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Cumulus is led by a dedicated team of art and design educators from around the world.

The Cumulus Executive Board

Our Executive Board, led by President Mariana Amatullo, is a group of experienced academic leaders elected from our member institutions worldwide. Our board serves in a volunteer capacity for three year terms.

Meet the Board

The current Cumulus Executive Board (CEB VII) was elected during the General Assembly in Rovaniemi, Finland in May 2019. Their three-year mandate concludes in June 2022.

By working together and from a pluralism of perspectives, Cumulus members are uniquely positioned to champion the impact of art and design in making a positive difference in the world—I am thrilled to be a catalyst for that effort.

The internationalization work that Cumulus facilitates is more relevant than ever in an interdependent world where globally competent artists and designers are better equipped not only to foster better understanding and respect among individuals of diverse backgrounds but also gain a level of cross-cultural competency from the exposure to international experiences and study abroad that translate into the soft skills the global labor market requires today. It is my distinct honor to serve the Cumulus community as its current President. In an elected membership association like ours, with the excellence and diversity of all our constituents, one has a very tangible sense from the first day in the role about the weight of the responsibility and the relatively brief and fleeting nature of the stewardship one is entrusted with. Along with each of my colleagues in the Executive Board, I definitely strive every day to approach the role with that high order of accountability. Another sentiment that energizes me is a sense of great urgency and disciplined purpose. Urgency: because there is so much to accomplish to continue building on our inspiring legacy! Disciplined purpose: We must harness a lot of forward momentum to create new conditions to leverage the incredible global platform we collectively share as an association. 

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  • Biography
  • President’s Letters
  • Lectures

Cumulus President

Mariana Amatullo, PhD

Vice Provost, Global Executive Education and Online Strategic Initiatives Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design, The New School, USA

[email protected]

Dr. Mariana Amatullo became the fourth Cumulus President and the first President of the association to come from a non-European-based institution when she was elected in the General Assembly of May 2019 at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. She took on the role after two successful terms of service on the Board, starting in 2013. Mariana’s approach as chief steward of the association has been to continue building on the legacy and foundational values of Cumulus, while undertaking a disciplined process of organizational transformation and capacity building—a process accelerated by the onslaught of the pandemic in 2020. Highlights of her work to date include leading the re-launch of the Cumulus Green 2020 student competition; shaping a participatory process with the Board to develop a new strategic plan, Cumulus at 30; establishing a focused structure for the Board’s ongoing work via sub-committees organized according to areas of expertise and interest that correspond to the objectives of the strategic plan; producing the Cumulus at 30 Anniversary Campaign, and embarking on long-term efforts to expand the resources of the Secretariat, while strengthening policies for shared governance, diversity, equity, and inclusion as the association continues on a globalization growth trajectory.

Mariana is an experienced academic administrator, strategist, educator, researcher, and author who brings two decades of global leadership in the art and design fields into her role serving Cumulus members.Mariana has led award-winning educational initiatives, research projects, and publications at the intersection of design, design management, and social innovation throughout her academic trajectory. In her full-time faculty role at Parsons School of Design, Mariana teaches an inspiring cadre of international graduate students from Parsons’ Masters in Strategic Design and Management. She is an affiliated faculty with the Parsons DESIS Lab and the university’s graduate minor in Public Service Design. Mariana’s research and publishing explore the cognitive agency of design in advancing innovation in the public and social sectors. Since joining Parsons in 2017, Mariana has served the university in various administrative roles in the Provost Office. In 2021, Mariana was appointed Vice Provost for Global Executive Education and Online Strategic Initiatives with a mandate to lend academic strategy and leadership to develop these priority areas of innovation and expansion across new degree format delivery and in the Executive Education space at The New School. Previously, Mariana co-founded and led the social innovation department, Designmatters, at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Mariana lectures internationally about design and social innovation. She serves on the various executive and advisory boards in design and the arts, including The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics. She is the recipient of the inaugural 2012 DELL Social Innovation Award for Outstanding Social Innovation Education, a Salzburg Global Fellow, a Fellow with the Royal Society of the Arts, and a Scholar-in-Residence Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Mariana is the author and editor of several academic journal articles, book chapters, and publications that address the role of designers as agents of societal transformation. Her upcoming volume with co-editors Bryan Boyer, Jennifer May, and Andrew Shea, Design for Social Innovation: Case Studies from around the World, will be published by Routledge in November 2021.

Mariana holds a Ph.D. in Management (Designing Sustainable Systems) from Case Western Reserve University; an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California, and a Licence en Lettres Degree from the Sorbonne University, Paris, where she also studied Art History at L’Ecole du Louvre. A native of Argentina and the child of a diplomat, Mariana is trilingual (Spanish, French, and English) and grew up around the world. 

Watch Mariana’s interview as Cumulus President in the context of the association’s 30th Anniversary here.

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Latest President’s Letter

October 2021

This month brought back to me one of the great joys of serving in the Cumulus Executive Board: the opportunity to “break bread” and hold intensive working sessions in person again with my fellow board members, a group of academic leaders from around the world deeply committed to the stewardship of our association.

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2021

September 2021

August 2021

June 2021

2020

December 2020

President’s Lectures, Presentations, Juries & Media

 

The following is a selection of lectures, juries, podcast interviews, and various other media from President Amatullo during her term of service as Cumulus.

2021

Juror, JumptheGap ROCA International Design Contest, Shigeru Ban, Jury President, 2021.

Juror, Savia: Imagining the Future of Fibers, 2021.

Podcast Interview, Mariana Amatullo on Design For Social Innovation with Roy Sharples, Unknown Origins Podcast, August 2021. 

Opening Remarks, Cumulus + New European Bauhaus Initiative, Cumulus Connects Global Conversation, (Virtual) August 26, 2021.

