Design as a Virus: Digital prize ceremony

What started as an initiative to ease the isolation of the Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna (ABABO) students during the first wave of lockdowns in April 2020, has now, almost a year later, become part of a new way to gather and experience shared platforms and events online.

Last month we’ve had the pleasure to participate in ABABO’s online prize award ceremony, where the students, professors and jury could recap and comment on the selection of works presented for the “Design as a Virus” competition. While we are, of course, already used to meeting and presenting online, giving an address to an online audience of students and colleagues is definitely a new experience.

Connected from a few locations in Italy, Japan and Sweden, members of the jury expressed words of encouragement and inspiration to students who find themselves graduating into a world that’s completely different to what it was when they first stepped foot in the Academy, and by virtue of their profession, they must now interpret and design for this new reality and needs.

In a true academic manner, some of the professors offered a detailed critique of the works, presenting strengths and weaknesses of the various projects, from the initial research and problem solving, to the final execution and presentation.

Besides being a learning experience for the students and for us – the jury, this initiative remains a unique testament to design’s ability to critically reflect on major lifestyle and cultural changes as they happen, viewing them as an opportunity rather than an insurmountable obstacle.

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