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A whole life in graphic production

Published: 4 May 2021

It was a coincidence that 18-year-old Elisabeth Sandin ended up at Luleå University in 1976. At that time, the Swedish Public Employment Service offered emergency work as an alternative for jobseekers, something she took up. Elisabeth ended up at the printing house at Luleå University, with no experience in the field, but remained for the rest of her working life.

In 1973, the printing house at Luleå University started with two employees, a printing press and a copier. When Elisabeth Sandin started working three years later, she had never seen a copier or similar before and ended up by the bookbinding. There she had to bind degree projects, organize paper so that everything was in the right order and staple together materials that were ordered. But Elisabeth had to quickly expand her knowledge.

- Even though I have been at the same job all the time, I have had different tasks, Elisabeth Sandin explains and tells about not only her, but also the printing company's, development.

Many of the tasks required at the printing house in the 70's, when Elisabeth started working, do not need to be done today. Then you had to produce a printing plate before each new print. With the help of a light table, you had to mount each side separately, and then copy in a sheet metal machine before you could develop. Since then, the technology at the printing house has developed at a rapid pace. She sees it as having done a journey at work, learning bookbinding, printing and graphic design.

- It was a lot of organizing work. Sometimes when we had a lot, we had to borrow a classroom next door to have space to put up all the piles of paper after a big print and sort them in the right order, says Elisabeth. Today, the copier runs everything in one go after a few clicks on a computer.

Although Elisabeth thinks it was fun when new machines came in that are more efficient, technological development has also increased expectations of her job. With faster technology, faster work is expected, even though it still requires preparation. But Elisabeth has never been alone but has had colleagues to lean on. The gang at the printing house has been good and Elisabeth says that the times that have been stressful or difficult, they have had each other to help or just lighten the mood with.

Elisabeth Sandin, like many others, also testifies to the well-known family atmosphere at Luleå University. Even at the printing house, they kept track of the other employees and they had a lot of contact with the students when the printing house did work for them. For the students, it was, among other things, invitations and songbooks for parties and badges and other material before the start of studies that were arranged. Today, Graphic Services, as it is now called, only prints degree projects for students.

- You really noticed when the students left in the spring, because it was so dead at our office, Elisabeth says.

Elisabeth Sandin has worked at the printing house for 45 years. She believes that the university should see it as a good grade, that she enjoyed it so much that she stayed all her working life.