Opening and Closing Remarks, Cumulus Presidential Address, Cumulus Roma Conference 2021, Design Culture (s), Sapienza University, June 8-10, Rome and Virtual, 2021. 

Invited International Lecture, “ Designing for Social Innovation: New Insights across a Pluralism of Practices,”  Design Products, Royal College of Art, London (Virtual), May 27, 2021. 

Keynote Speaker, Imagination Summit,” Flourish Together,” Lancaster University, UK (Virtual), March 18, 2021. 

Juror, INDEX Award Diseño Responde, 2021.

Keynote Panelist, “Design Education and Play: the Social Innovation Imperative,” Industry Panel on behalf of Cumulus, “Toy’Ing with Design,” Ahmedabad Design Week (ADW 2021), February 3-7, 2021.

 

2020

Invited Lecture, “Beyond the studio walls: Lessons and Opportunities from the forced shift to distance education,” Future of Design Education Academic Colloquium, Division of Science, Arts and Design, UAM, Mexico (Virtual), November 23-24, 2020. 

Keynote, Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, “The New Social Commitment of Design Education,” Design Education in 2035: Emerging Practices and Education Conference 2020, (Virtual) Shanghai, China, November 21, 2020.

Opening Keynote Lecture for Chile’s Month of Design, “Design Attitude y el Nuevo Compromiso Social del Diseño,” (Virtual), What is the significance of designing today? Organized by the Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy, Chile, November 5, 2020, https://mesdeldiseno.cl/.

Keynote Lecture on behalf of Cumulus, Open Design Afrika, The Power, Role, and Future of Design Education, Cape Town, South Africa October 29, 2020,  Virtual Festival edition.

Panelist, Cumulus Connects Global Conversation Series, “The Changing Needs of Design Education and Research: A Global Perspective,”  Virtual, September 11, 2020.

Panelist, Academic Series, Escuela de Diseño y Arquitectura, Tecnológico de Monterrey, “El Diseño Que Viene,” Mexico, Virtual, June 12, 2020.

Juror, The One Show Awards, 2020.

 

2019 

Juror, Inaugural Human City Design Award, Seoul Metropolitan Government, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Cities of Design Network, September 2019, Seoul, Korea.

Keynote Lecture, Human City Design Award, September 26, 2019, Seoul, Korea. 

Invited Lecture, Design Thinking Research Center, Yonsei University,” Towards a Design Attitude for Social Innovation and Organizational Change,” September 24, Seoul, Korea. 

Opening Remarks Lecture, Cumulus Colombia: The Design After Conference, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, October 2019. 

Keynote Lecture, Regenerating Good International Symposium, “Bringing a Design Attitude to Social Change,” September 11, New York.

Invited Panelist, Lapland University, “New Perspectives through Strategic Collaborations: Expectations, Strategies, and Formats,” round table organized by Köln International School of Design for the Cumulus Conference in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland (May 31st, 2019).

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Vice President

Philipp Heidkamp

Professor, Köln International School of Design (KISD), Germany

[email protected]

Cumulus Vice President and Professor Philipp Heidkamp is serving his first term on the Cumulus board, elected in 2019. In his capacity as Vice President, he is an ongoing collaborator and thought-partner to the Cumulus President on the association’s governance and strategic direction. He has focused his leadership efforts on several priority areas of the strategic plan, most notably in the communication and community-building clusters for Cumulus.

On the communication front, Philipp took the lead in leveraging his deep expertise in information design and internationalization by spearheading the association’s efforts to build a digital ecosystem for its members with a vision of creating distributed virtual convening spaces for meet-ups and meaningful dialogue. The CumulusConnects micro-site, an interactive virtual portal that precedes this new Cumulus website, was launched in September 2020 as an agile response to the new realities of interrupted global travel and the cancellation of on-site conferences brought about by the pandemic. The “global conversation” series originally launched in the CumulusConnects site is also part of Philipp’s efforts to help Cumulus Working Groups, including the Leadership and Strategy Working Group that Philipp currently co-chairs, access expanded digital tools for perspective-sharing. As Cumulus becomes an active partner in the New European Bauhaus initiative, Philipp is extending this community-building work in the C+NEB initiative, while remaining an active member in several Board subcommittees (i.e.conference and new website committees), and bringing his digital ecosystem vision and commitment to developing innovative models for internationalization to the Cumulus family.

Philipp is a Professor at Köln International School of Design (KISD) where he is currently responsible for the international strategy of the School. His domains of design expertise, teaching, and research touch on information and interface design, interaction design, and the digital aspects and opportunities of urban transformations in a globalized world.  Philipp has served in many roles since joining KISD in 2001 as Chair for Interface and Interaction Design; he used to be both Head of School and Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Sciences. His vast experience developing experiential design curricula and leading international design collaborations that seek to bring innovative formats for learning and knowledge exchange at a global level include his prior leadership of the MA Integrated Design and the MA European Design programs, establishing Double Degree MA programs with the universities of Tongji (China), Chiba (Japan) and Taipei (Taiwan), and serving as a founding member of the Global Design Initiative with Lasalle College of the Arts (Singapore), Central St. Martins (UK), SCID (Taiwan), and Musashino Art University (Japan). Philipp lectures internationally and holds a Senior Fellow appointment at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, since 2017. He regularly serves on international design juries; since 2020 he is a member of the Executive Board of EQ-Arts. In addition to his academic trajectory, Philipp has led his design studio in Cologne for 20 years.

