Cumulus Student Ambassadors: Maylis Vitrac, Gaëtan Gremel, Louisa Cao and Mael de Couedic reporting from the Cumulus conference in Wuxi 2018

Four student ambassadors from different schools of CESAAP: Maylis Vitrac, Gaëtan Gremel, Louisa Cao and Mael de Couedic took part in two consecutive conferences of Cumulus in April 2018 in Paris, France and in November 2018 in Wuxi, China within the Cumulus Student Ambassador program.

Learn more about Maylis, Gaëtan, Louisa and Mael.

Welcome to read their reports.
Check also the Cumulus Student Ambassadors FB for great videos and footage https://www.facebook.com/Cumulus-Ambassadors-527204344105153/

Reports by Maylis VITRAC – École Boulle
vitrac.maylis@yahoo.fr

Cumulus in Paris (To get there: designing together by CESAAP, France)
I always liked to receive, to visit my city, to discover my country to others.
It is therefore with great joy to welcome teachers and professionals from around the world to our schools (Boulle, Duperré, Ensamaa, Estienne) to talk about design and creation.
Our schools were transformed during a few days into laboratory of reflection: to question the transformation of our environments and the interdisciplinarity of our four schools, shared with those of our guests. How can we think, build, innovate together?
The round tables were very relevant on the issues of the designer’s role in the face of the citizenship in tension, the conditions necessary to ensure interdisciplinarity or the transmission of knowledge, French luxury. I hope that the cultural visits in Paris were enriching for our guests.
The workshops were also an opportunity to exchange and create together. They concerned pedagogy, contemporary art, fashion or sustainable development.
Too bad we can not duplicate to participate in all these events !

Cumulus in Wuxi (Diffused Transition & Design Opportunities by the Jiangnan University, China)
It was a huge honor to be part of the Diffused Transition & Design Opportunities, the Cumulus Conference. This meeting took place from October 31 to November 4, 2018, in Wuxi, China.

This trip enlightened me and transformed me.
I am a service designer specializing in ethical and social projects. I am also sensitive to cultural exchanges. Meeting people around the world to discuss new design opportunities has been an incredible opportunity.
Also, I was very proud to represent my school, École Boulle, on the other side of the Earth.
I savored every moment of this trip, this conference, these human encounters.

We were welcomed by the design school of Jiangnan University. It is one of the oldest design schools in the country. Today, it celebrates its 60 years and converges its disciplines towards innovation, internationalization, research and industrial design.

During five days, many conferences, workshops, exhibitions, allowed a rich transfer of knowledge and exchange of practices. Many participants came from universities around the world. Also, researchers, designers, industrialists and entrepreneurs were present to cross the fields of design and those of the industry or the new business.
Among these many moments of reflection and creation, a field of exploration opened on the new challenges brought by a society in transition. Faced with a technology that exceeds human capabilities, ecological and social issues, design must also our day, repositioning. It is up to us, designers and creators, to seize these new opportunities and transform these emerging issues into positive and lasting solutions. The forum was a time of definition : what are the new roles of designers? Where are we going ? How do we create new design processes in a 3.0 world ?
Events at the conference exposed innovative processes in the industry, service design, and the ways in which design benefits to evolve a system. The examples evoked local and global issues, because today, the power of technology has given rise to interdependent citizens of the world. It was very interesting to see projects specific to Eastern China concerning Healthcare, the massive use of digital, or urban agriculture. Discover another culture of design once back in France, question our own design practices, our own creative process, our local issues. This is an invitation to travel and meet to take a step back on our practices, then improve our local needs resolution through design.

Reports by Louisa CAO – École Estienne
caolouisa@yahoo.fr

Cumulus in Paris : To get there: designing together by CESAAP, France

As long as I can remember, it has always been a great pleasure for me to be part of social events, to learn new things about my culture and foreign ones, to teach, to talk and to discover. Therefore, it was obvious that I’ve been really excited to be part of Cumulus in the city I live in, Paris, and to see my school sport the colors of this association.

