Cumulus PLUS+ grantees reporting from Cumulus Bogota 2019 conference

Reports by Andreia De Bernardi, Kenan Zekic and Samuel Kwame
Cumulus Bogota 2019: The Design After conference
October 31 – November 1, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia hosted by Universidad de los Andes

Read more about the grantees and their backgrounds.

Read more about the conference.

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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REPORT by Andreia Menezes De Bernardi, Brazil

Having been granted the Grant CUMULUS Plus + was an honor to me and to the State of Minas Gerais School of Design – UEMG. Since January this year, when I first had contact with CUMULUS, until the moment I started writing this report, I have been having pleasant surprises of all senses and aspects. All the warm welcome I received from all those taking part in the conference, as well as from those I met in Bogotá, an amazing city with such friendly hosts, captivated me from the very beginning.

October 28, Monday I participated in the pre-conference activities, starting from the Working Group Tenkua, Rediseñando Futuros Para Ciudades Rotas, with Karla Paniagua and Paulina Cornejo, during which I had valuable experiences carried out by Centro de diseño, cine y televisión – Center of Design, Cinema and Television from México. I have noticed a lot in common with what we have researched in the Integrated Center of Social Design in UEMG. It was a very rich activity, balancing theory and practice, and also the exchange of knowledge and perspectives among the participants. In this meeting, I met Carolina García Silvia, a colombian who speaks some portuguese, a previous student with UNIANDES, who made me feel at home.

It is important to highlight that these experiences in UNIANDES were wonderful and I was thoroughly and positively impressed with the venue and infrastrucutre of the university. I have participated in Working Group DXCC Bogotá 2019 – Design For Collaborative Cities: Collaborative People In Challenging Places. Several researchers and professionals presented their projects and afterwards we had discussions in subgroups. Meeting Enzo Manzini, among others from all over the globe, enabled me to think about the possibilities of stepping forward into action to collaboration in different challenging contexts, which was something absolutely invigorating. In this meeting, I met two other brazilians: Carla Cipolla, the current Desis Network Association president and Débora Falleiros Gonzales, master in Design with UNIANDES, living in Bogotá. Both made me feel at home.

October 29, Tuesday Motivated by the proposal of the workshop “Botanical: Illustration Challenge”, by professor Carolina Rojas, I produced some photos of the gardens of the College of Architecture and Design, a register of the diversity of the species and the flora around Block C, which provides UNIANDES with a unique atmosphere. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Working Group Design Education and Research Days (DERDAYS) led by Alok b. Nandi and Frédéric Degouzon from IxDA and in this meeting I met Mariana Amatullo and Eija Salmi, the former, the president and the latter, the secretary general of CUMULUS, in addition to other members of the board. It was a very special moment, fostering the spirit of friendship and cooperation which was the main motto throughout the event.

October 30, Wednesday The opening to the conference with Brigitte Baptiste was really remarkable, an invitation to reflect upon the impacts of continual attacks on the planet’s biodiversity. The first session for communication of the track Design and Counterculture was an opportunity to know about very intriguing works such as the one by Marysol Ortega Pallanez, a colombian with a doctorate in the School of Design Carnegie Mellon University with whom I could talk about a common interest in design and social wellbeing. Lunch was served in the terrace of Block C, where there is a privileged view of the city and the Monserrat Hills. Moments highlighting the spotless organization of the event as a whole, in which all the small details were taken care of. It is important to mention tasty choices in the menu were provided, catering for the participants’ profiles with elaborate vegetarian cuisine options, made with local products. I had the opportunity to participate in the meeting of the working group AADTE – Art and design teacher education and pedagogy – led by Martti Raevaara, a meeting in which we discussed issues concerning art and design pedagogy.

There was the opening of the exhibition in which a series of projects, developed by the students of the Architecture and Design School were displayed, showed the variety and quality of the research and expertise initiatives in this institution, such as the work “Back to the Body”, by Laura Junco. The opening cocktail in the Artesanías de Colombia was a unique gathering moment in a place which represents the most traditional and genuine arts and crafts colombian production.

October 31, Thursday The Martin Tironi lecture emphasized issues such as, quoting him, “what is the role of design as a mode of prototyping possible worlds in the creation of more sustainable and participatory urban futures.” I participated in the Round Table about Design and Counterculture with Eva de Klerk and other professionals, when we discussed the role of design in top-down and bottom-up social transformation processes. The Dori Tunstall lecture presented the concept of Respectful Design: designing futures with inclusion and belonging for everyone and everything. It is relevant to mention the special support I received from the professor and photographer Oscar Prieto.

November 01, Friday This was the day of my presentation and my session was really special and meaningful to me. I was able to know the works of Omar Campos Rivera, Viviana Alejandra Moya Arenas, Pablo Hermansen e Roberto Fernández. There was an interesting debate with the participants afterwards. I felt really happy to have participated in such outstanding event. The closing lecture with Eva de Klerk was moving and shared how bottom-up approaches can solve difficult urban cases. Crowning the conference, the gala ball was a magical moment, in which we celebrated the unquestionable success of the CUMULUS Bogotá – The Design After event.

