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Our city with co-creation in its soul. A world leading Institute of Industrial Design. Passionate, questioning, world enhancing ­creators, artists, researchers and entreprenuers.

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A young and rapidly growing university city in the north of Sweden. ­Openminded citizens full of initiative, who help each other forward. We ­welcome the new – people, cultural expressions, research findings and ­design. Smart and progressive solutions and possibilities emerge as a result. Umeå’s creative power was highlighted in 2014 when we were proclaimed European Capital of Culture.


Design is the way we create the future.

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A process that listens, learns and ultimately designs a solution that is better than the former. Whether it is about urban development, research, interaction, products or services.

Design and development are in this way closely linked to each other, and thus it becomes logical that a progressive city like Umeå values and honors the qualities that characterize good design: knowledge, experience and confidence, curiosity, craftsmanship and perhaps above all - a willingness to cooperate.

Here are a number of world-leading players in the design field, which feeds a dynamic network and creates a place with creative, critical mass.

Here are many who adopt new ideas and seek ways to put them into practice.

Obviously, the goal is to create a better world - by designing every detail even better and constantly releasing new, improved versions, of everything.

The design player in Umeå with the greatest international reputation is the Umeå Institute of Design (UID), which is considered every year as the world's best industrial design education. Every year, talents from all over the world come to Umeå to be educated on the bachelor's or master's programs.

The incubator eXpression is a micro-universe for cultural and creative industries at the Art Campus. The around 50 entrepreneurs within CCI work side by side with the national accelerator Future Retail Lab, which, just as the name suggests, explores how future trade can develop.

RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden AB, has built a design-driven national and international node based in Umeå. Through design, RISE stimulates new ways of thinking, acting, collaborating, planning and implementing change. Design helps us navigate a complex society and make challenges manageable and through design prototypes we can visualize different scenarios for the future.

Through design and prototype-driven design processes, RISE challenges preconceived notions, limitations and problems to better understand human and planet's needs and find new opportunities and innovations. RISE works with transformative methods and has expertise in, inter alia, interaction design, product design, sound design, visualization and user experiences.

The Umeå Institute of Architecture stands out by having an international profile and building on a scientific, artistic and professional base. Here, much focus is placed on reflecting on social and ecological sustainability, resource awareness and integrated design. The school is also characterized by the dynamics between the local and regional situation in northern Sweden and the international character with teachers, guests and students from all over the world.

The Umeå School of Art focuses on the students' individual needs and reflects the creative diversity and critical discourse that exists in contemporary art today. Together with the school's national and international teachers, the student can develop his/her internship. The College of Art strives to provide students with an education that reflects the diversity of art both geographically, socially and culturally.

Bildmuseet is an institution at Umeå University and one of Umeå's strongest visitor destinations, with a highly reclaimed activity. The New York Times and British The Guardian are a few who closely follow and recommend the Museum's activities.

Inside Curiosum's walls is FabLab, an open studio environment, with state-of-the-art machines for production in a 3D lab as well as a SoftLab for textile production.

Arctic Design of Sweden is run by Region Västerbotten. The aim of the project is to support CCI companies that have good design heights and help them to internationalize their operations. Pop-up exhibitions are held in Tokyo and New York. More cities are waiting.

In the region there are a large number of companies that, with design methods and tools, strengthen their products for global markets.


Why Tim Brown
likes Umeå

IDEO is considered one of the best design company’s in the world with an impressive history including early collaborations with among others Steve Jobs. Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO visited Umeå Institute of Design in May 2018 to find out about why some of his best recruits have studies in Umeå. See his answer in the video.

Save the date 2–3 September 2020



Cities, Design & Innovation – The role of the Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) in preparation for the European Institute of Innovation & Technology’s launch of the CCI Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC)

The Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) are leading on gender equality and inclusion, facilitating cross-domain innovation and promoting early adopters of emerging technologies. In this international conference and high-level expert meeting there will be discussions on the ways in which plans for a Knowledge and Innovation Community can benefit the development of goal-oriented, hybrid innovations, new business models and creative technology prototyping that is crucial for future development in Europe. The meeting was curated by the Founder and Creative Director of Music Tech Fest, Chair of the Industry Commons Foundation, European Woman Innovator Award-winner and Umeå resident, Michela Magas. This international event was co-organized by the City of Umeå, RISE, Industry Commons Foundation and Umeå University (eXpression), and will took place on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2020 – both live in Umeå and online for those unable to travel.