To my mind, social events such as Cumulus are the best way to meet new people from around the world, to create social bonds and to brainstorm about various topics altogether. It’s really heartwarming to notice that in the end, despite the language barrier, we are all able to bring personal thoughts and reflexions about design, creation and the importance those notions embody. We become aware of the very power of sharing knowledge : by creating links between people and countries, by being curious about the world, we can change it. In the end, we are all part of the same tremendous connected world and it is our responsibility to constantly work with the idea to make it better.

I had the pleasure to welcome teachers, professionals and Cumulus ambassadors from India and to take part in workshops and round tables at the Ecole Boulle, when we all discussed about economic, ecological and artistic issues. Plus, it was a great opportunity for me to visit others art schools of Paris, and to meet students of them (Boulle, Duperré, ENSAAMA). I really hope our guests were as enthusiastic as I was.

Cumulus in Wuxi (Diffused Transition & Design Opportunities by the Jiangnan University, China)

Being able to take part in the Diffused Transition & Designed Opportunities Cumulus Conference in Wuxi was a huge honor for me. This event took place from October 31 to November 4, 2018 at the Jiangnan University of China, and I can say without any doubt that it was one of the best experience of my entire life. Also, I was of course really proud to represent my school, the École Estienne of Paris, at the other side of the world.

My trip to China has been a real wonder, I enjoyed it so much, I was amazed by all the new people I’ve met and all the marvelous things I’ve seen. I have the conviction that this trip changed me deeply, I’ve learned so many things about the world and therefore about myself. I’ve return to Paris transformed. It was a very long time since I traveled so far from home, I almost forgot how it feels to discover and explore such a totally different culture and country.

Even if Cumulus in Paris was already a great experience, I didn’t truly understand how ambitious this association was before living it in Wuxi. Cumulus is an association that manages to bring the voices of amazing people from around the world, it allows them to connect through art-related workshops, conferences, exhibitions and talking sessions. Those five days were so intense, we learned a huge amount of things and listened to such inspiring and talented people. The Jiangnan University is a huge school that houses more than 20.000 students, plus it celebrates this year its 60 years ; the occasion to visit it in 2018 was even more special.

I feel genuinely blessed to have been able to take part in this trip. As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create, to express myself and to reach people. My main passions in life are making art and travelling around the world ; Cumulus, therefore, was the opportunity for me to make those dreams come true, and the experience exceeded all my expectations. I’ve lived in China for one year when I was a little child, and as half of my family is Chinese, I feel a deep connection with this country. Returning to China meant something special. I never get to see China since 2003, and it was so exciting to return.

The conferences and the Galas we took part in were amazing and so interesting, it was a pure joy to see the Jiangnan students so implicated in Cumulus event. We had the opportunity to discuss, debate and question the importance of design and the transformation of our environments. At first, I must confess that the communication between us (four French Ambassadors) and the Chinese students was a bit difficult, mainly because of the language barrier. But in the end we managed to create deep bonds and to understand each others, and I hope it was as rewarding for them as it was for me to be part of this adventure.

Reports by Mael Le Couedic – ENSAAMA
m.l.c@live.fr

Cumulus in Paris : To get there: designing together by CESAAP, France

To get there: designing together is the theme of the Cumulus conference hosted in the four schools of art and design, Ensaama, Estienne, Duperré, and Boulle (Cesaap) in Paris from April 11th to 13th 2018.
As a product design student, a representative of the students elected to the board of administration as well as the president of the student council at Ensaama, I have always enjoyed participating in the school’s life. Therefore, hosting the Cumulus conference was the ideal moment for applying what I enjoy the most. During the Cumulus conference, I was one of the students greeting the participants. We were all very enthusiastic at the prospect of meeting foreign teachers, practitioners, researchers from all over the world and the possibility of making connections. I had the opportunity to exchange with some of the participants and took them for a tour of the school, and especially our product design workshop.
Designing together is a challenging topic as it involves collaborative experiences, co-working, sharing knowledge and changing the world. In the context of the Cumulus conference, an international cross-disciplinary workshop intended for students from the member institutions of the Cumulus organization and French students from the four schools was organized at Beaubourg museum. The workshop was later presented during the conference. This was the perfect example of how fruitful designing together can be. The round tables and conferences dealt with cross-disciplinarity, the transmission of knowledge and traditional know-how, citizenship and sustainable development.
At Ensaama, the international design competition Dream 2074: a utopia for French luxury was launched.
During the conference, we also had the opportunity to meet the student ambassadors from India and thus get prepared to being ambassadors ourselves.

