DUBAI: The 5th edition of Global Grad Show at Dubai Design Week kicked off on Tuesday with a showcase of more than 150 student innovations from around the world.
The most diverse edition to date features projects from more than 100 universities, including established names such as the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and Goldsmiths, alongside new entrants from the Philippines, Colombia and Kuwait.
That diversity is something that was extremely important to the show’s new curator, Eleanor Watson.
“The quantity is just a reflection of our aims for diversity, which I think is tremendously important because there is a tendency in design showcases to always end up showing material from the same schools and the same regions,” she told Arab News. “And that’s painting a very particular picture of the design landscape that’s not actually reflective of all of the work that’s out there and of different people’s lived experiences and what they expect from design.”
This year’s curatorial themes will explore the spheres where innovation can create a positive impact and Watson chose to split the show into areas named The Human; The Home; The Community; The City and The Planet.
The aim, according to the curator, is all about “showing different systems of scale and showing what scale those designs operate on, just as a way to help people make sense of the incredible variety of designs and how it impacts all of our lives in very different ways.”
Graduate projects from 43 countries — in the fields of design, science, technology and engineering — are on show at the exhibition, which runs until Nov. 16.
“That’s part of what’s very nice about (it) — seeing work from students in parts of the world you maybe would not get the chance to visit and to be exposed to issues that you didn’t realize were out there,” Watson said of the conscious push to ensure diversity.
And it’s not just about showing off their work, students and professors descend on Dubai for the opportunity to meet with similar minds from across the globe.
“There is this sense of creating a global design network, where people can share ideas and can share problems or challenges and see how they can help each other,” Watson said.