Andreia Menezes De Bernardi
doctoral student in design and professor
State University Minas Gerais (UEMG), Design School, Brazil
E-mail: andreia.bernardi@uemg.br

REPORT by Kenan Zekic, Bosnia&Herzegovina

I would like to express my gratitude to Cumulus Association for inviting me to participate at Cumulus Conference “Design After” held in Bogota, Colombia, at Universidad de Los Andes in November 2019. It has been a great experience attending the Cumulus Conference. I had a privilege and honor to represent my country and, even, the wider region. I was the only scholar visiting conference from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Western Balkans. The Cumulus Association, unfortunately, doesn’t have any members from this part of Europe. I truly hope that my visit to this conference will be the beginning of the future cooperation between the Cumulus Association and the universities from my country and Western Balkans.

The conference held in Bogota was well organized and very successful. In my understanding, having this conference held in Latin America is a very significant and meaningful choice of location for numerous reasons. From politics to economy, from global warming to global migrations, etc. The Design After has discussed a wide range of topics regarding the position of design, education in creative disciplines, and creative practices in the “brave” new world. The world after design. A session “Design Education and Research Days”, with Cumulus Executive Board members and IxDA (Interaction Design Association) representatives was the most important for my understanding of Cumulus operations, and plans for future actions. Establishing a relationship between these two associations, globally relevant, exemplifies a necessity to look for ways to link design education and industry.

The globalization process exposes now more than ever before, every segment of human creativity with all its positive and negative sides, and its reflections in design. A large number of topics discussed and projects presented in Bogota was fascinating. From biodiversity driven design, over micro strategies applied in design education to appropriations.
One of the crucial conference tracks for me was Design and Counterculture. It opened up a new path of understanding how to approach different social contexts for design, how to utilize the synergy of different stakeholders, and how to approach leadership and strategy. Expanding the knowledge about design education and practices in underdeveloped or post-conflict societies is essential for a better comprehension of the design process and its resilient nature. The Design After showed that there is a need to redefine and reposition design in the 21st century.
A true benefit for all participants at the conference was the opportunity to meet and connect with some of the most creative academics and professionals from all over the world. It was the opportunity to learn about each other’s practices and continue communication through the projects, academic and professional relationships or simply as friends.
I believe that enlarging the Cumulus Association with having more universities from Western Balkan on board, is very important for all of us. Universities would be able to investigate different global practices and trends in design/art/architecture education, and Cumulus would have a more accurate picture of the current position of design education and practice in this part of Europe. Despite the recent turbulent history, Western Balkans was always the bridge between East and West in so many ways, including design.

Kenan Zekic
Head of Department, Faculty of Art and Social Sciences
International University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
E-mail: kzekic@ius.edu.ba

REPORT by Samuel Kwame, Ghana

As a designer, my attention went to the little details of the conference. My curiosity was confirmed by the following: The conference programme book and event badge printed with recycled paper and ecological ink respectively. In the welcome kits, were included reusable bottles, which have to be refilled with water or water fused with apple, strawberry or grapes at water stations all around the conference centres. This avoided the use of 2700 single-use of plastic bottles that are not biodegradable. The conference bags were made from repurposed fabrics. The main flag and the directional flags were made from 110 discarded Colombia National Police uniforms. This avoided 112.5kg of single-use of plastic banners, which are also not biodegradable materials. To keep the Air-land clean devoid of carbon emissions, the conference activities were limited to the same area to avoid additional transportation. However, the keynote speakers were transported with i3 BMW electric cars to avoid more greenhouse emissions. In my perspective, these confirmed the exposition of the Cumulus conference theme “Design After” that is considering the aftereffect of design to its users and the environment.

The conference saw over 200 hundred participants from different countries. These include design educators, design practitioners, design advocates/activists, architects, etc. The 3-day conference also saw keynote speakers such as Brigitte Baptiste, Dori Tunstall, Martin Tironi, Daniel Grushkin and Eva De Klerk. The topics addressed include:
• Somewhere, nowhere, anyone, everyone
• Sensing the city, sensing the rural
• Biodiversity-Driven Design
• Design and counterculture
These topics set the tone for the track sessions (paper presentations, working groups and round table discussions).

In one of the working groups I participated, were networks of expertise in art, design pedagogy and students in a discussion on Art and Design Teacher Education and Pedagogy. In conclusion, I learnt that as Art and Design Educators, we have to find out and understand the capabilities of the students we teach and that should form the bases of the pedagogy to use. In some of the paper presentation sessions attended, keywords such as sustainable design, service design, speculative design, design fiction and critical design exposed to, gave me a paradigm shift to design. This have influenced my studies and the approach to doing design upon my return.
My wonderful memories at Bogota will not have been complete without acknowledging their foods and hospitality. I enjoyed their snacks, meals and beverages because they were made of local ingredients of which some have similarities with some Ghanaian foods. One of the lunches was packaged and served in plantain leaves, which is how some Ghanaian delicacies such as “waakye” are also packaged and served. The hospitality and the sense of homeliness enjoyed in Bogota have let me in a state of always missing Colombia.
My appreciation goes to Cumulus secretariat for giving me the Cumulus Plus + grant to attend the conference and to the staff of Universidad de Los Andes, School of Architecture and Design for hosting me.

Samuel Kwame
Head of Printing and Photography, lecturer in Graphic Design Department
Ho Technical University, Ghana
E-mail: skwame@htu.edu.gh

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