Cumulus in Wuxi (Diffused Transition & Design Opportunities by the Jiangnan University, China)

First of all, it was a great honor to have been chosen to represent Ensaama as a Cumulus
Ambassador for the Wuxi Conference which took place from October 31st until November 3rd 2018. From Paris to Wuxi it seemed to be unreal. Yet, we were ready to fly to China where no one of us four ambassadors had ever been.
Last year the Cumulus conference was organized in our schools (Ensaama, Duperré, Estienne, Boulle) in Paris, April 2018, so we had a foretaste of what to expect.
After eleven hours flight,7 hours time difference and 2 hours drive, we arrived at Jiangnan University where we were warmly welcomed by Mika, a student from the School of Design. On site we were amazed by the size of the campus and surprised by the number of bicycles and the few cars driving on the campus. Thus, we were fully aware of the ecological transition that is currently taking place in Wuxi. We made ourselves comfortable in our accommodations and then went for a walk in the city.
First at the mall for lunch and then in the village where we walked between the houses and the small shops. It was such a change of scenery!
In the evening we were invited to a reception organized by Codex at Wuxi Studios. Great talk, tasty beers and good encounters.
After a good night sleep to recover from the jet lag, we started the first day with the opening
speech by Elisabeth Garner Nielsen, Vice President of Cumulus. The speech was about the subject of the environment and sustainable design, the main topics of this Cumulus Conference Diffused Transition and Design Opportunities.

After this very rich introduction, we had the great honor to be invited on stage and presented as the ambassadors of our schools.
What a moment! Second speaker, really interesting, Craig M Vogel from the University of
Cincinatti. A very good speech about today’s design (what I will remember from this presentation is the following sentence: « defining the problem is more important than solving it. »)
Like this conference, our first morning at the Jiangnan University was very formative.
Noon is lunchtime. All three of us chose the Chinese meal to fully immerse ourselves in the local flavours. How delicious!
After the lunch, I participated in a working group on Business, industry innovation after which I spoke with the Director of the Nantes Atlantique School of Design about the fact that in his opinion, the Designer is not mentioned enough to apply for positions in politics or as marketing directors for example. In the afternoon I attended two Thematic Forums. The first called Frontier methodology and tech by Cees de Bont from Loughborough University deals with Design and Technology and questioned the relationship between form and function.
« We do not have to design just the product but also the interaction. Design the concept with knowledge of all factors including safety. » The second Thematic Forum dealed with Social transformation and design opportunities. During the talk, the Chinese interpretation of bottom-up and top-down was quite interesting taking the example of shared bikes we have seen in Wuxi but which also exist in Paris. This shows us a ‘dramatic case of social innovation’ as the speaker said. When a system like this is put in place, it is necessary to draw a parallel between user experience and the civic engagement as well between policy support and constraints linked to urban planning. We saw the problem by walking through the streets of Wuxi off campus. Indeed, bicycles are piled up, forming huge piles of abandoned bikes. As a result, thousands of bicycles are manufactured, damaged and abandoned. This is a big ecological problem!

