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The team leading our work

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

The Cumulus Executive Board

The Cumulus Executive Board (CEB), is a group of experienced academic leaders elected from Cumulus full member institutions worldwide. The Cumulus board serves in a volunteer capacity for three year terms.

Meet the Board

The current Cumulus Executive Board (CEB VIII) was elected during the General Assembly on June 16, 2022. Their three-year mandate concludes in June 2025.

  • Biography

Cumulus President

Lorenzo Imbesi, PhD

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

[email protected]

Lorenzo was elected President of Cumulus during the virtual General Assembly of June 2022 after serving two consecutive terms on the Board (CEB VII and CEB VI). 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

Miaosen Gong, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Design, Jiangnan University, China

Read the Board Member’s CV.

Board

Nicola Morelli, PhD

Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark

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Board

Anne Pikkov

Vice Rector of Academic Affair, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia

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Board

Satu Miettinen, PhD

Professor, Dean, University of Lapland, Finland

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Board

Natacha Lallemand, PhD

Head of International Affairs, Professor, École Duperré, Paris Institute of Art and Design, France

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Board

Archana Surana

Founder-Director, ARCH College of Design and Business, India

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Board

Makoto Watanabe, PhD

Vice President, Chiba University, Japan

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Board

Roberto Iniguez Flores, PhD

Dean, National School of Architecture, Art and Design, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico

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Board

Teresa Franqueira, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Aveiro, Portugal

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Board

Monica Di Ruvo, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Head of Department of Applied Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

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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 Cumulus.

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

+358 40 512 0302

[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

+358 50 434 4765

[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 Malmström (Lindberg)

+358 50 563 6948

[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

Philipp Heidkamp

Professor, Köln International School of Design (KISD), Germany; Cumulus Vice President and Board Member (CEB VII, 2019–2022)

Professor Philipp Heidkamp was elected into the Cumulus Board in 2019 and served one term in the capacity as Vice President. In this role he was a thought-partner to former President Mariana Amatullo on the Association’s governance and strategic direction.

Philipp leveraged 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 convenings and meaningful dialogue. The CumulusConnects micro-site, an interactive virtual portal that preceded the 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 site became a blueprint for the interaction dimensions of the current website. The “global conversation” series originally launched in the CumulusConnects; work to support Cumulus Working Groups and the chairing of  the Leadership and Strategy Working Group were all part of Philipp’s contributions to the community. Initiatives such as community-building work in the C+NEB initiative as part of Cumulus New European Bauhaus and active contributions in  Board subcommittees (i.e.conference, new website and registration committees) benefited greatly from Philipp’s active and dedicated service to Cumulus. Towards the end of his term, Philipp was instrumental in partnering with President Amatullo on finalizing the Amendment of the Statutes with legal counsel and leading the negotiations of the Association with Aalto University ahead of the Service Agreement renewal.

As Professor at Köln International School of Design (KISD) Philipp 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 holds a degree (German Diplom) in Visual Communication Design from the HfG University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

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Board Advisor

Rachel K. B. Troye

Head of Institute of Design and Professor, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Norway

Professor Rachel Troye was first elected to CEB VI and re-elected to CEB VII serving as Vice President under the Presidency of Mariana Amatullo. Among her key contributions as Vice President, she oversaw the redesign of the Association’s brand identity, …

… lending counsel to California-based award-winning designer Karen Davison and initiating and chairing the Cumulus Working Group Women in Design as a platform for exchange, inspiration, and mentorship by and for women members. At AHO Rachel stands out as the first female Head of the Institute for Design (since 2012) where her 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.

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Board Advisor

Adam de Eyto, PhD

Head of Design, Limerick School of Art and Design, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) Ireland

Adam was elected to the Cumulus Executive Board in 2019 and occupied the inaugural position of Board Treasurer, providing budgetary oversight, recommendations for financial policies, and long-term financial support for the Association.

During his tenure he participated in several committees including one to shape a solidarity membership model for the Association and serving on the website subcommittee and on the editorial board for the CumulusConnects portal. A key thought-partner of the President and Vice-Presidents, Adam was instrumental in interacting with legal counsel on the registration matters of the Association and negotiating the preliminary terms of the Aalto Service Agreement renewal through 2025.

Prior to his current role as Head of Design at the Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD) at Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS). 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.

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Board Advisor

José Allard, PhD

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

José served two consecutive term in the Cumulus Board (CEB VII and CEB VI) providing a leadership role as a board liaison to the DESIS network, and engaging in focused advocacy to expand network partnerships and institutional memberships for Cumulus in the Latin-American region.