 

Phillipp holds a degree (German Diplom) in Visual Communication Design from the HfG University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

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Vice President

Rachel K. B. Troye

Head of Institute of Design and 
Pro-Rector, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Norway

[email protected]

Cumulus Vice President and Professor Rachel Troye is serving her second term on the Cumulus board, in which she was first elected in 2016. In her capacity as Vice President, in addition to being an ongoing collaborative thought-partner to the Cumulus President on matters of the association governance and strategic direction,

Rachel is deploying her senior expertise and broad understanding of design with a disciplinary focus on visual communication, brand identity and service design and design management to help realize several of the objectives within the communication pillar of the Cumulus Strategic Plan. One of her primary contributions in the past year has been to lead the Board’s work to refresh the institutional brand identity of the association, designed by California-based award-winning designer Karen Davison, which Rachel presented to all members in the General Assembly of 2021. Another important focus in Rachel’s board service has been initiating and chairing the Women in Design Cumulus Working Group as a platform for exchange, inspiration, and mentorship by and for women members. The group’s overall aim is to share knowledge across cultures to empower and promote inclusive environments for women in design to lead and thrive in. 

At AHO Rachel stands out as the first female Head of the Institute for Design (since 2012) and the first woman to hold the position of Pro-Rector. At the Institute she has been dedicated to effecting major curricular revisions and processes of transformation to better address the demands of educating designers to meet the needs of today as well as anticipating those in the years ahead.Rachel is the Head of the Institute of Design at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) since January 2012. As Pro-Rector Rachel’s responsibilities have included branding, PR, and communication for AHO. Rachel teaches visual communication, brand identity design and design management at AHO as well as other design schools in Norway. She has also initiated and conducted several interdisciplinary projects across AHO such as the AHO WORKS EXHIBITIONS and she is editor of The AHO WORKS STUDIES series of publications.

In her 20 years of professional practice as a graphic designer in Switzerland and Norway, Rachel Troye has taken part in and had responsibility for a broad range of clients and projects. These have ranged from large global corporations like BMW, ABB, and The Airport Express Train in Norway to various cultural projects and NGOs. Rachel Troye is an engaged design leader and educator with executive board positions in organizations, educational institutions, and research centers. She is passionate about design’s potential to improve life and its innovation potential and create value for people, the planet, and prosperity.5

Rachel holds a BA in Psychology and French from Duke University in North Carolina, USA. She subsequently studied graphic design in Paris and London and has a BA Honours in Graphic Design from The London College of Printing. She has recently concluded the Solstrand Executive Leadership Development Program.

Watch Rachel’s 2021 presentation of the Cumulus brand identity refresh here.

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Treasurer

Adam de Eyto

Head of Design, Limerick School of Art and Design Ireland

[email protected]

Adam was elected to the Cumulus Executive Board in 2019 and occupies the inaugural position of Treasurer. Cumulus President Mariana Amatullo nominated him for the position, one endorsed by the full Executive Board and ratified at the 2020 General Assembly to provide budgetary oversight, recommendations for financial policies, and long-term planning connected to the association’s sustainability.

In this capacity, Adam lends focused leadership in line with international best practices and legal requirements and in compliance with the Cumulus statutes. He collaborates closely with the Board and Controller of the Cumulus Host Institution, supporting the Secretariat team in their managing of all key financial matters of the association. In addition to this leadership role, Adam’s service has included hands-on involvement in the conception of the CumulusConnects online portal launched in 2020 as a response to the pandemic (serving on its editorial board). In addition, Adam’s is an ongoing contributor to the board’s new website and solidarity sub-committees. 

Adam joined the Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD) at LIT  in January 2021. 

where he is the Head of Design. He manages and works with a dedicated team of academics and researchers who deliver undergraduate & postgraduate programs and research in a full range of Design disciplines.

In his prior role, Adam was the Head of School of Design at The University of Limerick and a lecturer in Product Design. Adam’s research expertise and interests span Design for Sustainability, Design Education, Soft Product Design / Wearables, Regenerative Design, Transdisciplinary Education, and Design for Health.

Adam’s service to the field includes his participation as an educational member on the Irish National Design Forum (Convened by the Government Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation); he  is Vice-Chair of the Design Educators Ireland (DEI) , a Fellow of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI)  and is also the Lead Editor for ITERATIONS Design research and practice review.

Adam holds a Ph.D. in Sustainable Design from Bournemouth University, UK and a B Des (Hons) in Industrial Design from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin. In addition, Adam has a Specialist Diploma in Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship from the University of Limerick.

Adam is a husband, & father of two wonderful girls. He volunteers as a Warden with the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation and as a  Group Leader for  7th Clare Ballyvaughan Scouts as well as being a beekeeper and outdoor enthusiast.

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Board

José Allard, PhD

Associate Professor and Researcher Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

[email protected]

José is serving his second consecutive term in the Cumulus Board, after first being elected in 2016. In addition to his participation in several board sub-committees, José has taken on a leadership role as a board liaison to the DESIS network, and has engaged in focused advocacy to expand network partnerships and institutional memberships for Cumulus in the Latin-American region.

José  has acted as a key facilitator and Juror of the Cumulus Green 2020 signature student competition, before taking on his current role of co-chair of the current edition of the competition: Cumulus Green 2022: Nurturing our Planet. 

José is an experienced administrator, educator, and researcher at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where he served as the Director of The School of Design from 2013 until 2019. As a practicing Chilean designer, José is at the helm of various projects and initiatives with public and private institutions as clients and partners, many of them with a focus on information design. He is a founding member of the Public Innovation Laboratory (LIP-UC), a “do tank” composed of colleagues from the university and researchers from the Center for Public Policy. He is also a researcher at the Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN), a board member at the Government Strategic Plan: Santiago Smart City, a  partner of Simplo, an innovation company focused on replacing single-use plastics with sustainable alternative solutions and founder of Wayfinding, a design consultancy in space navigation and signage. José is currently an academic visitor at  The School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

José holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Design and Multimedia Communication from Politecnico di Milano, Italy; an MFA in Graphic Design from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California, and a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from The Corcoran School of the Arts & Design (now part of Columbia College of Arts & Sciences, The George Washington University), Washington DC.

