My Cumulus PLUS+ Story by Polise Moreira De Marchi (PhD)

Representing University Center Senac – Sao Paulo, Brasil
Participated in the Cumulus conference To get there: designing together
April 11-13, 2018 in Paris, France Hosted by CESAAP

During the days of the Cumulus Conference Paris 2018, I was stimulated to look and think the future from the design perspective as an agent of transformation and construction of a world in transition. The horizon of action is vast and the potentialities are countless.

Design has shaped and transformed the world around us. In recent years, it has been widely recognized as a potential driving force for innovation in convergence with other areas of knowledge in different educational and professional territories. Thus, attending the Cumulus Paris 2018 Conference was a unique opportunity that definitely contributed to broaden my vision on the role and nature of design, as well as the process of teaching it along with other areas such as art and technology.

The theme “To get there: Design together” instigated me from the very first moment. Being able to participate in an environment focused on the sharing of experiences, reflections, concerns, researches and projects in Design was decisive when it came to applying for the Cumulus Plus + grant program. By the way, I would like to thank all those responsible at the Cumulus Association for awarding me the grant and giving me the opportunity to take part in this event and represent Brazil, a country in which design must assume the leading role as an inclusive and valued social agent of culture and of natural biodiversity. In addition, it is very gratifying to be part of an event that understands the future of teaching and learning design from the horizon of collaboration, opening space for other Institutions and countries, especially those who belong to Global South.
Although I have already participated in several international design events, the Cumulus Paris 2018 was particularly special. The theme “To get there: Design together” was brilliantly put into action through the diversity of design educational environments that hosted the event. The four Parisian Schools of Art and Design, Boulle, Duperré, Estienne and Ensaama shared their spaces, expertise, knowledge and kindness welcoming all participants. One remarkable point was the way their students were engaged in the Conference and their pride to show and talk about their schools. They emphasized even more the idea behind the theme of “design together”.

Each keynote echoed differently in my mind and enabled me to establish a net of new reflections. For example, Gilles Garel discussed innovation from concept-knowledge design theory pointing out the need to combine science and creativity in order to achieve innovation within disruptive scenarios through the use of design processes. Alexandra Midal spoke about learning and communication through images reinforcing its language role in the context of design. In the same way, Céline Poisson presented her reflection on the language of design from the point of view of Semiotics, explaining that designers play with signs and therefore create languages through their projects. Among all the keynotes perhaps the most compelling one was that of Nelly Ben Hayoun, who discussed design and experience through her provocative talk about technology, future, chaos, and impossible projects in the Grand Amphithéâtre of the Sorbonne. Among the various projects presented following her “total bombardment philosophy” the “University of the Underground” showed how education can allow changes and critical reflections through the use of experiential and design practices.

In addition to the keynotes, the oral presentations distributed in four main subjects “Language, Innovation, Conflicts, Happy Alone/Actors” further broadened Conference’s main theme. Among them, Heidrun Mumper-Drumm’s presentation “Life cycle design: connecting life cycle thinking with design innovation” was inspiring, mainly considering the discussion of sustainability as a design practice. Denver Hendricks in “Decolonization in Tertiary Design Education” has brought to the fore the appreciation of the history and personal culture of his students as a fundamental part of the learning process in design.

Another very relevant experience was to participate in the workshop “IxDA Working Group – 101 guide to interaction design education for the next decade” conducted by Alok Nandi and Eija Salm, where issues such as design vs. disruptive technologies, teaching for new upcoming jobs, academic vs. professional approach, ethics and sustainability, interaction design curriculum and so on were debated.

I would also like to mention the cultural activities and visits promoted by the Conference, especially the Museum of Arts and Crafts. As a repository of innovations and human genius in science and technology, this place is a source of inspiration.

During the days of the Cumulus Conference Paris 2018, I was stimulated to look and think the future from the design perspective as an agent of transformation and construction of a world in transition. The horizon of action is vast and the potentialities are countless.

I thank the Cumulus Association for this opportunity and experience.

Polise Moreira De Marchi (PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Digital Design
University Center Senac – Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo, Brazil
polise.mmarchi@senac.sp.br

About Cumulus PLUS+

The aim is to create the opportunity for friendship between people and generate partnership and exchange of knowledge between the different institutions. Cumulus mobilizes candidates with a travel grant to come over to the conferences under the Cumulus umbrella. The target group are academics and staff working in colleges and universities in art, design and media in higher education from different parts of the world and countries less familiar to Cumulusians.
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