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Kevin Gaunt winner of 2014 IxDA Student Design Challenge

Press release -

Kevin Gaunt winner of 2014 IxDA Student Design Challenge

IxDA, the global Interaction Design Association, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have announced the winner of this year’s student challenge at Interaction14 in Amsterdam, a yearly conference for interaction designers. Umeå Institute of Design’s interaction student Kevin Gaunt from Switzerland impressed and was awarded first prize.

Kevin Gaunt, first year master student in interaction design, was challenged to focus on the design of the experience of the child health record. The child health record is a critical component of current health information systems worldwide. This is also a key focus of the work done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


– The IxDA Student Challenge is a great opportunity for our programme and students to connect with the international front end of industry and academia in the growing field of interaction design. I am very glad that Kevin won this year's Student Challenge, and I am not at all surprised. He is a very good example of what students from UID are capable of and it will be a privilege to follow his future career, says Niklas Andersson, director of Umeå Institute of Design’s master programme in interaction design.

Over six million children under the age of five died last year; more than half of these deaths could have been prevented with existing interventions. The global public health community could save millions of lives in the coming years by gaining the trust of families and informing them about how to access effective information about healthcare and hygiene. But, health organizations remain challenged by how to reach remote populations with life-saving health information when these children or their parents do not speak their country’s national language or cannot read. Rethinking and designing that experience was at the heart of this year’s challenge.

The solution developed by Kevin Gaunt was to encourage word-of-mouth sharing of health information in a narrative form - similar to the communities’ own fables. After a person hears the story, they are given an amulet with a stone from the village and encouraged to retell the story when someone asks what the amulet means.

Skye Gilbert of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said: “Kevin’s solution can scale quickly and brings health information into the community dialogue using people’s downtime. With the use of a pebble, strung on a necklace like an amulet, he tied an artifact to storytelling that would normally be of no value. It reinforces the memory of the information. With the use of a pebble he has created something meaningful from a commonly available natural object.”

– I feel incredibly humble to have been part of this fantastic student design competition and the IxDA community standing behind it. It has been a great opportunity to show what we learn at Umeå Institute of Design in just one semester. And maybe most importantly, because of the involvement of the Gates Foundation, I feel like I have learned a huge amount about the bigger problems in life that many people have to face every day, says Kevin Gaunt. 

IxDA runs the annual Student Challenge to showcase the best practices coming out of interaction design programs worldwide while giving student finalists the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to potential employers. Finalists were selected from an international pool of exceptional graduate and undergraduate students and were invited—free of charge—to Amsterdam where they participated in a three-day challenge at IJsfontein Interactive Media.

The five IxDA Design Challenge finalists this year were Dharmesh Ba and Karan Dudeja (National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India), Julie Blitzer & Hadar Geva (Domus Academy, Milan, Italy), Melody Kim (UC San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA) and Nidhi Jalwal (University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA), as well as Umeå Institute of Design’s Kevin Gaunt.

About Umeå Institute of Design

Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University educates the industrial designers of tomorrow in a creative and international environment. The institute, founded in 1989, is one of the world’s leading industrial design educations, and has been top ranked internationally for a number of years.

UID’s master programme in Interaction Design is a two year programme that offers exciting opportunities for designers to extend their existing skills into new territory of user experience where the focus is on people’s needs rather than technological capability. UID’s vision for interaction design is not only about the design of the object but also about the object of design. The programme has students from 18 different countries and the education is built around projects, in close cooperation with Swedish and international collaboration partners from industry.

More about the master programme in Interaction design

More about Interaction14

High resolution photo of Kevin Gaunt

Contact Information:

Niklas Andersson, Programme Director - Master Programme in Interaction Design at Umeå Institute of Design
Phone: +46 90 786 70 34
Email: niklas.g.andersson@dh.umu.se

Kevin Gaunt, master student in interaction design at Umeå Institute of Design
Phone Sweden: +46 (0) 706 233 207
Phone Switzerland: +41 (0) 786 623 669
Email: kevin@kevingaunt.com
Blog & Portfolio:
www.ixxd.ch


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Umeå University
Umeå University is one of Sweden's largest institutions of higher learning with over 34,000 students and 4,200 employees. We have a well-established international research profile and a broad range of study options. Our campus constitutes an inspiring environment that encourages interdisciplinary meetings - between students, researchers, teachers and external stakeholders. Through collaboration with other members of society, we contribute to the development and strengthen the quality of our research and education.

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Umeå University

Umeå University is one of Sweden's largest universities with over 36,000 students and 4,000 employees. The university is home to a wide range of education programmes and world-class research in a number of fields. Umeå University was also where the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 was discovered – a revolution in gene-technology that was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Founded in 1965, Umeå University is characterised by tradition and stability as well as innovation and change. Education and research on a high international level contributes to new knowledge of global importance, inspired, among other things, by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The university houses creative and innovative people that take on societal challenges. Through long-term collaboration with organisations, trade and industry, and other universities, Umeå University continues to develop northern Sweden as a knowledge region.

The international atmosphere at the university and its unified campus encourages academic meetings, an exchange of ideas and interdisciplinary co-operation. The cohesive environment enables a strong sense of community and a dynamic and open culture in which students and staff rejoice in the success of others.

Campus Umeå and Umeå Arts Campus are only a stone's throw away from Umeå town centre and are situated next to one of Sweden's largest and most well-renowned university hospitals. The university also has campuses in the neighbouring towns Skellefteå and Örnsköldsvik.

At Umeå University, you will also find the highly-ranked Umeå Institute of Design, the environmentally certified Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics and the only architectural school with an artistic orientation – Umeå School of Architecture. The university also hosts a contemporary art museum Bildmuseet and Umeå's science centre – Curiosum. Umeå University is one of Sweden's five national sports universities and hosts an internationally recognised Arctic Research Centre.