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Board

Lorenzo Imbesi, PhD

Full Professor and Sapienza Design Research Director, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

[email protected]

Lorenzo is serving his second consecutive term on the Board after having first been elected in 2016. As an architect and scholar with an esteemed trajectory contributing to the research field for design internationally through graduate education, publications, and conferences, Lorenzo has steered important efforts to create spaces for design research discourse and practice to thrive within the Cumulus community.

Most recently, he has extended his work as co-founder and co-chair of the ReveDa (Research Vectors in Design and Art) Cumulus Working Group by proposing and helping conceive the Cumulus Ph.D. Network that the association launched in 2020, an initiative he chairs. Lorenzo is an active participant of the Executive Board’s conference subcommittee and has been instrumental in leveraging his deep academic connections to expand the association’s membership in Italy, Europe, and Canada. Cumulus’ partnership with the Design Principles and Practices Research Network is a tribute to his introductory efforts. In 2021, Lorenzo co-chaired and delivered the Design Culture(S) Cumulus Roma conference hosted by Sapienza University. With a development arc of several years, Design Culture(s) is the first conference that Cumulus has brought to its members fully virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in this sense stands out as an important milestone for innovation and accomplishment for the association. 

As a Full Professor at La Sapienza University and chair of the Design Unit and Design Curriculum of the Ph.D. program as well as the Sapienza Design Research Interdepartmental Centre, Lorenzo continues to be an international keynote speaker, organizer, and active participant in educational initiatives, global conferences, and academic centers in the international design research community. Lorenzo brings a vast academic global experience to his teaching and research: he is currently a member of the Board of the Italian Society of Design SID, and a member of the Executive Board of EAD (European Academy of Design) since 2011. Among several international appointments, Lorenzo served as an ICCS fellow with the Canadian Government for two consecutive years, and a member of the Research Board of National and European researches (AHRB/EPSRC, CEE-COST), and coordinator of the ‘Programa Alta Formacion de Cuadros Dirigentes de los Paises del Mercosur’ from 2006 to 2009. He has served as a visiting professor for a number of international universities—including Hong Kong Polytechnic, University of San Diego, Emily Carr University, University of Calgary, and the University of Toronto, among others. Prior to his current role as a Full Professor at Sapienza University of Rome, Lorenzo served as an Associate Professor and the Graduate Coordinator of the Master of Design MDes at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada until 2013. Lorenzo’s contributions as an author, critic, and essayist may be found across many peer-reviewed journals. He is editor of ‘Design Principles and Practices: an International Journal’ (Common Ground Publishing, Chicago), director of ‘FIELDS. An Interdisciplinary Design Journal and member of the editorial advisory board of “The Design Journal” (Bloomsbury Publishing, London). Lorenzo’s publications include “Nomad+Design. 1. Categories” (2016), “Nomad+Design. 2. Phenomena” (2016), “Design for Social Innovation in Canada” (2016), “InterAction by Design” (2009), “09 YoungDesign” (2009), “Ethics & Design” (2008), and “D_Generation” (2007). 

Lorenzo holds a Ph.D. in Design from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

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Board

Michael Krohn

Professor, Head of the Center for Sustainability, Zȗrich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Switzerland

[email protected]

Michael was elected to the Cumulus Board in 2019. His current term of service marks a return for him to the stewardship of the association: Michael was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2007, serving two prior consecutive terms under Presidents Yrjő Sotamaa and Christian Guellerin through 2010. Michael brings deep institutional knowledge about Cumulus. One of his important contributions to the current strategic plan has been helping articulate the community pillar and the value of the association for its diverse stakeholders (faculty, staff, and students).

Michael is also acting as the chair of the Board subcommittee that is assessing the future format (s) and innovation opportunities for Cumulus conferences; additionally, he is also supporting key initiatives in the Cumulus network such as the Global Grad Show in Dubai and the European CORE Initiative. 

As an industrial design practitioner, educator, administrator, and researcher, Michael has occupied several leadership roles since joining the Zũrich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in 1993 as a lecturer. He was most recently the Deputy Director of the Department of Design (2015- 2020), before taking on the leadership of the Sustainability Center. Michael has been visiting professor at Jiangnan University, Wuxi (2015-2020), and Visiting Professor at the Napier University Department of Creative Industries in Edinburgh (2006). Michael lectures and publishes internationally about design, among other topics. As a practitioner, Michael is co-owner and CEO of FORMPOL AG, an interdisciplinary agency based in Zũrich.

Michael holds a graduate degree in higher education management from FLUG, Basel, and an industrial design diploma from the Zũrich University of the Arts.

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Board

Teemu Leinonen, PhD

Associate Professor of New Media Design and Learning, Aalto Media Lab, Media Department, School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland

[email protected]

Teemu is serving his first term in the Cumulus Board, having been elected in 2019. Teemu’s contributions to the Board have included a strong focus on the collaboration and community pillars of the association’s strategic plan.

These have resulted in contributions to the association’s strengthening of shared governance best practices and its ongoing work to champion access as well as diversity and inclusion in its practices and initiatives for all its current and future members. After chairing the Board sub-committee that conceived of the Executive Board Handbook ratified by the General Assembly in 2020, Teemu is currently helping lead the Board’s efforts to research and propose new solidarity-based models for increasing the association’s membership access.

As an Associate Professor of New Media Design and Learning and former Vice Dean for Research (2014 -2019), Teemu holds over two decades of experience in research and development of web-based learning. Since 1998 Teemu has led the Learning Environments’ research group of the Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University. Teemu teaches, conducts research, designs, and publishes extensively in different academic peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and design forums. As part of his wider service to the field, Teemu is a frequent lecturer and keynote speaker and serves on program committees and as a reviewer and jury member internationally.

