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“Students at the Design Academy are typically encouraged to explore themselves through their own personal fascinations. But we can see that many of today’s students choose not themselves, but their surroundings.” Said Director of Education Jurriënne Ossewold, reflecting upon the work of the new Bachelors graduates at their ceremony on Tuesday evening.

Workshop Instructor André Wiersma reflected that the graduates “have flown in here for the past few years, and now you will fly out into the world to change it,” while announcing the fledgling tradition of the Workshop Award to be given to Man and Identity graduate, Hung Sheng (Herry) Lee.

Each department head considered their views on the varying roles in which their graduates fit within the design discipline; Ilse Crawford, head of Man and Well-Being, put a focus on design that can “help us form a better dialogue with ourselves,” while Marty Lamers of Man and Identity reflected that “It’s all about creating a persona, creating an identity – that’s what the Design Academy is all about.”

Meanwhile, Food non Food head Marije Vogelzang lauded the way that some of her students are “Advocating for design for the non-human”. From Man and Communication, Catelijne van Middelkoop confirmed that her graduates come from “a generation of digital natives”, stressing the relevance of “giving the possibilities of emerging technologies a place in the everyday dialogue that we want to have.”

Two students were awarded with a Cum Laude – Elin Visser, who graduated from Man and Well-Being with Solostories, a project exploring the diversity and individuality of female masturbation, and her other project Just Breathe. Ilse Crawford verified that “one of the many things that designers can do is support better ways of being human – Elin has done that extremely well.”

The second Cum Laude was awarded to Lena Winternik from the Public Private department with two textile based projects. Mementos explored the memory of personal items when they are no longer with us, while Worn to Wear, used copper to emphasise an appreciation of the ageing process of garments.

Bachelors Graduation projects tackling globally relevant issues

The latest batch of thirty-seven graduates have made the transition from DAE Students to Alumni after Tuesday’s ceremony. Each graduate presented two projects to the board of examiners, their work covering themes of politics, digital media, and the everyday role of objects.

Several projects responded to political themes of our increasingly tumultuous world. Man and Leisure had some innovative outcomes from their commissioned project from a Hague based political organisation, including Maud van der Linden’s Stem Voor Tegen – Vote For Against. The new democratic system which she proposed, as the title suggests, would give citizens the right of both a vote for and a vote against a political party. Looking at engaging children in the importance of politics, Amenda Kelders from Man and Activity aimed to revaluate the role of political education in her home country through her playful project Goberna.

From the Man and Communication department, some students also took it upon themselves to cover such topics, including Alex Gehlen with the arcade game #ElectionInvaders, aiming to raise awareness of the threat to democracy posed by internet trolling. Similarly, Isabel Maudit’s Trust Issues exaggerated the misinformation about the EU published by British tabloid newspapers in the run up to Brexit, using the medium of print.

Perhaps bringing politics to a much more local level, Vera Charniak from Public Private created Space of Dialogue, in which she began working with the community she would encounter in her local supermarket, as the most commonly visited site within our neighbourhoods. Vera has proposed a system of communal cooking within the supermarket, and implemented a ‘What’s My Neighbour Cooking?’ recipe book.

Two students were awarded with Cum Laude for the execution of their projects. From Public Private, Lena Winterink’s Worn to Wear presented three garments that demonstrate an appreciation of the way that materials age as we use them, by incorporating copper as an element in the textile. Lena’s other project Mementos, reflected upon our object-related memories, inviting contributors to “renounce the physicality of these specific and meaningful objects”, transforming images of the objects into meaningfully printed textiles.

Elin Visser graduated with Cum Laude from Man and Well-Being for her relevant project Solostories, focusing on the importance of female masturbation. She collected a variety of stories from different self-identifying women about their masturbation habits, publishing them into a series of online podcasts and a magazine. Elin’s other project, Just Breathe delivered an experience to make us aware of the potential of breathing.

From the Food non Food department, Axel Coulmans graduated with two projects, which department head Marije Vogelzang referred to as “advocating for design for the the non-human”. In his project Wetland Buoys, Axel reimagined the role of the buoy in the Rhine River, while he translated sand patterns from the North Sea shore into digital soundwaves, through his project Streaming Sandwaves.

Another theme which has increasingly come to prominence amongst Design Academy students in past years is the role played by our increasing exposure to digital media and imagery – in Tuesday’s ceremony, Man and Communication department head Catelijne van Middelkoop confirmed that today’s graduates come from “a generation of digital natives”. Pauline Perrin from Man and Identity toyed with Instagram aesthetics with Opinion Cooler, a series of self-portraits to help understand what she refers to as the “anger culture” of the internet. Boris Brucher from Man and Communication displayed HomeSet, a witty series of furniture curated primarily for its photographic purpose, while his speculative project The Origin of Communication, highlighted the actual material aspects of our increasing reliance on rare minerals used to make our screens. Also from Man and Communication, Orlando Lovell’s project Polycreative explored the ways in which social media has changed how designers collaborate, allowing the final outcome to become secondary to the means of communication.

Finally, not shying away from critiquing the design discipline itself, Orlando analysed the language used in the descriptions of all Design Academy projects from the last four years, translating it into an interactive communication experiment Function Fiction.

We wish the best of luck to all of our graduates developing their projects into the future.

Note; All BA and MA graduates will exhibit at the Graduation Show during Dutch Design Week, 19-27 Oct., Eindhoven.

Published: 11-Feb-2019 14:20

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