Day 3, the day began with a great talk of Zhang Linghao about transformation design.
« Design must have to concentrate on the business model ». In the past, « Design was focused on solving problems but nowadays we need to more focus on environmental or social values ».
Moreover, « we need to more observe » in general, and « more observe differences between China and other countries ». He proposes four principles. 1: More in depth user research to solve the problems. 2: Exploration: analysis and synthesis by top-down and bottom-up research. 3: System Innovation. 4: From integration to integrated innovation because in the future Design will be more integrated.
How to design tomorrow and shape a better world ? This was Clare Shine’s next conference. How can Design help deliver the sustainable development goals ? After it, I attended a Thematic forum about Collaborative innovation and healthcare design. Such an interesting talk! Good to know that design can also be present in

medicine as we call it Medisign. A great example of the contribution that the Designer can have in this field is highlighted by the Med drone, a project by student Alex Monton from Delft university of technology, a flying first aid kit that could save lives. Another thematic forum I attended in the same afternoon was about Design and Business. I arrived in the conference room at a time when they were talking about Design thinking process. Empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, testing, here is the process. A superb sentence that sums up this conference is the one by Roger Martin. ‘Today’s business people don’t need to understand designers better, they need to become designers’.
In the afternoon, after another tasty Chinese lunch, we left for a field trip about
urban agriculture design and new businesses. A short walk in the Chinese countryside and a visit of small shops run by craftsmen.

Reports by Gaëtan GREMEL- École Duperré
gaetan.grml@laposte.net

Cumulus, a logical transition between Paris and Wuxi

During my last year of two-year degree at Duperré school, I was able to help in the design and the realization of the big project of cumulus conferences. I was so able to understand the goals of this project. I understood at once that the most mattering during these few days was to show the network of the school and its personal network.
My team and I thus, had to realize a show whose aim was to show the realizations of all the fashion section of this school.

During my stay in China we were able to visit installations realized by the students in object design section. Some students had realized prosthesis.
I was particularly surprised by the quality and the precision of the models put forward. It is in China that I understood the second goal of the Cumulus conferences, it was to show the strengths of the organizing country in order to make it shine. While China surprised me by its pre-industrialization capabilities and the ease students had in working with companies. It gave me a chance to think about what France could bring. It seems to me that we have creativity and craftsmanship, one that is constantly developing thanks to the new materials that we create and develop.
For this I find the Cumulus conferences enriching not only by their conferences but also by the way that the event allows to discover the culture and how the new generation reappropriates it.
For this I liked the conference schedule, which alternated Chinese and global vision, without being in confrontation. It was interesting to understand the order of priorities of each country and to note that the ecological – economic – human link was always the priority of each country.

We were lucky enough to be completely out of touch, and for most of my team and myself it was the first trip to Asia. It is difficult to meet local people in such a short period of time. Yet thanks to Cumulus we had the chance to meet students from different parts of the design. On the occasion of the Cumulus encounters we were able to speak and understand certain points of the Chinese mentality that lead to a different aesthetic from ours.

The first day we arrived, we had the afternoon off, we went out to eat, and we were surprised by the lack of people in the mall. The Chinese are rigorous and they are apparently poorly regarded as having fun during the hours normally dedicated to work. Coming from a country where this dictates is much less strong we were surprised and still today I do not visualize myself living in such an important strictness.

Always in this desire to promote China without abandoning other countries. it is interesting to note that Cumulus thinks of the whole. For example lunch we could eat a typical menu or a European menu. Our accommodation is also local, but it does not take us away.
From this trip I have kept some very good memories. I thank the Cumulus Association for allowing me to attend the conferences and especially for allowing me to discover a new culture that was totally unknown to me.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
The Cumulus Student Ambassador Program is a special student award and merit-based initiative of the Cumulus International Association of Art, Design and Media that recognizes exceptional student leaders from the universities and institutions hosting the Cumulus Association Annual Conferences. Each year, Cumulus invites a total of four Student Ambassadors (two per annual conference) to contribute their singular voices to the Association’s Conferences and the Cumulus community overall.

Through the Cumulus Student Ambassador Program, the Cumulus Association is committed to bringing the perspectives and voices of exceptionally talented and articulate students to the forefront, with the goal of highlighting the changes that the next generation of artists and designers are shaping in an increasingly complex and interconnected global marketplace for art and design.
#cumulusstudentambassadors

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