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Design Academy Eindhoven celebrated the start of the new year on Wednesday with the announcement of a new MA in Geo-Design and a discussion of the student housing crisis triggered by Eindhoven’s gentrification.
 
Students and staff attended two events on January 9 2019 to mark the beginning of the year. The Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) Student Council hosted the annual Student Potluck – a discussion platform for students to share their concerns and ideas for the school – followed by an open board meeting with DAE directors Joseph Grima and Jurriënne Ossewold. The two directors then hosted a New Year’s party for the entire school, with a welcome speech, drinks and a DJ.


Potluck 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann.

The Potluck took the form of a drop-in session during the morning, where students could discuss and write down their thoughts in themed groupings. The issues raised were presented to Ossewold and Grima at the open board meeting, which all students were invited to attend.


Potluck 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann.
 
Among the topics discussed were closer collaboration with other institutions within Eindhoven, the provision of Dutch language classes, and the school’s strategy for helping students deal with stress. But the board meeting was dominated by a discussion around student housing, which revealed the unprecedented scale of the problem.  
 
One bachelor's student claimed that up to 60 first years would be “homeless” within weeks, due to sub-letting from other students who were now set to return to Eindhoven.
 
Housing in Eindhoven is provided by private landlords and DAE does not currently have any halls of residence in the city. This system has worked for decades, but the expansion of Eindhoven’s student and professional population in recent years – linked to the city’s growing reputation as a technology hub – has led to a shortage of affordable accommodation. Some landlords also stipulate that they will not rent to students or to non-Dutch natives.
 
The directors said that although they had been aware that some students were unable to find accommodation, they had not been aware of the scale of the problem. Grima said that Eindhoven was becoming the “San Francisco of The Netherlands”.
 
“Eindhoven is becoming Gentrified, that’s the problem,” explained Ossewald, who said the city was moving much too slowly to address the problem that was also affecting students at other institutions such as TU Eindhoven.
 
“There are no empty factories anymore. The outskirts of the city are becoming gentrified as well. This is a problem for all students in Eindhoven and for families as well. It’s getting worse all the time,” she said. “We are aware that we have to do something and we have to help students.”
 
Students and staff are currently working on creating a database to understand more about how widespread the issue has become.
 
“A lot of thought went into making the morning’s event accessible for all students,” said Clodagh Read, Student Council chairperson. “As we decided this year to include more open communication between us, the student body and the staff, we thought it was only fitting that we opened up one of our monthly board meetings with the school. We are really happy with how the event went, we got so much input and are excited to collaborate with new people to sort some of the issues out.”
 
The New Year’s party took place on the school’s third floor and was attended by both staff and students. In a short opening speech, Ossewold and Grima – who was appointed as the school’s creative director in 2017 – revealed that the school would launch a new masters program and a professorship in Geo-Design.
 
The announcement builds on the school’s ongoing Geo-Design research initiative led by Grima, which focuses on investigating the geopolitical, economic and geographical forces that shape the work of today’s designers.
 
Some of this research has already been shown in the exhibition Geo-Design: Alibaba. From Here To Your Home, which was curated by Grima and DAE tutor Martina Muzi. The exhibition took place at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2018. This year’s DAE exhibition during Milan Design Week will focus on the same topic.
 
“Design is in a moment of transition and in a moment of change,” said Grima. “We’re really trying to look towards the future and see how the school can take a leading position – how we can become an observatory of the world. This is one of the ways in which we would like to do that.”
 
“This exhibition and research series is a collaboration between the Academy and its former students, the graduates, and this is also something we really want to continue to do. Your relationship with us won’t end with your graduation.”
 
The new course is expected to launch in September. Further details of the MA and the Milan exhibition will be revealed later this year.

“This year we will really start to see the result of many things that Jurrienne has been working on for a long time and things that I have been working on more recently,” said Grima.
 
“This is the season for making plans for the future and what we want to do better and today has been really helpful,” he said. “We really hope to begin this year with this fantastic spirit, this energy and keep it running all through the year.”

Published: 24-Jan-2019 15:05

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  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    New Year's Reception 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    New Year's Reception 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    New Year's Reception 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Open Board 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Open Board 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Open Board 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Potluck 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Potluck 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.

  • Launch of new MA and student housing challenge

    Potluck 2019. Photo by Boudewijn Bollman.