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The Global Jam

Hackathon based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

This year, the Maastricht Academy of Media Design and Technology hosted the Global Goals Jam 2017 for the very first time in the Betahuis Heerlen, opening the doors to students and alumni to join this intense session. We, Liuda Sharafutdinova and Justine De Ridder, first-year students from iArts, had the honor to take a part in such a big event.

Their participation was guided by Theo Ploeg, one of the founders of Buro Neue, and teacher at iArts.

The Global Goals Jam is a two-day hackathon for anyone to ideate, brainstorm and prototype ideas for 2030 based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The hackathon took place on the 15th and 16th September in 40 cities worldwide and with 1200 jammers in total.

The assignment was to focus on five of the 17 ambitious goals.

The first day was devoted to brainstorming. The teams had to choose one out of the 5 topics, research it and present the raw sketches at the end of the day. The second day was about implementation. The morning started with a brief presentation of the project based on the researched ideas and concepts of the previous day. Later we had to further develop the project, create a prototype and present the finished concept.

We attended the Global Goals Jam with the intention of being observers of the creative process. We didn’t think that our help would be needed. Because a few people who were present on the first day couldn’t attend the second day, we had the chance to jump in for them and to work on a concrete project.

Our starting point was #goal1, ‘no poverty’. We brainstormed a lot with the ideas already developed by the group the day before, which were really broad. We were constantly under pressure since our project needed to be finished by 7pm that day. Our final idea was to create a backpack with an attached tent that could be appealing for backpackers.

The concept was that every sold backpack would provide another backpack for someone in needs. Our first target was Africa, but we promptly decided to bring the problem closer to us. We ended up using the same idea of creating a backpack including a tent, but to offer it to people with no permanent housing.

With this decision, our aim shifted from #goal1 to #goal11, which was sustainable cities and communities. The goal of our project was to integrate people without permanent housing, who are often socially excluded, back into the communities. Inhabitants of the cities would get to encounter people who have previously experienced a lack of housing in a different light.

written by Liuda Sharafutdinova,
iArts year one student