After a brief introduction of the school Mikael Damberg was
shown around a newly opened exhibition presented by students of the
one-year-course Industrial Design Intensive (IDI). The exhibition
posters showcased upgrades of certain components in cars from
renowned car manufacturers such as BMW, Volvo and Lexus. Mikael
Damberg asked students how they had ended up in Umeå and why they
had chosen IDI. With widely different backgrounds - from
engineering to communications to fine arts - the students all
agreed that the IDI course was a unique opportunity to shift gears,
towards a new career in design.
The next stop on the tour saw the minister drop by a group
sharing session with the first-year students in the Master
Programme in Advanced Product Design. The ten-week project,
focusing on product solutions for digital health with Nokia, was in
its first week as students performed basic research and presented
analogue material on boards.
Mikael Damberg spoke to students about the possibilities of
connecting digital health products, such as wrist wearables, with
the overall health care provided by society. "Those who will be
able to connect these gadgets with real health care solutions could
have a real impact going forward. If we can get these start-up
companies, along with big companies like Nokia, to actually get
involved in the development of health care on a larger scale, then
that's really exciting."
The visitors then joined the kick-off meeting for another
project, this time with the first-year students of the Master
Programme in Interaction Design. The project, called Mobility
Justice, is about trying to encourage future sustainable modes of
public transportation for Umeå while also trying to address issues
such as gender, power structures and affordability in relation to
Mikael Damberg saw a connection with the project and the
government's efforts to promote sustainability. "This really taps
in to the government's priorities where we look at the big societal
challenges. Two of our key priorities are promoting smart
cities and next generation transport and travel. This
project ties into those challenges in a very real sense. It's great
to hear that you are pushing the limits on these issues"
The visit ended with a brief tour of the main workshop where
some of the key infrastructure that the students use to create
prototypes was demonstrated.