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The role of the Culture and Creative Industries post-Covid in preparation for the EIT CCI KIC CITIES, DESIGN AND INNOVATION (2-3 September 2020)

(All times are shown in Central European Summer Time, CEST)

Wednesday Sept 2


12.00 - 13:00

Registration and lunch

13.00 - 13:10

Opening Speech

Mariya Gabriel

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
European Commission (live from Brussels)

13.10 - 13:25

Welcome to Umeå, Västerbotten an innovative part of Sweden


Mayor, City of Umeå

Pia Sandvik


Hans Adolfsson

Vice-Chancellor, Umeå university

Nina Björby

Chairman Culture Committee, County Council of Västerbotten

13.25 – 13:30

Introduction to the EIT CCI KIC

Martin Kern

Director EIT (video)


15 min introduction to the conference topics

Michela Magas and Bernd Fesel

Chair, Industry Commons Foundation and Director, European Creative Business Network

13:45 - 14:25


Prof. Pier Luigi Sacco

Head of Venice Office and Senior Advisor at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions & Cities, Professor of Cultural Economics, IULM University, Milano, and Faculty Associate, Berkman-Klein Center, Harvard University. (live from Milano)

14.25 – 14:45

Coffee & Networking

14.45 - 15:45

Session 1:


   • Art, Design and STEAM education

   • Upskilling and lifelong learning

   • Health and wellbeing

   • Collaboration across cultures and knowledge domains

Inspirational speech on Between recognition, justice and difference - young Sami people on transitions between school to work

Michael Lindblad

Associate Professor, Umeå School of Education, Umeå University, and Chair, Giron Sami Theatre


Mats Widbom

VD/CEO Svensk Form

Andre cester Costa

Head of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Aveiro STEAM City

Flora Krasniqi

Project and Research Development Coordinator, Polis University, Tirana

Linda Gustafsson

Gender Officer, Umeå Kommun

15:45 – 15:50

Short video: eXpression Umeå

15:50 – 16:50

Session 2:


   • Urban environments as cross-domain hubs

   • Hybrid innovations and new business models

   • Creative applications and data marketplaces

   • System design for decentralised governance

Inspirational speech on including citizens in fair, open and inclusive technology: From The Digital City to Smart Citizens Lab - Citizens as research community

Lucas Evers

Head of Art-Science Programme,WAAG


Lucas Evers

Head of Art-Science Programme,WAAG

Matthias Rauch

Cultural Innovation Officer, and Head of the Cultural Urban Development Department at STARTUP Mannheim

Susanne Fuglsang

CEO, Innovation Pioneers

Michela Magas

Chair, Industry Commons Foundation

Thursday Sept 3

09.00 - 09:15

Arrival, coffee

09:15 -09:30

15 min keynote introduction to the EU Cultural Policy

Download the keynote

Barbara Stacher

Cultural Policy Unit, DG EAC, European Commission (live from Brussels)

09:30 -10:00

30 min keynote: Europe’s Experience Readiness Levels

Eva Kaili MEP

(Live from Brussels)

10:00 - 11:00 (45mins + Q&A)

Session 3:


   • The new culture of content creation

   • New value systems

   • Creative prototyping for real world scenarios

   • New ways to register Intellectual Property

Inspirational speech on new content challenges, industrial paradigms, global implications, ideologies and value systems for CCI. TikTok: Are our kids dancing through a digital minefield?

Anette Novak

Director General, Swedish Media Council (live from Stockholm)


Anette Novak

Director General, Swedish Media Council (live from Stockholm)

Bernd Fesel

Download the keynote

Director, European Creative Business Network

Ambra Trotto

Head of The Pink initiative at RISE and associate professor at Umeå Institute of Design

Marlene Johansson

CEO, eXpression Umeå and associate professor at Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics

11:00 - 11:15 (15)

Coffee & Networking

11.15 - 12:15 (45mins + Q&A)

Session 4:


   • Creativity facilitating social impacts of new technologies

   • CCI ensuring AI Ethics and Human-Centric AI

   • Testing AI’s “unknown unknowns” in imaginary scenarios

   • Enabling transfer to the Circular Economy

Inspirational speech on creativity, technology innovation and AI: Developing and using AI responsibly

Virginia Dignum

Professor, Wallenberg Chair of Responsible Artificial Intelligence, Umeå University


Amy Loutfi

Professor and Pro vice-chancellor, Örebro University, Artificial Intelligence, Head of the AASS Machine Perception and Interaction Lab (live from Örebro)

Valentina Montalto

Joint Research Centre, European Commission (live from Milano)

Bror Salmelin

Founder, European Network of Living Labs (live from Finland)

12:15 - 12:30

Closing remarks

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we are

Umeå lies in the north of Sweden, latitude 63°.

The Gulf Stream enables a good climate with four real seasons, a winter good for every winter sport, a beautiful spring, a summer good for every summer sport and a nice autumn where the variety of trees in the forest lets nature sparkle in colours.

Umeå is located roughly 400 kilometers south of the Arctic circle. Umeå is the province capital of Västerbotten County.