Featured Summer School Alumni

Our students come from many different backgrounds and go onto do many different things after their learning experiences at CIID, we asked some of our Summer School Alumni to share their thoughts and experiences with us.

We are really proud of our student alumni, and have had some amazing students take part in the CIID Summer School over the past six years. We are happy that they want to share their stories and stay closely linked with our network.

‘The CIID summer school made it really obvious to me that I wanted to study interaction design. The summer school gave me a taste of what it is to be a design student and made it super easy to say ‘I want to be an Interaction Designer.’

‘I had been reading books on Interaction Design and realised, oh wait, these people are actually teaching at CIID!’

‘It really gave my career a boost, and I stayed in touch with CIID afterwards and started collaborating professionally.’

Kevin Gaunt

Kevin was a student on our Summer School programme in 2013, he is now a fully fledged interaction designer and recently won the IXDA student challenge award 2014.

Kevin took part in our BioMimetic Interfaces course in summer of 2013. The course explores BioMimetic Interfaces using a design thinking approach to interfaces that take an influence from nature.

Kevin says: ‘The CIID summer school was such a fantastic experience that made it really obvious to me that I want to study interaction design. The summer school gave me a taste of what it is to be a design student and made it super easy to say ‘I want to be an Interaction Designer.

It was the first time I had experience of working within a multinational team, with people from Mexico, Brazil, China, etc. It was wonderful to see how well the whole bunch gets along at CIID they are so warm and friendly towards everybody. The facilities are fantastic and compared to computer science (which was my background) there is this openness to share and give feedback. Everything is driven by trust not by absolute rules.

I also loved the social aspect of the summer programme, you’re learning a lot but you’re also kind of on holiday with nice people. Arriving earlier and being invited to a BBQ with the current IDP students, was really welcoming. The program was so great, as was CIID and Copenhagen in general!’

Kevin previously held a bachelors degree in computer science from the University of Applied Science Rapperswil in Switzerland and had been working at the Institute for Software for the past 4 years, before joining the Summer School at CIID.

Following his CIID summer school experience he was accepted to the masters in interaction design program at Umeå, Sweden, and won the student challenge at the IXDA Awards 2014 for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently doing an internship at IDEO in San Francisco.

To read more about Kevin’s work please see his website: www.kevingaunt.com.

Claus Allan Christensen

Claus is a User Experience Design Specialist at Volvo, he joined our Summer School Programme in 2012. Claus had been working as a designer at Nokia for the previous 10 years, but as Nokia was closing the Copenhagen office, he convinced his boss to finance him joining the summer school.

He attended for 3 weeks, on the Arduino, Processing and intro to Interaction Design workshops. He still uses the skills he learned – both in a private context, building models at home, and professionally, designing and programming prototypes at Volvo.

Claus says: ‘I have never been so motivated in my whole career than in those 3 weeks, I gave it all I had. There’s a very special atmosphere when you’re together with people from other cultures, you work all night on your own accord, it’s both fun and engaging. At work you’re always limited, by resources, time, and money. When you do it for yourself, you go all the way without compromising, there’s this enormous positive energy.

I learned ‘hard skills’ such as programming and prototyping, but I also learned about ‘soft skills’, mixing art/beauty/love into what you’re building, there should be an emotional and almost spiritual aspect. You’re building a story around an object, the tools you learn are just enablers for that story.

It really gave my career a boost, and I stayed in touch with CIID afterwards and started collaborating professionally and joined the Consulting team for a while the following November. I fell in love with CIID, it was a very hard choice to move on to Volvo, but I had dreamt of working in the automobile industry all my life. We still collaborate with CIID on consulting projects to this day.

The models I built at CIID Summer School are still on display on a shelf at home. I can’t bring myself to throw them out or pull them apart, I’d buy new Arduinos rather than dismantling them. It’s like an interactive museum. I am still in touch with a couple of people from the course, and one of the faculty, we are all following each other’s careers’.

RUBEN VAN DER VLEUTEN

Ruben is the co-founder of FROLIC an interaction design studio based in Amsterdam. He began his studies with a bachelor degree in Industrial Design at the University of Technology, Eindhoven. From the beginning he had the passion and enthusiasm to create concepts and products with a focus on innovation. His projects ranged from design for children to medical design.

Following graduation, Ruben choose to continue to work in medical design (female healthcare) to widen his scope and vision towards design. He was involved in a medical start-up called Urogyn developing new products in the field of urology and gynaecology. Ruben joined our Summer school programme in 2011.

Ruben says: ‘I took the 2 week course in Processing and Arduino, before attending the Summer School I had been working as an Industrial Designer in a medical company and was really looking for something different, new, and abroad. I had heard about CIID through a friend who applied for the Pilot Year.

I had been reading books on Interaction Design and realised, oh wait, these people are actually teaching at CIID!

If I had to remember only one key moment from the summer school, it would be in the small workshop, being taught Arduino by Massimo Banzi. It was so intimate, that feeling was incredible.

After I returned from the summer school, I said ‘that’s it! I’m applying to the IDP! and became a full time student on the course in 2012. ’