Teemu is a well-known advocate of open-source/free software in education, free knowledge, and open education. As an expert practitioner, Teemu gives in-service courses for teachers and carries out consulting and concept design for schools, universities, and ICT and media companies. 

Teemu has previously served in the Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation, and has been an advisor of The Finnish Red Cross and several startup companies. He has co-founded and served on the board of the Peace Machine association and three startup companies. Currently Teemu is the chair of the Central Helsinki Music Institute, board member of the A-Clinic Foundation, Council member of the John Morton Center for North American Studies,  Member of the Long Now Foundation and Fellow of the RSA. Teemu has received several educational technology design awards in Finland and internationally.

Teemu holds a Ph.D. in New Media Design from the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture.

You can find out more about Teemu Leinonen’s research at Aalto University here. 

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Board

Robin Turner

Head, Graphic Design and Multimedia Department, Greenside Design Center, Johannesburg

[email protected]

Robin is serving his second consecutive term on the Board after having first been elected in 2016. As a design educator based in Johannesburg, Robin has been instrumental in helping lead Cumulus’ efforts to increase its visibility in and representation from the African continent, where the association’s membership is only nascent.

With 54 nations, more than 2000 languages, a billion inhabitants, and a vibrant and multicultural art and design contemporary scene, engaging with an expanded set of African institutions remains an important priority for Cumulus. Robin’s advocacy in this arena has already resulted in an increase of Cumulus Plus grantees from the continent during his terms of service and a strategic partnership with the Pan Afrikan Design Institute (PADI), the association representing the interest of design professionals and design educators from numerous design disciplines across the continent. In the current Board, Robin has brought this work to bear in the solidarity sub-committee, focusing on the strategic plan’s objective to increase access to the Cumulus membership and flows of learning and exchange between Global North and Global South. In addition, Robin’s senior expertise as a multimedia designer with an expansive portfolio of work in interaction design has been instrumental in his chairing the new website subcommittee and helping impart an exciting vision for the association’s digital ecosystem. 

As a dedicated design leader and educator, Robin has been a lecturer at the Greenside Design Center starting in 2008 and currently heads its Graphic and Multimedia Design Department. 

As an award-winning practitioner, Robin has a passion for anything digital, which has as a result, led him to break into the New/Multimedia design arena and lecture internationally on the topic; he is particularly interested in interactive design, and specialises in physical or human computing, which is an area of interactive design that explores that potential of human/computer interactions that do not require the use conventional digital inputs such as keyboards and a mouse. When Robin isn’t taking technologies apart to see how they work, he’s trying to invent new ones—while also developing corporate identities and creating new typefaces.

Robin holds a Master’s degree in Digital Arts from WITS ( the University of the Witwatersrand). He began his training at the Vaal Triangle Technikon and honed his skills through an honours degree programme at the Greenside Design Center where he received a BA in Graphic Design.

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Board

Anne Pikkov

Vice-Rector, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia

[email protected]

Anne was elected to the Cumulus Board in 2019. A key focus of her efforts serving the board has been on helping give shape to one of the central initiatives of the association’s strategic plan: cultivating a more student-centric culture within Cumulus.

The association has always championed initiatives for students such as competitions, study abroad opportunities, and promoted scholarships as well as the now well-established Cumulus Student Ambassador Program. Under the current strategic plan however, creating new spaces conceived “by students, for students,” within the programming of Cumulus represents an important goal that will require ongoing effort. Anne has been at the forefront of this effort: interviewing students, bringing their voices to bear on future planning, and nurturing the work of emerging student groups such as the CirroCumulus group. She is also co-chairing the Cumulus Green 2022 competition and led the Board’s effort together with the Secretariat to develop the design brief of the Cumulus Green trophy, overseeing its design and execution by a talented team from the Estonian Academy of the Arts.

Anne is an experienced administrator, educator, and Art Director with a robust trajectory of contributions to both industry and academia. She joined the Estonian Academy of the Arts as a visiting teacher in 1998; she has been leading the Continuing Education Department since 2006 and in addition took on the position of Vice-Rector in 2014.  Anne serves on several boards as part of her service to the profession, including qArted of Nordic-Baltic Network, the Estonian Academy of Arts Foundation, and The Union of Estonian Graphic Designers.  

Anne is the recipient of numerous awards for her work as a children’s books illustrator and designer; her publications and work are included in exhibitions nationally and throughout Europe on an ongoing basis. In 2016 she was recognized with the “Raisin of the Year” award for most extraordinary children’s book.

 

Anne holds a BA and MA degree in Graphic Design from the Estonian Academy of the Arts.

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Board

Xiao Yong

Professor of Visual Communication Design School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing

[email protected]

Xiao Yong is serving his second consecutive term on the Board of Cumulus. He has been dedicated to the association for many years, having first been elected to the Cumulus Executive Board for the 2007-2010 cycle.

During his current leadership turn on the Board of Cumulus, Xiao’s focus has been to support the Board and the Secretariat in helping grow new program opportunities for students via Cumulus, a key objective of the association’s current strategic plan. As part of his board service, Xiao has also continued to amplify the visibility of Cumulus in China helping to recruit other national universities as members and identifying prospective partnerships with like-minded design organizations and outlets. 

As a Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, Xiao is a dedicated teacher who routinely lectures internationally; he has taught in more than 400 universities in China and around the world including teaching engagements in Germany, France, Denmark, Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand. Xiao is also an active conference speaker, conference organizer, juror, and leader in the communication design field. He has served as the chief editor of Art and Design Magazine (2001-2003) and has designed and edited more than thirty communication design publications. 

As a practitioner, Xiao is an award-winning graphic designer and the recipient of the 2007 Top 10 Chinese Designers; his visual design work is in the collection of several museums. Xiao was the chief designer of the 2008 Medals for the Beijing Summer Olympic Games. His brand identity work includes communication systems and logos for exhibitions, conferences and organizations, including well-known logos for Pure Finland, Chinese Artists Union, the stamp design for “From Beijing to London,” jointly issued by the China/UK post, and the original logo for the Cumulus Green competition. 

