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”.