Ver o regulamento em Português



The University of Porto, with the support of its sub-units:

is hereby promoting the idea competition “The power of design: re-establishing embodied conviviality during and beyond COVID-19”. These are the competition rules.


Conviviality is a key value for most human beings: the experience of engaging in face-to-face human interaction deeply nurtures our sense of well-being and community. It can be seen as the fabric that keeps human societies connected and integrated.

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the opportunities for embodied conviviality have been seriously reduced as part of a collective strategy to contain the spread of this global disease. Individuals have retreated to the perceived safety of their homes, as well as to private and even isolated spaces. Alongside this retreat, maintaining physical distance became a societal norm. A new respiratory etiquette and body language has emerged, making the simple act of breathing a subject of regulation and scrutiny. This is a grim threat to spontaneous and meaningful forms of conviviality in both public and private spaces.

Technologically-intensive means of communication have allowed for the continuation of many key activities and relationships during COVID-19 times. However, they are not fully satisfactory replacements for direct physical human interaction. Digital communication devices and platforms cannot fully replace the richness of embodied experience and face-to-face conviviality. We are urged to look for alternative solutions that are not based on digital technologies, and beyond simply wearing basic face-masks. These alternatives should also go beyond constantly applying cleaning products on our hands and on surfaces – a problem to biodiversity in the long run. Furthermore, the alternatives should not just be about waiting for the development of a new vaccine: another pandemic with similar impacts might emerge in the future. Will we wait again for a new vaccine? This crisis demands us to think about the future beyond COVID-19. Can we develop design ideas capable of promoting conviviality when flu and cold outbreaks occur? Or when all sorts of diseases that we already know or that will emerge in the future compromise once again our ability to engage in face-to-face interaction?

We are looking for remarkable and brilliant, yet simple, design ideas capable of re-establishing safe face-to-face conviviality. Do you have an idea capable of making people to go back to the streets, schools and workplaces, join family reunions and festivities? Do you think that such idea will be in some way useful or appealing even after the COVID-19 pandemic will be over? Can this idea encourage us to care for each other, non-humans and the natural environment better? If you are intrigued by this challenge, allow your creativity to express itself and send us your idea! Maybe you will initiate the solution for a key global problem.

Applicants from any field or personal background are invited to submit their ideas, whatever they might be, as long as they do not have a digital component and meet the competition guidelines.

The best applications will be publicly displayed at the Hall of Biodiversity – Ciência Viva Center of the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto; and published in a prestigious design magazine. The winning application will receive a prize of €3000, and the two runner-ups will receive a prize of €1000 each.


Applications can focus on convivial activities and experiences in: urban and public spaces; work environments; live-work spaces; the local neighborhood; home; transport; miscellaneous and overlooked spaces and places. Entries can explore a wide range of shared, personal and hybrid artifacts from furniture to clothing, from fixed objects to portable ones, and much more.


Applicants of all design and creative backgrounds (either academically trained or not) are invited to apply.

The applications should include a title, a visualization (that is, a sketch, 2D or 3D render, a photo of a model or prototype, or other illustration of the idea) and a brief text (no more than 300 words) with a summary of the idea. This summary should explain the how, where, with or for whom, and the for what of the idea.

Applications should be sent via e-mail to until 15 March 2021.

Important: The title, the visualization and the brief text must be sent without any reference to the person, people or organization(s) that have produced them as they will be anonymously assessed by the jury to prevent any form of author-related bias. Failure to meet this requirement might represent automatic exclusion from the competition.


Applications can be submitted by any individual person, collective, research center, company or organization (both public or private) as long as they do not work with either the promoters or the jury members. To be eligible, the application must check the following requirements:

  • The applicant (or applicants) is the author of the idea submitted;
  • The idea of the application is original;
  • The rules presented in the previous and subsequent sections are adopted.


The applications must be submitted in English via e-mail to

Each application should include two files.

The first is an anonymous PDF file where the following elements are included:

  • Title of the idea (up to 15 words);
  • Visualization of the idea. The visualization should have high resolution and can be produced using either drawing, illustrating and/or photographic techniques, both by hand or digital means.
  • Brief text (up to 300 words) explaining:
    • how the idea works;
    • where it works;
    • with or for whom it works; and
    • what it works for.

This PDF file will be used by the jury to assess the applications. It should therefore be a totally anonymous file and no larger than 15 Mb. The name of the file should have a maximum of ten characters. It should be indicative of the title of the application (example: ournewidea.pdf).

The second element to included in the application is a TIFF or JPEG file suitable for being printed out as a large poster and containing the visualization image with 300dpi resolution. The name of the file should be the same as the PDF file (example: ournewidea.tiff or ournewidea.jpg). This image will be used to print out the poster to be displayed at the exhibition space and to produce a special issue of a design magazine.

Important note: the applications will be anonymously assessed by the members of the jury. To secure anonymity, the PDF files must not include any element that reveals or suggests the identity of the applicant(s) neither in the title and text, nor in the visualization itself. The full details of the applicants should be provided in the body of the email. The author´s details should include:

  • Full name(s) of the applicant(s) ordered by level of authorship;
  • Employing organization (if any);
  • Email addresses of contact person (who should be clearly identified);
  • Telephone number of contact person;
  • Post address of contact person;
  • Link to personal or institutional webpage (if any).

If needed, the applicants are allowed to use online platforms for transferring large files. In this case, the link from which the files will be downloaded via the selected online platform should be sent in the same email where the author´s details are provided (and instead of the PDF file and the TIFF/JPEG file).

Multiple individual, collective or organizational entries are permitted. Each application should be sent in a separate email. There are no registration fees.