Xiao’s service to the field also includes a Vice Presidency in the Board of ICO-D (formerly Icograda) from 2009 through 2011. 

Xiao holds an M.A from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (TaiK), now Aalto University.  Undergraduate Degree to add.

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The Secretariat Team

The Cumulus Secretariat counts on a dynamic team of individuals from The School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, the current host institution of our association.

This full-time team manages day-to-day operations to support the mission of Cumulus and its members.

Our work at the Secretariat is all about carrying forth our mandate to support our members, make connections and mobilize the community to participate in various moments and venues for global dialogue and the …

development of education and research in our disciplines of art, design and media. The Secretariat is here to serve as a hub for the success of our association and all of its members.”

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Secretary General

Eija Salmi, FRSA

[email protected]

Eija is the founding Secretary General of Cumulus. In her senior role, she serves as the key administrative contact for all Cumulus members. She collaborates with the Cumulus President and the Executive Board to execute the mandate of the association’s strategic plan and the association’s members. In her management capacity, Eija oversees the operations and staff of the Secretariat. She facilitates many member activities such as Cumulus Working Groups and the association’s participation in key international initiatives such The Design Declaration and Cumulus’ partnership with The New European Bauhaus, among many others. In consultation with the Cumulus President, Eija plays an ongoing ambassadorial role for the association, conducting strategic outreach to develop new partnerships and membership opportunities, and representing the association in key International venues, committees and with sister organizations.

Eija helped shape her position as Cumulus SG when she joined TaiK (before it became Aalto University) to head the internationalization of the School and running its international affairs, while supporting Cumulus President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Design Innovation Yrjő Sotomaa and Professor Emeritus of Industrial Design Raimo Nikannen in their conception of Cumulus. Prior to her role with Cumulus, Eija worked in business administration. Eija serves as the chairperson for the Board of the Foundation of The Finnish Institute in Berlin. In 2020, Eija was recognized by the Royal Society for Arts with their prestigious FRSA fellowship, a tribute to Eija’s tireless advocacy of internationalization in the arts and design higher education fields.

In 2021, Eija was formally recognized among a group of 100 international women leaders by the Global Council for International Trade Promotion in India (CGPIT) for her service to fostering a culture of diverse and inclusive values in global art, design and media education and research. 

Eija holds a Masters of Arts degree (Art History and German Philology) from the University of Helsinki and an undergraduate diploma from the Helsinki College of Commerce. Watch Eija’s testimonial about the early days of the Cumulus association in this interview celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Cumulus here

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Coordinator

Justyna Molik

[email protected]

A seasoned contributor in the Secretariat serving Cumulus members since 2008, Justyna lends senior administrative and strategic communication support to the Secretariat’s operations and helps manage a select number of signature initiatives, such as the Cumulus website and monthly Newsletter, the Cumulus Green Student Competition, the Cumulus Student Ambassador and the Cumulus Plus Grant programs.

In her coordinator capacity, she helps design and coordinate optimal processes that ensure the timely and effective execution of many of these and other financial and business activities that touch members. She also serves as the Secretariat operations liaison for the conference management teams among the Cumulus member institutions who host the two annual Cumulus conferences, working closely to advise them on conference best practices and Cumulus member programming. Before joining Cumulus, Justyna worked as an International HR Coordinator, Interpreter/Translator (Polish-Finnish-English) and a Language Teacher. 

Justyna holds a MSSc in Sociology (Cultural Policy) from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and a MA in Philology (Scandinavian Studies) from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.

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Coordinator

Anna Lindberg

[email protected]

Since joining the Secretariat team in 2020, Anna has taken on a multi-layered role to support many of the coordination aspects required to run the association and serve its members. Her chief responsibilities include coordination and analytical support for key business membership processes and financial transactions on behalf of the Secretariat and database and archival development and maintenance.

Anna also supports the President and Secretary-General in scheduling board sub-committee meetings and preparing and disseminating board meeting agendas and minutes. In addition, Anna plays an active role in helping design and coordinate member engagement activities and services, liaising with members, and supporting programs related to Cumulus student initiatives, Global Conversations, and Cumulus Working Groups.

Before joining Cumulus, Anna worked within humanitarian aid in Greece and in the field of politics and cultural diplomacy in South Africa, Germany, and Finland. Anna is multilingual (Swedish, Finnish, English and German) and fluent in conversational Spanish. Anna is a champion of aesthetics and strongly believes in all soft powers.

Anna holds a Masters of Law (L.L.M) degree in international public law from the University of Helsinki and a Bachelor’s Degree with a specialization in political science from the University of Vienna. 

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Board Advisors

Cumulus is fortunate to count on the institutional wisdom of its former board members. Board advisors are members of the board who have concluded their term of service and continue engaging for another term with the President and current board to lend their expertise on Cumulus-related initiatives.

Board Advisor

Sam Bucolo, PhD

Design Thinker in Residence, Meat and Livestock, Australia; Adjunct Professor of Design, Swinburne University; Board Member (2013–2016; re-elected 2016-2019 and appointed Cumulus Vice President during this term of service)

As former Cumulus Vice President, Sam’s service for the association focused on advancing internationalization and leadership and strategy; in 2020, he served as the co-chair of the Cumulus Green 2020: For a New Circular Economy student competition.

Sam is an industrial designer with 30 years spanning industry and academia. Sam has collaborated widely with a diverse set of industry partners and sectors, where his focus is to build stronger partnerships between academia, industry, and government through design practices. Sam has led many government initiatives on embedding design within organizations, has held several senior positions within Universities, and has been a former entrepreneur. Sam has been serving as the Executive Vice-Chair of the Australian Design Council since 2020. He has been an elected Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia and has received an Australian Design Honours from the Australian Design Center; Sam is also a Good Design Australia Ambassador.

