Rickard Åström is creative and likes to mix aesthetically
pleasing things with functionality. For instance he has used an old
broken radio and assembled it with a laptop to get a nice radio
that plays mp3. Furthermore, he has a really small balcony, and
because he enjoys to barbecue he altered a grill so it works like a
flower box, it hangs on the outside of the balcony
What are you doing at Umeå Institute of
I am responsible for the Interaction Workshop. Camille Moussette
have always been a real enthusiast for the Interaction Workshop,
and the education on the whole, and at the end of spring last year
he realized that he did not have the time to do the research he was
supposed to do. People started to talk about the need for a person
who could be responsible for the workshop and give advice and such.
Peder Fällefors here at UID is a friend and he heard the talk and
thought the description fitted me: broad technical knowledge,
artistic, and social, so he told me about it. It was a job with all
my interest included; it couldn&t get any better. I started
last October and in the beginning it was a lot of routines as well
as non-routines to learn, but it was a great job: capable and
polite students, fantastically fun work tasks and constantly new
things to learn, which can be both frustrating and incredibly
exciting. Now I have been here for a year and I begin to find my
feet, which enables me to be more active. It is great to have the
opportunity to be a teacher and tutor, to some extent.
Is there anything you find particularly positive about
I love the devotion of the UID students; you do not find that
everywhere. At UID the students do more than they have to, and that
is wonderful. There is a big difference from when I was a student,
and also a difference from the students I meet at the Department of Computing Science at the
Is there anything you would like to improve at Umeå
Institute of Design?
Nothing comes to mind - of course things can get a bit chaotic
sometimes, but that is partly what makes it so unique. It would be
great if there was more time and money for study trips and further
education, so I could be a step ahead, instead of putting out fires
and just keeping up with the maintenance. I hardly have time to
keep up with coming technology.
What do you think are the reasons for the good reputation
The main reason is definitely that the students come from all
over the world, and they are presented with a fantastic environment
with devoted, skilled and international teachers, they learn a
bunch of great things and then they go out in the world and show
what they know. However, I am afraid that the introduction of
tuition fees will change things. I have heard from several students
who would not have been able to come here if they would have had to
pay the tuition fees. In the long run I believe it will change UID
for the worse.
What will you be doing in ten years?
I hope my position will gradually become a fulltime one. I will
still be responsible for the Interaction Workshop, but I would also
like to be part of the education, to be part of the process. I
enjoy popping into lectures and such, to get a more comprehensive
image of the programme.