During his CEB VII tenure, he acted as key facilitator and Juror of the Cumulus Green 2020 signature student competition, before taking on the role of co-chair of the second 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 Advisor

Michael Krohn

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

Michael served on three Cumulus Executive Boards under three presidents: CEB VII (2016- 2019) and prior in CEB III and CEB II. In his most recent term of service, Michael chaired the Conference sub-committee of the Board, bringing deep institutional knowledge about the Cumulus community …

… pillar and the value of the association for its diverse stakeholders (faculty, staff, and students). 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 Advisor

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

Teemu served Cumulus Board during the CEB VII term. His contributions to the Board included a strong focus on the collaboration and community pillars of CEB VII’s strategic plan with hand-on work to strengthen …

… the shared governance best practices through the development of the Executive Board Handbook as well as championing the diversity and inclusion values within the Board and the Association. Teemu chaired the Board sub-committee that conceived the Executive Board Handbook and was the lead on the Board to set up the Cumulus for Ukraine initiative.

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. 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

Robin served two consecutive terms on the Board (CEB VII and CEB VI). As a design educator based in Johannesburg, Robin was 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. Robin’s advocacy in this arena 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. A key contribution during the CEB VII term for Robin was to chair the new website subcommittee and help 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 specializes 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 honors degree programme at the Greenside Design Center where he received a BA in Graphic Design.

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Board

Xiao Yong

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

Xiao Yong served on three different Cumulus Executive Boards: CEB VII, CEB VI and CEB III. During his most recent leadership under the Presidency of Mariana Amatullo, 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 CEB VII’s strategic plan. Throughout his board service, Xiao has also strived 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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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

Mariana Amatullo, PhD

Cumulus President 2019–2022; Vice Provost and Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design, The New School, USA

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 2019. During her tenure, she led a disciplined process of organizational capacity building and transformation—one accelerated by the onslaught of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

She led the Association by establishing the strategic plan, Cumulus at 30, guiding the Board to work in sub-committees to accomplish its goals. Her hands-on work as President included acting as the creative director and digital strategist and securing in-kind donations and partnerships for the Cumulus Green 2020 student competition, shaping the editorial strategy for the Association’s monthly newsletter; overseeing the launch of a new brand identity for Cumulus, and serving as a lead editor in the Board subcommittee that commissioned and implemented the launch of the Cumulus new website in 2021. Other notable projects under her oversight included building a visual archive and timeline about the Association’s history and producing the Cumulus at 30 Anniversary Campaign. In the last year of her mandate, she facilitated a complex legal and participatory process with her Board and members to update the statutes of the Association and successfully transition Cumulus to legal independent registration status as a non-profit Association in Finland.

Mariana is an experienced academic administrator, strategist, and award-winning educator, researcher, and author with a global trajectory of scholarship in design management and design for social innovation. At The New School, a key area of her focus as Vice Provost has been to launch the division of Parsons Executive Education and to expand online learning and nondegree courses as well as global partnerships for Executive-level Master programs. Previously, Mariana co-founded and led the social innovation department, Designmatters, at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Mariana is a member of the Board of Aalto University. Her honors include being the recipient of the inaugural 2012 DELL Social Innovation Award for Outstanding Social Innovation Education, a Salzburg Global Fellow, and a Fellow with the Royal Society of the Arts. 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 latest book (co-editor) is Design for Social Innovation: Case Studies from around the World, (Routledge,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 License 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. 

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Cumulus Honorary President

Luisa Collina, PhD

Cumulus President 2010-2013; re-elected 2013-2016 Full Professor and Former 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 most recently served as Dean of Design at Politecnico di Milano. Previously 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. 

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Cumulus Honorary President

Christian Guellerin

Cumulus 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. 

 

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Cumulus Honorary President

Yrjö Sotamaa

Cumulus President Emeritus and Founder; Cumulus 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. 

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Past Executive Board Members

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

  • President Amatullo (2019–2022)
  • President Collina (2013–2019)
  • President Guellerin (2007–2013)
  • President Sotamaa (2001–2007)
Cumulus Executive Board VII 2019–2022
Elected May 30, 2019, Rovaniemi, Finland
  1. José Allard, PhD, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
  2. Adam de Eyto, PhD, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS), Ireland
  3. Philipp Heidkamp, Köln International School of Design (KISD), Germany
  4. Lorenzo Imbesi, PhD, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  5. Michael Krohn, Zȗrich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Switzerland
  6. Teemu Leinonen, PhD, Aalto University, Finland
  7. Anne Pikkov, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia
  8. Rachel K. B. Troye, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Norway
  9. Robin Turner, Greenside Design Center, South Africa
  10. Xiao Yong, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China
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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