norwegian Professor of Illustration at the Faculty of Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. Since 2020, she has led the artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable which explores illustration in communication of profound human issues that are considered unrepresented or unrepresentable. What often characterizes her work, it the question of what defines illustration in current times.

Educated at The Oslo NationalAcademy of the Arts (KHIO), Hilde Kramer has illustrated and authored a number of books, with an emphasis on picture books for children. She received several awards for her book illustrations, including the Ministry of Culture's special award 2012 for her "contribution to making the picture book genre an art experience for children".  Since 2019 she is an honorary member of GRAFILL, a Norwegian organization for visual communication, that operates as an interest organization for everyone who works or studies in design and illustration.

The work of an illustrator often involves a close collaboration with other modalities, such as text. The illustrators do not only view the world through their own eyes, but one must also imagine how it can best be transmitted to people who are different from ourselves. While this can challenge one’s own perception of identity, it simultaneously creates new perspectives and, in many cases, expands one’s horizons, an understanding Kramer takes with her and actively uses in her research.

Kramer’s artistic research largely deals with identity and occupational roles in general, and with highlighting the illustrator’s role, identity and occupational opportunities in particular. In the context of identity, Kramer examines the use of visual rhetoric, semiotics and semiology. Since semiotics is an integrative discipline embracing both music, art and design, can it serve as a common language within a constellation of these fields?