Altogether it was a truly exciting, friendly, committed and well-organized event.
Our partner on behalf of Parsons, Simone Douglas (Director MFA Fine Arts program), and her team of absolutely fantastic Master students took care of everything: from the reception of the speakers and the audience, technical equipment, to answering any question and request as well as taking pictures, creating video and audio recordings and tweeting all the time about what was going on.
A big thanks to all of them!
The audience was engaged, awake and prepared to ask questions and to comment on the statements. However, not everybody was present at all times, hence on the average there were about 90-100 people present throughout the conference.
The design experts covered a broad range of topics and they came from many different countries – this was exactly as we intended.
I have to mention once more that all the speakers covered their own expenses: they had to pay for their travel, accommodation and everything else (and let's not even talk about getting a fee), apart from snacks and drinks during the conference as well as one dinner that was kindly sponsored by the Fine Arts department. This is something that is absolutely unique and it demonstrates the high commitment and interest in such a network.
The concept to give every speaker a maximum of 8 minutes turned out to be very fruitful (as several attendees also stated during the conference): this provided great variety, and many designers could present their ideas and research. More than 20 designers presented their findings and hypotheses from very different perspectives.
I cannot summarize the content here but I hope we soon will have lots of material (audio, video, photos…) on our blog, on YouTube, Twitter etc.
However, this needs editing, wo(man) power, time, organization…so please don’t be impatient, we all work on a voluntary basis.
In the afternoon of the second day we officially founded the iGDN. The attendees who wanted to establish the iGDN first had to agree on becoming a member and had to confirm their membership with their signature. The draft proposal of the statutes was discussed actively, several items were slightly changed; in particular the membership fees were reduced after a lively discussion. Afterwards the election for the board and the chair were carried out. Again, the atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly that it was suggested (and agreed on) to vote by a show of hands, instead of voting by ballot. Both the chair and the other board members were elected unanimously! All candidates were elected, no one was rejected!
And here comes the result:
Chair: Uta Brandes
Board Members: Lucia Cuba (Peru), Simone Douglas (USA), Maja Gunn (Sweden), Joung Youn Lee (Korea), Luisa Mok Sze Man (Singapore), Doreen Toutikian (Lebanon), Hanna Wirman (Hong Kong)
I think this is definitely a wonderful board because it reflects the international spirit we want to create and establish! I am very happy with this outcome, and I feel honoured to be part of such a great group of female design experts.
As it is quite complicated in legal terms to establish an international non-profit organization, we will have one umbrella organization (established according to the law of the country where the chair resides), and then every country or (bigger) region can found sub-organizations. For this and everything else (as far as formal regulations are concerned) please refer to the statutes.
The next (formal) step will be to have the iGDN officially recognized as a non-profit organization. This is what I will do ASAP.
The board members will present an action plan as soon as possible. Again, please take into consideration that we have to communicate predominantly via email, google.doc and skype which is a bit more demanding than to be together in one place where you can easily meet.
* This report only includes information about the DESIGN part of the conference