At UID22, 49 graduates pitched their visions for a different,
and better, future, presenting everything from a vulva-kit, to
autonomous vehicles, to AI-assisted grieving. Three-minute
presentations followed by a professional exhibition of physical
models gave visitors a glimpse of how to take on the challenges
facing our global society. The Golden Seed Award, a
student-initiated price, put further focus on sustainability in
design. The event ended with keynotes by leading designers and a
spirited panel discussion led by Daniela Bohlinger.
A physical event with many digital followers
A physical event, allowing designers to meet in person and have
tangible experiences, added soul and substance to the experience.
However, the digital world has its benefits and by combining these
two, UID managed to create an inclusive event according to Demian
Horst, Head of Department.
"With a modular setup of the agenda, inspired by a digital
event, students and companies had great opportunities for
networking, and around 30 companies from all over the world signed
up students for interviews".
UID22 attendees gather along the
bank of the Ume river during intervals between grad project
Graduates who couldn't make it to Umeå presented and signed thir
own digital "wall of fame" to mimick the physical event, as over
4000 people followed the live stream online.
Broader perspective on sustainability
Sustainability has become an ever-present perspective in current
UID design projects, where Mother Earth is often referred to as a
stakeholder. The focus has shifted from what to how and broadened
into other areas, such as regenerative agriculture and medication.
The students show responsibility for the effect their design might
have on the planet and put a focus on how to make make a difference
on a broader societal, systemic level. One of the attendees
applauds the responsible mindset.
"I appreciate that many projects have a wide sustainability
scope and that the students dare to think big", says Joel
Grundström from SMS Evoko.
Social sustainability gets more focus this year, for example
through My Enetjärn whose vulva-kit creates awareness about vaginal
microbiome by empowering the individual.
My Enetjärn talking about her
degree project 'Floae' on bacterial vaginosis.
Many products are now designed to work in a circular economy, in
cooperation with companies like Volvo and Electrolux. More obvious
problems are also taken care of this year which Mårten Skoger from
Ericsson has looked forward to seeing.
"All the disposable waste in healthcare has irritated me, so I
was happy to see that the diabetes project addresses that", says
Mårten who mainly came here to look for new talents.
The pandemic effect on design
Autonomous vehicles and AI pops up in a number of projects, with
a focus on how to create trust for these new technologies.
Participants could also see the efect off the pandemic in this
year's transportation design concepts, something that Nathalie
Hübscher from design agency Kiska in Austria was curious
"From my HR perspective I think that we will need solutions in
the future where you can work from a vehicle", raises Nathalie who
also gave credit to the school for a very well structured event, a
level she is not used to.
The UID atmosphere
UID students and alumni talk about "the UID family" and the
friendly and supportive atmosphere, something that was truly
present thorughout the student pitches. Graduates are nervous, of
course, but it's obvious that they feel support from the
The exhibition kicked off in the
evening of day 1 as particpants got to explore the student designs
and discuss indivudally with their creators.
"It's not that much of a competition within UID, but more a
feeling of cooperation and becoming great together", says Rebecka
Rosenlind, a former student of UID. "Own initiatives are welcomed,
and the school has become more circular design focused because the
students wanted that", she continues.
Jens Asserlind from McKinsey Design misses his time in Umeå as a
progressive oasis where the long winter makes you focus. It's
obvious that Umeå has a special place in the hearts of the alumni
Already looking at next year
Demian Horst, Head of Institute, is already looking forward to
next year's event and reveals that he is aiming at a cooperation
that would make the event even bigger.
He ended UID22 with an impassioned speech about how the
pandemic made us all become quiet and how dangerous perfection
"Go out there, make mistakes, do it with noise!"