“The city is be made digital so people need to be connected”.
This was the overall task that KEA students from the Digital and Technology speciality programmes were to resolve in two workshops, in collaboration with Brazilian students from KEA 's strategic partner Senac and FAUUSP.
The point of departure for the students from Digital was a main road in Sao Paolo, located in a financial district with busy people. Their task was to generate activity between people, using multimedia.
The students were mixed across barriers of nationality and each group was given four days in which to prepare a concept.
"The students used elements found on the street. One group set up, for example, a digital message in a bottle, in which you could write a message on a screen in the bench and send it on to the next bench. Another group had the idea of an interactive set of traffic lights, where pedestrians could get a green light faster if they moved about." as explained by Julio, a teacher at Digital who was on the trip.
The workshop for students from Technology was to fix up some furnishings for a square near the Academy of Art. Some of the things devised included a collective swing, a sickle-shelter and a display system.
"The students' work was based on the experimental approach, using a few simple materials and creating some shapes. They have gained experience with more artistic aspects and many of the tough guys said "wow, we'd like more of this stuff"" says Jon Emil Stenz, who teaches on Technology.
Art and cultural differences
A major cultural difference between the Danish and Brazilian students was the way in which they approached the tasks they had to solve.
"What was most exciting was that it was quite clear to see how the Brazilian students were working. They work very differently to us. They are a little more creative and artistic, whereas we are more problem and solution-based." said student Martin Ilsøe, who has a background as a carpenter. He explains:
"There were big differences in our abilities. On the "cardboard-folding day" where we Danes felt rather lost, they were perfectly at home. By way of contrast, I think many of us Danes felt more at home when we went into the workshop, because in there it was all about building things and solving problems. It was different in a good way, because we could learn from each other."
Some of the students were part of multiple workshops and have therefore begun to get to know each other from previous years. This creates stronger social ties and reinforces the network. The Brazilian students were also good hosts and took the Danes out with them every evening, where they also ate together. Cooperation and coordination are improving every time they are together.
"I like how open the people were. I also like that when I went around the school .. well for example, there was a piano and someone might go right over and play a song when they felt like it. Just to play for themselves and let the others enjoy it." student Valdis Valgeirsdóttir told us.
For the next five years, KEA and Senac will be paying each other visits and return visits. In May, 20 students from Senac and FAUUSP will take part in a technology workshop, which takes place during KEA's Innovation Week and in October, 10 students will attend a digital workshop, which takes place simultaneously with KEA Charrette. This concept will then be repeated for the next five years and expanded with a team from Design in 2015.