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Open Minds: Pioneering Design Education for Radical Inclusion in Europe

From October 9-14, the Open Minds project will lead 250 youth across Umeå, Tampere, Porto, Tirana, and Zagreb in a groundbreaking endeavour. Using a novel design methodology, these participants will work in unison to draft solutions to design challenges that hinder accessibility and inclusivity.

Central to this innovative process is a creative card game that fosters empathy, a tech toolkit designed for swift prototyping, and a co-design strategy that draws on participants’ diverse experiences. This initiative marks the inaugural “Week of Inclusion and Accessibility” in Umeå, aligning with the European Week of Cities and Regions in Brussels.

Andrew Dubber, Director of MTF Labs, emphasises, “Design flaws in our environments, not personal disabilities, are what restrict us. Open Minds prompts participants to collaboratively pinpoint these flaws, understand their implications, and forge hands-on solutions.”

The core of the Open Minds methodology lies in a card deck, split into three categories: Person, Condition, and Disabling Environment. These cards present myriad combinations of individuals and their challenges, highlighting that while one cannot easily change a person or their condition, the environment can be reshaped to be more accommodating.

Post discussions, participants will undertake practice-based research to validate their assumptions, eventually crafting solutions using a specialized prototyping toolkit from MTF Labs. This toolkit, centred on a Raspberry Pi Pico, equips them with an array of sensory tools, opening doors to tangible solutions for identified challenges.

“Through this, we aim to show the transformative power of design thinking, co-creation, and prototyping in driving real-world change,” adds Dubber.

This visionary project, backed by Erasmus+ and other local entities across the five cities, will see a central hub in Umeå. The four satellite labs will virtually interconnect for collaborative sessions headlined by global experts in design, accessibility, and creative technology.

Michela Magas, MTF Labs’ CEO and a member of President von der Leyen’s High-Level Round Table for the New European Bauhaus initiative, will present Open Minds at the European Week of Regions and Cities conference, where it is being promoted as the Umeå Week of Inclusion and Accessibility.

For media inquiries and visits during the week or to attend the presentation of the results on Saturday, please contact Andrew Dubber.

Learn more about the Open Minds project: Open Minds – MTF Labs

Discover the European Week of Regions and Cities: Home | European Week of Regions and Cities

Andrew Dubber
Director, MTF Labs AB
Phone: +46 70-615 03 85
Email: dubber@mtflabs.net
Website: MTF Labs


Co-funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union

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