Applications will be assessed by the jury (presented below) using the criteria presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Criteria for assessment of applications

*This means that the idea must not rely on any digital means to be used by the target audience / end-user / consumer. However, digital means can be used both to design its visual representation and to produce the object under consideration, whatever it might be. Example: the applicant proposes a radically new type of face mask, which was designed using digital technologies. The production of the mask requires digital means, but the mask itself is not digital or digitalized in any way. This is an eligible application under this criterion.

** The idea can, however, be specifically focused on urban areas (or in public or private spaces), or be meant to be used just in work spaces or on public transport means (among many other possibilities). Even though broad geographical use is intended, the specific places and situations where the idea will be used are to be explored by the creativity of the applicants.

The following steps will be adopted to assess the applications:

  1. As a first step, the applications will be assessed by the promoters of the competition in terms of eligibility and conformity to the competition rules. Only eligible applications will be considered in the next step;
  2. The eligible applications will also be assessed by the promoters of the competition in terms of basic quality. Applications unanimously considered of unacceptable standards, spurious or offensive will be dismissed;
  3. Applications that passed steps A and B will be assessed by all members of the jury (presented below) under the supervision of the president of the jury, who is an acclaimed medical expert. The jury will use the criteria and criteria weights presented in Table 1 to assess the applications;
  4. The assessment of applications under the criterion “Facilitates safe conviviality” will be performed exclusively by the members of the jury with expertise in medicine. The other members of the jury will provide no assessment for this criterion;
  5. The score of each individual application will be determined by the average values given by all the members of the jury as determined by Table 1;
  6. The assessments of the members of the jury will all have the same weight, that is, no jury member will have greater or lesser powers when compared with the others (with exception of criterion “Facilitates safe conviviality”, as explained in section 4);
  7. The applications will be assessed anonymously and without giving any consideration to the person(s) who or entity(ies) that submitted them;
  8. If needed, and in the case of two or more applications receiving exactly the same scores, the jury will vote for the winning applications – details presented in section “Rewards for winners and participants”;
  9. The applications to be displayed in public exhibitions and or magazines will be determined as follows. The first application will be given priority to be displayed. Then the second, and the third, and so on and so forth, until there are no available places. The exact number of applications to be displayed will, therefore, depend on this process and on the overall availability of space in exhibition venues and magazines;
  10. The jury will have a president with acclaimed expertise in medicine and epidemiology, who is specified below. This person, besides performing as a jury member, will be responsible for the supervision of the assessment process.

The members of the jury are (in alphabetical order):

  • Alastair Fuad-Luke, Full professor and Vice-dean for Research of the Faculty of Design and Art of the University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy;
  • António Ferreira, Senior Researcher at CITTA: Centre for Research on Territory, Transports and Environment, University of Porto, Portugal;
  • depA architects, Porto, Portugal;
  • Isabella Rossen, Sociologist and Public Relations at OMA Rotterdam, Netherlands;
  • Henrique Barros, Medical Doctor and Full Professor of Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Portugal. President of the Jury;
  • Marta Lourenço, Chair of UMAC-ICOM: International Committee of ICOM for University Museums and Collections, Portugal;
  • Ralf Syring, Medical Doctor and NGO Senior Manager for International Health Projects, Germany.


The key dates of the competition are as follows:

  • Deadline to pose relevant questions about the competition regulations and guidelines – 8 January 2021;
  • Deadline to submit applications – 15 March 2021;
  • Results of the competition (expected date) – 17 May 2021.


The jury will use the criteria presented in Table 1 to determine which applications are to be accepted. All accepted applications will be publicly displayed at the Hall of Biodiversity – Ciência Viva Center of the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto, depending on the space available.

The three best applications (as measured by their average scores) will be given special attention in the public exhibition. The authors of these highly rated applications will be interviewed and the interviews will be advertised and made public.

Provided that the promoters of this competition consider the winning application(s) viable for it and worthwhile, prototypes will be produced by the University of Porto to be publicly exhibited and – if that is appropriate – used and/or explored by the visitors of the exhibition.

A monetary prize of €3000 will be given to the winner (application with the highest average score) and a monetary prize of €1000 will be given to the two runner-ups (the two applications with higher scores after the winner). In the case of two or more applications receiving the same scores and this constituting a problem for selecting one winner and two runner-ups, the jury members will vote on the applications under consideration. The selected applications for winner and runner-ups will be decided by the higher number of votes.


It is the responsibility of the applicants to ensure that the ideas submitted do not infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.

All property rights relating to the submitted applications belong to each individual or collective applicant.

By submitting the applications, the applicants accept to allow the submitted materials to be published free of charge by the promoters of the competition. By submitting the applications, the applicants also accept the submitted materials to be used free of charge in events facilitated by the promoters to disseminate the outcomes of the competition. This includes the creation of prototypes. In both cases, the promoters will make explicit reference to the authors of the submitted materials, as determined by their copyrights as authors. The promoters might make an offer to the winning applicant(s) to commercially exploit the idea(s) proposed.


The personal details of the applicants will only be used by the Promoters to contact them about this competition or related issues, and will not be shared with third parties.

Any question regarding the processing of your personal data can be addressed to the University of Porto’s DPO at


The promoters of this initiative reserve the right to amend the present regulation, committing to disclosing these changes by the same means used for the disclosure of the original regulation.

In the case the applications received within the deadline are overwhelmingly considered of poor quality, the promoters reserve the right not to give any prize and, ultimately, to cancel the competition.

By submitting their applications, the applicants are stating that they have read, understood and accept the regulation of the competition.