The Umbrella network


The Umbrella is a collaborative network of designers, creative collectives and curators who value social processes within their creative and curatorial work. It is both an invitation and a call to converse about, indulge in, and network for projects with immediate or eventual social impact.

One of the aims of the network is to explore ways of connecting and communicating socio-cultural complex projects effectively both within and outside of the traditional showcase. Therefore we create experiences for people to better understand the interactions and the structures of social design and socially engaged practices we value and act upon. 

The Umbrella network is specialised in utilising co-design processes within socially engaged projects. A general characteristic of co-design is that it actively incorporates the participation of diverse people within the process, the decision-making and the conclusion of the project. It requires the active involvement of the group and its stakeholders which creates a high potential for innovative outcomes often leading to ownership and sustainability.

The network is a result of how we work, a collaboration that emerged spontaneously. Rather than being initiated as a brand or a movement, it functions as an expression of who we are. It takes effort and time to gather and cooperate, but the advantages in doing so draw the initiatives together.

The Umbrella network offers guided tours through the city, food events, workshops, presentations and discussions. Currently, the Umbrella is establishing a concrete research focused on the city of Eindhoven and its urgencies in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum. Furthermore, since September 2015, it is part of the constituents groups that are working together with the European Confederation of museums called L’Internationale, sharing methodologies and tools and rethinking alternative ways of “radical mediation”.

In collaboration with

Introducing the Umbrellas

Gemma Medina
Independent research curator (Van Abbemuseum)
She has a PhD degree in Contemporary Art History (University La Laguna, Spain). Her practice is focused on the relationship between contemporary art and society. Participating in projects that fall outside standard artistic discourse, she dares to bring art closer to the non-specialized audiences. She establishes collaborative experiences with artists, designers and communities as a medium to reflect on art practices and the art history. Since 2012 she has been working in close collaboration with Tania Bruguera, as chief researcher and assistant curator for The Museum of Arte ÚtilIn 2015 she joined The Umbrella and she was awarded together with Alessandra Saviotti by the Mondriaan Fund for Broadcasting the archive. In 2016, she curated Room 6 as constituents curator for the Van Abbemuseum. Currently, she works as co-curator, archivist and coordinator for the Asociación de Arte Útil.

Minsung Wang
Communication designer (Bron van Doen)
He is a South Korean designer based in Eindhoven with bachelor’s degrees in Art history and Archaeology (Seoul National University) and Design (Design Academy Eindoven). Focused on the development of socio-cultural projects and visual communication, currently he is dedicated to a diverse portfolio of creative projects in the city of Eindhoven together with his colleagues at Bron van Doen. In 2014 he started The Umbrella network together with a group of alumni from Design Academy Eindhoven in order to create a platform that better communicates design projects with complex socio-cultural contexts. Currently he is focused on the development of The Umbrella’s co-design process and tools used during various workshops and events.

Ron Krielen
Social designer (Bron van Doen)
He is a social designer with a bachelor’s degree in design from Design Academy Eindhoven. He was awarded the Connector Awards from DAE with his graduation project Two Hats. Co-owner of Bron van Doen, he is a connector that works together with distinctive groups of people in Eindhoven as well as being responsible for various social design projects in the city, such as Uit de Buurtfabriek, NIEUW/OUD and Corner Spot. Having been involved with The Umbrella from the very start, he is focused on creating networks with communities in Eindhoven with inspiring social projects, developing programs to support such efforts and hosting co-design workshops and events. He is also The Umbrella networks designated tour guide for Agents of Change.

Christine van Meegen
Designer (Studio C.A.R.E.)
In 2015 she graduated with a Master in Social Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven and started Studio C.A.R.E. together with her partner. The studio focuses on using methods of arts, architecture and design to deconstruct spaces and realities, aiming at reconnecting inhabitants and users through unconventional methods with their environment. These interventions and happenings develop mostly into long-term processes and collaborations with the users, eventually resolving in handing the project over to them. As a co-founder of the Umbrella network in 2014, she is since then interested in mapping the temporary constellations of socio-cultural projects in the city.

Conor Trawinski
Co-designer (Hans Sauer Stiftung)
Conor Trawinski (Ireland, 1987) is a co-designer and social entrepreneur with a bachelor’s degree in design from Design Academy Eindhoven. He works with process driven design methodologies while facilitating and guiding people through the co-design process. He believes the inclusion of multidisciplinary professionals and nonprofessionals is one of the most important factors for the success of any creative project. With empathy as a starting point, Conor employees design thinking methods and service design techniques in order to facilitate design workshops and guide people through the collaborative design process.