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© Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design

For many students the recent summer semester and the current winter semester have been full of challenging experiences. And nobody knows whether to expect more semesters with restrictions. “Without being cynical”, says Professor Detlef Rhein from Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel, “we can see that the pandemic offers extraordinary opportunities, despite the wide-ranging negative consequences. Many things are now being scrutinised and we have the chance to think up alternatives. How can our resources be shared in a way that is effective for society and more sustainable? How are our infrastructures becoming more resilient? What can we do better to prevent the very things that we live off from making us ill?”

Students on the university’s Medical Design master’s programme have gone in search of answers to such questions with the Nextpandemic project to explore the current and future demands of a pandemic. The idea is that the key to unlocking the bigger picture lies in a correct and sensible approach to the supposedly smaller questions. The results can now be viewed in an online exhibit. According to Rhein, the very different projects showed “how we can reach new and more resilient states of normality in a future of exceptional circumstances”. Ideally, they should also help us to “better understand that the circumstances in which we live and the ways in which we organise our lives are the result of collective decisions and are thus (also) shaped by these.”

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