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Welcome graduates, teachers, staff, and distinguished guests,

Today we are proud!
Proud to present you the work of our latest 141 graduates.

We are proud of their results and proud of the team that put this show together. Thank you Jan Konings, Bart Guldemond, graphic designers HallerBrun, Tessa Lantinga, Bas van Raaij, Tessa Blokland, Gabrielle Kennedy, Rene van Binsbergen, Ella van Kessel and Marc Ruis. Thank you Caroline Wierckx and her team and Mark van der Gronden and his team. Thank you to all staff, all teachers, all heads, all workshop instructors and everybody else behind this event.

It might sound like we are patting ourselves on the shoulder. And in a way we are. Everybody here did something today to make this event possible.
We also get pats on the shoulder from the outside world.
Alice Rawsthorn just called us ‘the most influential design school in Europe’ in the International New York Times.
And she called Dutch Design Week one of the best design festivals in the world, the one with the strongest design ethos.
Disegno, one of the more profound design magazines, wrote very favourably about our ‘Eat Shit’ show in Milan.
The Dutch national newspaper NRC just picked up Vera De Pont’s project to highlight the whole of Dutch Design Week.

So we are blossoming, we grow in importance and influence. How come?
Three years ago we were heavily attacked. We were seen to be making dysfunctional, even dangerous designs.
We were not understood for what we were doing.
Many students look at the world and see real issues as a start point for their projects – racial tensions, refugees, social disconnect, healthcare, media, politics, and environmental disasters.
But often we don’t come up with real solutions to these problems.
We are more focused on designing experiments, interventions,  reflections, and questions even. We create alternatives and that makes us prone to criticism.

Those who criticize us seem to say: if you want to be artistic, that is fine, but do it in a little corner of society. A little corner called ‘culture’ or ‘beauty’ or ’sensitivity'.  Leave the real issues to us, because it takes a rational mind to solve them, but we, in this school, think differently.
It takes a narrow mind to narrow down a problem and solve it. Many students feel that the issues in the world, the crises that we see, are more fundamental and we need a more free and more artistic approach to develop alternatives.
The word alternative used to be connected to being marginal. But with present day technology small initiatives can have a global impact.  If we share ideas through open source we don’t need big institutions to change our society or our economy.

Alternatives are not marginal, they are socially relevant. Alice Rawsthorn called us influential, and I think she picked that word carefully. We have an impact on the design field. And we have an impact on the world.

If we have this impact, and I think we do, then debate becomes very important. Debate and reflection. That is why during DDW we explore the changing design landscape in our daily Create Out Loud talk show, that we curate together with MU and VPRO lab, Baltan Laboratories, DDW, Designhuis and MOTI.
This talkshow takes place every evening at the Mu art space.

As you know, today is not just an opening, it is also a prize winning ceremony.  Here I’d like to extend a thanks to the Keep an Eye Foundation for their involvement and support of our graduates.

A theme we are seeing many students tackle is de-materialization.  Technology is playing a bigger role, both in society and in design. The virtual world is growing and our students are pioneering in that world. They are discovering new territories.
And one person who is definitely pioneering with virtual reality is Allison Crank. She wins a Keep an Eye Grant and the Gijs Bakker award. All 4 of our Keep an Eye winners will receive an 11, 000 euros cheque and trophy designed by our student Jules Bernard. The egg with a catapult. The trophies for our 3 academy prizes - the Gijs Bakker award, the Melkweg award and the Renee Smeets award is made by this year’s graduate: Olivier van Herpt. Thanks Olivier.
Olivier’s work is a clear example of another theme that we have seen students exploring this year: humanizing technology. He is at once a designer of vases, and a 3D printer, but also a programmer and coder. This is why he is awarded a Keep an Eye Grant!

The next winner also explores this big theme of humanizing technology - Jos Klarenbeek.
In ‘Cowtarium’, Jos puts a reversal in our agrifood industry. Let’s not put the industrial process first, let’s put the cow first and build the process and industry around it. Jos wins an Keep an Eye Grant and the Melkweg Award.

The last winner explores an important theme that has always been central to Design Academy Eindhoven’s output - Tactility. With our workshops central in our education we have built a whole tradition of designs and experiments focused on tactality. Today we can understand this theme as a reaction to the growing importance of technology. In that sense ‘tactitility’ is bridging the past and the future of design.
I call to the stage Simone Post, as a Keep an Eye Grant winner and the Rene Smeets Prize winner.  Simone found a way to utilize the thousands of yards of fabric produced by textiles giant Vlisco.

So here we have four winners and the themes they embody.  Dematerilization, humanizing technology and tactility are the basis of another exhibition Design Academy Eindhoven is behind during Dutch Design Week.
‘Thing Nothing’ is the product of a research we did with the Van Abbemuseum and will open today at 4 o’clock.
In that show you will find Allison Crank and Olivier van Herpt, but you will find them surrounded by artists and designers of a different generation, like Ai Wei Wei, Ted Noten, Aldo Bakker, MVRDV, Studio Drift, and Lucas Maassen. You will see that our graduates can compare to those big names in the daring positions they take.

We stand at a great moment in time for a school like ours. A new world is being formed in institutions like ours. Last year I said to our graduates: design is changing because of you! This year I want to add the world to that. The world is changing because of you.

Thank you!



For more information about the Graduation Show, the Awards, and the NY Times article, please click the links.


Published: 17-Oct-2015 13:42
  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Keep an Eye Award winners

  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Allison Crank - The Reality Theatre MA Contextual Design (Keep an Eye Grant & Gijs Bakker Award winner)

  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Olivier van Herpt - 3D Ceramics BA Man & Activiy (Keep an Eye Grant nominee)

  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Jos Klarenbeek - Cowtarium BA Man & Public Space (Keep an Eye Grant nominee)

  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Simone Post - Vlisco Recycled BA Man & Living (Keep an Eye Grant & René Smeets Award winner)

  • Widdershoven Opens Gaduation Show 2015

    Thomas Widdershoven, Creative Director of Design Academy Eindhoven