EAD2019 – the 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (EAD)

EAD2019 – the 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (EAD)

Conference: EAD2019 – the 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design

Dates: 10 – 12 April 2019

Venue: Dalhousie, University of Dundee and various locations including V&A Dundee and Glamis Castle

Attendance: 265 delegates from 30 countries, contributing over £323,000.00 to the local economy over the 3 days

Chair: Prof Louise Valentine, President of the European Academy of Design and Chair of Design, Head of Entrepreneurship, Enterprise, and Employability, School of Art and Design, University of Dundee

Conference website: https://ead2019dundee.com/

Images: https://dacb.smugmug.com/Conferencing-in-Dundee-and-Angus/EAD2019

At the cutting edge – Running with Scissors

Sharp minds, with cutting edge ideas, gathered in the ‘capital of cool’ for one of the world’s most influential design conferences.

Running With Scissors was the theme of The European Academy of Design (EAD) conference in Dundee which brought together a community of 265 academics and practitioners from 30 different nations all committed to fostering new and existing relations in an effort to increase knowledge of art and design – and deepen understanding of how design contributes to improving quality of life.

EAD2019, Dalhousie, University of Dundee

This wasn’t simply a design conference rather, it was billed as a 'playground’– with three days to explore new work insights through workshops, live research projects and outdoor adventures. In a conference experience that each attendee could design and influence, there were eight tracks to pick and mix from, with a complementary series of walks, workshops, posters and research activities to engage in.

EAD2019 Workships, walks, posters and research

Delegates were encouraged to explore new insights and to share experiences with inclusion, for the first time, of live research projects and open-air walks, offering the whole community the chance to participate and learn, with results shared afterwards.

Other trailblazing approaches included EAD’s first ever PhD Gathering. Funding secured from the University of Dundee’s Duncan Jordanstone College of Art and Design supported a PhD leadership community for students and researchers who had completed their doctorate within the last five years.

Professor Louise Valentine, chair of EAD2019 explained: “We welcomed international PhD students of all stages from across the design research discipline. Aligned to the main conference theme, Running with Scissors, this special event celebrated and nurtured a strong, diverse international student community, placing emphasis on leadership, peer support and learning.

“This dedicated session provided PhD students with a valuable opportunity to build peer networks and to share and get feedback on work-in-progress research from this community as well as from experts in their field.”

Why Dundee?

As the only UNESCO City of Design in the UK, and home to the V&A, the UK’s only museum of design built outside of London, Dundee can lay claim to being the world’s most interesting centre for creativity.

It has a reputation as a city that is bold, radical, risky disruptive and simply brilliant at design. And it was named one of the world’s coolest cities by the influential US newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

Dundee was a fitting setting, then, for one of world’s most influential design conferences, previously staged in cities including Stockholm, Barcelona, Bremen, Porto, Gothenburg, Paris, France and Rome.

The University of Dundee, home of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, was host.

The 130-year-old College became part of the University of Dundee in 1994 and has a world-renowned reputation for outstanding teaching and research. It has been ranked in the World’s Top 1 percent by QS World University Rankings and was ranked number 1 in Scotland for Art & Design by the Complete University Guide 2019.

It has an active and diverse research community which fosters innovation within creative practice and employ creative practice as a methodology. This contributes towards a knowledge base that furthers its disciplines. The school takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, extending beyond traditional strengths in art and design disciplines. With partners across the world, DJCAD’s research impact is global as well as local.

As well as having the ‘brainpower’, choosing Dundee and its wider region allowed for social events at two very contrasting evening venues – the historic Glamis Castle in rural Angus and the new V&A Museum of Contemporary Design on the Dundee Waterfront. A purposeful fusion and celebration of the region’s heritage and innovation.

In a twist from the norm, delegates could rise and shine early in the morning, or take a lunch break and step out on a series of walks to explore the natural beauty and built environment of the region.

Professor Valentine said: “By using the location of the conference, the walks sought to enhance wellbeing and nurture different forms of dialogue. As well as punctuating the conference schedule, walks offered alternative ways to host and participate in research, in addition to more fully experiencing the city and surrounding landscape."

The university was partner host with Dundee City Region Convention Bureau whose input allowed delegates to source relevant information to plan their trip, including free airport transfers, accommodation, restaurants, day trips and other opportunities to make the most of their stay.

