Designers Saturday Academy

Designers’ Saturday is a commercial fair marketing new products and services by the participating companies to their customers and partners, but also to the wider public. Fairs like this are the arena for surfacing the latest developments in the field. Within the well-stablished international events, this has meant a wide range of stakeholders contributing to the discourse with multiple voices; the big leading brands, the local agents, the start-up companies, the up-and-coming young designers and the education sector. All of these enter the debate with equal importance, but with slightly different agenda. It is quite natural that the education institutions and the next generation brings in the more experimental and critical voices to challenge the conventions in the industry. This has been highly appreciated and an important contribution at the international fairs, to forecast and to project the potential developments within the field. By establishing the DS Academy, we wish to strengthen this avantgarde discussion at the Norwegian design scene.

The design context is still very small in Norway and we are only very few actors in the field. The idea behind DS Academy is also to unite those willing to be involved to engage in contributing to the discussion. This means that we wanted to create a cluster, a focused forum to support and help each other. I am extremely proud for example to have been able to bring together all the Norwegian higher education institutions in the respective design fields. This is something we hardly ever do, as we are in a way competitors as well in our sector. Yet, now during the DS Academy we have joint our forces to bring into foreground those issues that matter. The other part that I am extremely happy about, is the so-called ‘co-op’, where we have invited some companies to join in to the DS Academy with an obligation to collaborate with students. This has been received very well, and will hopefully become a role model on how to facilitate the better dialogue between the different parties. And further on, we are also very honoured that we have managed to get some international key figures to contribute to our awards ceremonies and design talks. The key factor for the success of DS Academy, is that it should be seen as an umbrella for multiple arrangements, as we need this critical mass to become meaningful. So as one can see there many intriguing things happening at DS Academy campus by the Akerselva!

To sum up our intentions, and maybe also to bridge back to our overarching theme, ‘responsibility’, the DS Academy wishes to provide a better platform for debate. We need to care about our practices and the way we run our industries, but more than ever before, we need to share our concerns and actions to make a difference. Therefore, we should seize the moment during an event like this, and take the responsibility, when we come together to socialize, to network and to make our businesses, then also to mutually pursue the bigger goals for making our world a bit better.

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