Creativity in action

Posted on 10/11/2016 by IED

The Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE) Conference has just celebrated its 18th birthday! Held in Denmark this year, it was a great success, as Christian Tollestrup, head of the Industrial Design Section, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University, reports

Aalborg is the ‘capital’ of the northern region in Denmark and sits right at the Limfjord, which defines the ‘border’ to the Vendsyssel area at the northern reaches of the country. Aalborg was traditionally an industrial town, with power plants and heavy industry. But the last two decades have seen tremendous change, with a new harbour front, cultural venues, student accommodation and a city campus for Aalborg University.

So it was only fitting that the Industrial Design Section of the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology of Aalborg University should welcome the E&PDE conference series to our new ‘Create Campus’, which opened in 2014.

The theme of the conference was ‘Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity’. The first keynote speaker, professor Marianne Stokholm from Aalborg University, gave delegates an Introduction to Danish Culture, Danish Design and Danish Design Education, providing the basis for understanding both the Industrial Design Engineering Programme and the role of design in the local community.

On day two, chief designer Morten Bo Jensen from VIPP, the iconic design company, gave a keynote on how the company has used design as a strategy, explaining how its design engineers align all aspects of developing a business with one philosophy: the “staying power of products”.

Beyond the keynotes, four well organised and located parallel sessions allowed the 140 delegates to select which of the 107 papers they wished to attend.

Away from the presentations and en route to the conference dinner, not far from the harbour front, there was time to visit the Utzon Center where one of the great Danish architects, Jørn Utzon – for whom the centre was built – was introduced to delegates by Associate Professor Thomas Arvid Jaeger from Aalborg University. The dinner was held at the Søgaard Bryghus microbrewery where the warm hospitality – and food and drink, of course – ensured the conversation was lively and engaging.

The conference closed with the presentation of prizes, sponsored by LEGO. The winners were:

Best Paper: Carolina Gill and Merce Graell, ‘Teaching Design Thinking: Evolution of a Teaching Collaboration Across Disciplinary, Academic And Cultural Boundaries’

Best Presentation: Tatjana Le Blanc and Mario Gagnon, ‘Co-talk? The role of collaboration partners in design education’

Best Student Presentation: Arnt Kåre Sivertsen, Designing For Small Bathrooms’

Best Student Paper: Sunniva Münster, ‘The Potential for a Critical Design Approach to Create Innovation Within the Construction Industry Through Participatory Design Workshops’

Best Poster Presentation: James Lowley, ‘Ethical Bicycle Consumption; From Used Frames to New Products’.

The Department of Product Design at HiOA, Oslo, will be organising the 19th E&PDE conference, which runs from 7-8 September 2017. The theme will be ‘Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future’. We hope to see you there.

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