Beyond the Conference

Professor Valentine was proud that the Dundee conference offered, over three days, a whole community of practice, with delegates attentive, reflective, nurturing and open to new positions and experiences.

She said: “We were particularly keen to offer different ways to engage in EAD 2019 as a conference should be a place to share, but also shape our future design research.

“Alongside the traditional full paper presentations and poster session, live research opportunities and a platform for debate took on a more central role.

“Workshops that fed into research outputs have been a part of previous conferences, but 2019 saw the inclusion of live research projects and open-air walks.

“The Research Projects offered researchers the chance to engage conference delegates across the full three days of the conference, through different research interventions.

“The whole community was able to participate in and learn from the live research, and the results of these will be shared on the EAD website.

“Walks acknowledge the benefits of taking research and reflection out into nature and the built environment. As well as interspersing the conference schedule, the walks offered alternative ways to host and participate in research, in addition to more fully experiencing the city and surrounding landscape. Dundee and the wider region certainly delivered.”

As for legacy, a global competition challenging young designers to change the world was unveiled during the conference – carrying the name ‘Dundeed’.

This international design competition issues a challenge to design research teams around the world to creatively engage with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2019 theme ‘Dundeed’ is a play on words combining the City of Dundee and the act of doing a good deed. EAD and collaborating partner Design Indaba will award £5,000 to a group submission that proposes ambitiously creative ways of addressing the challenges.

This new initiative marks the first of what is intended to be an ongoing collaboration and has been supported by investment from entrepreneurial platform Elevator Dundee, Centre of Entrepreneurship.

Professor Valentine explained: “Legacy is at the heart of this superb new partnership project because the world that our children and their children inherit from us will be very different from today.

“Our legacy can be one of waste, destruction, and inequality or we can change our collective thinking and actively make a better future. For this reason, EAD and Design Indaba are working together to promote local actions that have global consequences.”

The announcement was made by Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba, during his keynote speech at the EAD conference.

Feedback...in statistics

76% agreed that following this conference, they would be collaborating with people they haven't collaborated with before

78% agreed attending EAD2019 had enhanced their knowledge of international design research

77% agreed that peer/ community learning was an important part of my experience at EAD2019

55% agreed that attending EAD2019 has enhanced their knowledge of design research methods and methodologies

...and in comments

“Good number of breaks and time for lunch, great organisation, use of venue kept us compact and allowed for 'bumping into people'. Night-time activities also provided opportunities to meet and talk.”

“Being a PhD this conference in general provided me with the opportunity to network with fellow researcher.”

“This was the best design conference I have attended so far. I have made far more connections also through the informal nature of the conference and the openness of those attending to spark discussion. The format of the conference was very well thought through and the session tracks were themed very well. This made it easier to form connections with others.”

“This was my first research conference and I am blown away by how engaging and insightful this was.”

“The attendees as well as the organisers were fabulous people, so much positivity and love/respect for each other's work. I appreciated learning from others about their work as well as their thinking and approach.”

“It was great to meet so many people, from such diverse design disciplines, who were open to discussion and possible collaboration.”

“It's an important opportunity to share with people from diverse research centres the outcomes of our studies as well as the approaches of our researches. The PhD gathering sessions with the heroes and heroines were also useful to share and discuss our practices and concerns with other colleagues.”

“The intellectual stimulation, the meeting of people, Dundee, spirit of friendliness, organisation and care that pervaded the whole conference.”

“The spirit of the conference was most memorable. Sharing, happy and inspiring.”

“Not just a run of the mill conference. Loved the walk in the woods, that will stay with me for a long time.”

“The conference is excellent for PhDs and early career researchers.”

"Welcome variation from the typical conference schedule of sit, listen, repeat. The evening/social events, walks, and workshops were so enjoyable and made for an enriching and memorable experience.”

“It's an important opportunity to share with people from diverse research centres the outcomes of our studies as well as the approaches of our researches. The PhD gathering sessions with the heroes and heroines were also useful to share and discuss our practices and concerns with other colleagues.”

“I enjoyed all of the presentations that I attended, and no particular one was more important than any other one. It was great to see PhD students presenting and clearly contributing significantly.”