Sam holds Ph.D., and a Master’s and BA degrees in Applied Sciences from Queensland University of Technology.

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Board Advisor

Elisabeth Gerner-Nielsen

Former Cumulus Vice President; Executive Board Member (2013–2016; re-elected 2016-2019); General Secretary, The Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark; Former Rector, Design School Kolding, Denmark

As former Cumulus Vice President and Executive Board member for two consecutive terms, Elsebeth served the association in several areas, including as one of the stewards of the Leadership and Strategy Working Group and as jury Co-Chair of the Cumulus Green 2020: For a New Circular Economy award.

Building on her expertise and dedication to sustainability, policy, and the impact of design education in society, she originally proposed the competition’s theme and alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Before her current leadership of The Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark, Elsebeth was the Rector of Design School Kolding between 2008 and 2019. At Design School Kolding, she initiated important partnerships involving research, educational programs, and special initiatives with prominent Danish companies. Her efforts contributed to Design School Kolding being recognized with one of the highest awards in Denmark, the Design Council’s Honorable Award. As a former member of the Danish Parliament (1994-2007) with four years as Minister of Culture for Denmark, Elsebeth’s professional trajectory has been defined by a mission to serve communities and advance culture and sustainability initiatives. She has focused on the responsibility of the creative industries to create meaningful products and services that have a positive impact on society; she holds several board positions in Denmark, and is the recipient of “The Order of Dannebrog 2015.” 

Elsebeth holds a Master of Science in Social Sciences (MSc) from the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

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Board Advisor

Sara Hyltén-Cavallius

Senior Lecturer and Former Head, Department of Design, Linnaeus University, Växjö/Kalmar, Sweden: Cumulus Executive Board 2013–2016; re-elected 2016-2019.

 

Sara served on the Cumulus Executive Board for two consecutive terms from 2013 through 2019. A strong emphasis during her service was to advance the sustainability mandate of Cumulus, an area core to her research expertise.

As part of this work, she engaged with and then chaired the Sustainability Working Group and participated in the jury of the CumulusGreen 2020: For a New Circular Economy competition.

Sara has been a pioneer in integrating Sustainability in her teaching, research, administrative leadership, and prior practice as an architect. For example, she initiated the membership of her department of Design at Linnaeus with the DESIS Network (Design for social innovation and Sustainability); served on the committee for A Sustainable-Future at the university and was an external examiner at Sheffield Hallam University, where she brought questions of Sustainability and social design to her reviews.

Sara is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Lund University, where she also received a Master in Architecture (March) degree from the Faculty of Engineering and became a practicing Architect (SAR/MSA).

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Board Advisor

Ulrich Schendzielorz

Cumulus Board Member 2013-2016; re-elected 2016-2019 Professor and Former Vice Rector, University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd (Hochschule für Gestaltung-HG)

Ulrich served two consecutive terms on the Cumulus Board from 2013 to 2019. During this time, he was actively involved in several initiatives, including helping lead the Cumulus Visual Communication Working Group, contributing to the Digital Culture Working Group, and providing stewardship for the partnership with the IF Foundation. 

Ulrich is a university administrator, teacher, researcher, and practitioner with a long trajectory in communications and visual design and an important advocate for international initiatives in higher education. At HG he has served as Vice Rector for Teaching from 2007-2013 and Vice Rector of University Development from 2016-2018.  

His service to the field has included work as a referee and international jury member and in boards such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Before his university focus, Ulrich was a practitioner who held various design and journalistic positions ranging from his post  as the  library director at the Goethe Institute in Istanbul to heading the design department of the magazine “Bild der Wissenschaft.” 

Ulrich holds a diploma in visual communication design from the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd and a university diploma in library science (main field public relations) and art history from Stuttgart. 

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Cumulus Honorary Presidents

Cumulus Presidents are granted the lifetime title of Cumulus Honorary President. They represent a source of institutional wisdom and counsel that we celebrate and call upon on an ongoing basis.

Cumulus Honorary President

Luisa Collina, PhD

Cumulus Honorary President President 2010-2013; re-elected 2013-2016 Full Professor and Dean of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Luisa was the first woman to be elected President of Cumulus in 2010 after serving two consecutive terms in the Cumulus Executive Board. One of the important contributions of her presidency was to undertake a systematic strategy to maintain the friendly and family atmosphere of the association while developing new policies and initiatives to help Cumulus codify processes to serve members inclusively and transparently.

As part of this work, she led the Board’s work to update the association’s statutes and establish a formal hosting agreement with Aalto University for the Cumulus Secretariat. 

Luisa has been serving as Dean of Design at Politecnico di Milano since 2016. Before this and starting in 2005, she established and led a Master’s program (taught in English) in Product-Service-System Design and has occupied important administrative leadership service positions on behalf of her university. Luisa’s teaching, research, and practice relate to interior architecture and design focus on services, strategic design, and design-driven innovation. Her curation of exhibitions, scholarship and award-winning work are featured on an ongoing basis in international conferences and publications such as prominent contributions to the Universal Expo 2015 for the 150th anniversary of Politecnico di Milano and the Triennale Design Museum, the XXI Triennale Internazionale held in Milan in 2016, and others. 

Watch Luisa’s interview in the context of the Cumulus 30th Anniversary here

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Cumulus Honorary President

Christian Guellerin

Cumulus Honorary President President 2008-2010; re-elected 2007-2010 Executive Director, L’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique, France

Christian has held the position of Executive Director of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, since 1997. Under his two terms as President, Cumulus became a global association (2006) and experienced significant growth, going from 80 to 178 members.

