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30 PlusYears of Making a Mark in the World

Cumulus has evolved and realized remarkable growth since its founding, establishing itself as an academic forum for a diversity of approaches to art and design education and research globally.
Founded in 1990 as a co-operation network between leading European art, design and media universities, Cumulus was born as a platform to foster collaboration and student and faculty mobility within the European Union Erasmus programme.

Granted official Association status in 2001, and becoming international in 2006, Cumulus has continued to expand ever since and now spans all five continents as a non-profit global Association based in Finland.

Throughout its history, Cumulus has served as an advocate for the strategic role of design and the arts in addressing the global challenges we face as a human community inhabiting a planet with finite resources.

Significant milestones pay testament to the far-reaching influence of Cumulus. The signing of the Kyoto Design Declaration in 2008, the 2011 UNESCO non-governmental associate designation, and the signature Cumulus Green student competition are examples of Cumulus’ commitment to amplifying the work of its members and the role of art and design education and research globally.




Foundation of the Network

Yrjö Sotamaa propels the vision forward at the University of Art and Design Helsinki with the support of Raimo Nikannen and colleagues from the Royal College of Art. A group of 6 prominent European universities with art and design divisions unite to form the foundation of the network:

  • http://University%20of%20Art%20and%20Design%20in%20Helsinki%20(now%20Aalto%20University)

    University of Art and Design in Helsinki (now Aalto University)

  • http://Royal%20College%20of%20Art%20in%20London,%20UK

    Royal College of Art in London, UK

  • http://The%20Royal%20Danish%20Academy%20of%20Fine%20Arts,%20School%20of%20Design%20(Danmarks%20Designskole)%20Copenhagen,%20Denmark

    The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design (Danmarks Designskole) Copenhagen, Denmark

  • http://Gerrit%20Rietveld%20Academy%20in%20Amsterdam,%20Netherlands

    Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • http://Folkwang%20Hochschule,%20Gesamthochschule%20Universität%20now%20The%20Folkwang%20University%20of%20the%20Arts%20(FUDK)%20in%20Essen,%20Germany

    Folkwang Hochschule, Gesamthochschule Universität now The Folkwang University of the Arts (FUDK) in Essen, Germany

  • http://University%20of%20Applied%20Arts%20(Hochschule%20für%20Angewandte%20Kunst)%20in%20Vienna,%20Austria

    University of Applied Arts (Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst) in Vienna, Austria


March 2008

Kyoto Design Declaration

In the context of the Cumulus Kyoto Design Conference hosted by Kyoto Seika University in Japan (28-31 March 2008), the first Cumulus conference held outside Europe, The Kyoto Design Declaration was signed by the Author of the Declaration, Cumulus President Emeritus Professor Yrjö Sotamaa, Cumulus Honorary President Christian Guellerin, and the Cumulus Executive Board and Rector Kan Shimamoto, Kyoto Seika University, and Industrial Designer Takuo Hirano from Japan, on behalf of the 124 global members of Cumulus at the time.

The Declaration received support from prominent professional associations in the field of design like AIGA, ICSID, BEDA, and EIDD. By signing the Kyoto Design Declaration, Cumulus members committed to sharing global responsibility for building sustainable, human-centered, and creative societies.

The Kyoto Design Declaration becomes the inspiration for the Cumulus Green award launched the following year.



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