One of the highlights of Christian’s mandate was the signing of the “Kyoto Design Declaration” in 2008, a manifesto reflecting the responsibilities of designers towards the challenges of sustainable development. Christian’s has an active international career of consulting, lecturing, and publishing. He was appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia for the West of France in 2009 and Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2016. 

Watch Christian’s interview in the context of the Cumulus 30th Anniversary here

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Cumulus Honorary President

Yrjö Sotamaa

Cumulus President Emeritus and Founder President 2001-2004; re-elected 2004-2007 President and Professor Emeritus, University of Art and Design Helsinki (TaiK), Finland

A deep conviction has animated Yrjö’s academic trajectory and practice for over forty years in building cooperation platforms between the world’s design universities. In 1990, he took the initiative to establish the CUMULUS Network, which became the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design, and Media CUMULUS in 2001.

Yrjö served as President and Professor of the University Art and Design Helsinki (TAIK) for twenty-two years and retired in August 2008. During this period, TAIK became one of the world’s leading art and design universities. He had a major influence on the Finnish University Reform in 2010 and created the Aalto University through the merger of three leading universities in Finland. He has been a key architect of the Finnish National Design Strategy and played a pivotal role in shaping the User-driven Innovation Strategy of the European Union. He is now continuing his work through many major efforts: Advisory Dean and Tongji-Forever Chair Professor in College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University, Chairman of Sotamaa Design Ltd, and Chairman of Radical Design Week Association RDWA. He is a member of the Court of the Royal College of Art. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors and a member of several international committees and initiatives. 

Watch Yrjo’s interview in the context of the Cumulus 30th Anniversary here.

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Past Executive Board Members

The strength of the Cumulus Association is due in no small part to the contributions of our former boards. In gratitude to their service all hold the lifetime appointment of Cumulus Board Fellows.

  • President Collina (2013–2019)
  • President Guellerin (2007–2013)
  • President Sotama (2001–2007)
Cumulus Executive Board V 2013–2016
Elected June 8, 2013, Kalmar, Sweden
  1. Mariana Amatullo, ArtCenter College of Design, Los Angeles, USA
  2. Sara Hyltén-Cavallius, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden
  3. Signe Kivi, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Estonia
  4. Sam Bucolo, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  5. Elsebeth Gerner-Nielsen, Designschool, Kolding, Denmark
  6. Annébel Pretty, UNITEC, Auckland, New Zealand
  7. Ulrich Schendzielorz, University of Design, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
  8. Virginia Tassinari, LUCA School of the Arts, Genk, Belgium
  9. Andres Villela, DuoCUC, Santiago, Chile
Cumulus Executive Board VI 2016–2019
Elected April 30, 2016, Nottingham, UK
  1. José Allard, PUC, Chile
  2. Mariana Amatullo, ArtCenter College of Design, USA (through 2017) and Parsons School of Design, The New School, USA (2017-2019)
  3. Sara Hyltén-Cavallius, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden
  4. Lorenzo Imbesi, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
  5. Sam Bucolo, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  6. Elsebeth Gerner-Nielsen, Designschool, Kolding, Denmark
  7. Ulrich Schendzielorz, University of Design, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
  8. Rachel K.B. Troye, AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norway
  9. Robin Turner, Greenside Design Center and College, Johannesburg, South Africa
  10. Xiao Yong, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, P.R. China
Cumulus Executive Board III 2007–2010
Elected June 16, 2007, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
  1. Michael Krohn, Zürich University of Art and Design, Switzerland
  2. Luisa Collina, Politecnico di Milano Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  3. Marjolijn Brussaard, Utrecht School of the Arts, the Netherlands
  4. Helmut Lueckenhausen, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  5. Cristina Salerno, University of Design, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
  6. Thomas Schødt-Rasmussen, Danmarks Designskole/P-O Landgren HDK Gothenburg Sweden (since GA 2008)
  7. Raimo Nikkanen, University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland
  8. Luk van der Hallen, Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg KHLiM, Genk, Belgium
  9. Fred Murrell, RMCAD, Denver, USA
  10. Yong Xiao, Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, P.R. China
Cumulus Executive Board IV 2010–2013
Elected May 29, 2010, Genk, Belgium
  1. Marjolijn Brussaard, Utrecht School of the Arts, the Netherlands
  2. Luisa Collina, Politecnico di Milano Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  3. Signe Kivi, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Estonia
  4. Helmut Lueckenhausen, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  5. Raimo Nikkanen, Aalto University School of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland
  6. Jacqueline Otten, Zürich University of the Arts ZHdK, Switzerland
  7. Annébel Pretty, UNITEC, Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Peter Stebbing, University of Design, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
  9. Virginia Tassinari, Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg KHLiM, Belgium
  10. Yongqi Lou, Tongji University, Shanghai, P.R. China
Cumulus Executive Board I 2001–2004
Elected March 21, 2001, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  1. Robin Baker, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, London, UK
  2. Sasa Mächtig, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  3. Gérard Vallin, Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques et d’Architecture Intérieure-Design ESAG-Penninghen, Paris, France
  4. Michele Capuani, Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan, Italy
  5. Gösta Knudsen, Danmarks Designskoe, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Tove Kjaer, National College of Art and Design, Oslo, Norway
  7. Raimo Nikkanen, University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland
Cumulus Executive Board II 2004–2007
Elected May 8, 2004, Oslo, Norway
  1. Gösta Knudsen, Danmarks Designskole, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Sasa Mächtig, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  3. Michele Capuani, Istituto Europeo di Design Milan, Milan, Italy
  4. Tove Kjaer, National College of Art and Design Oslo Norway, Oslo, Norway
  5. Michael Krohn, Zürich University of Art and Design, Switzerland
  6. Gérard Vallin, ESAG, Paris, France
  7. Per-Olof Landgren, HDK, Gothenburg, Sweden
  8. Luk van der Hallen, Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg KHLiM, Genk, Belgium

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