The expat top-10 aims the spotlight on the internationals that help Eindhoven progress. E52 sat down with each winning expat to talk about their experiences and perspective on the city they once came to, and never got away from. Today: Jorge Alves Lino.
Designer Jorge Alves Lino (Portugal) is business leader at STRP Biënnale and one of the creative directors of the Desinghuis Eindhoven. He speaks five different languages (including Dutch) and he lived in Portugal, Belgium, Czech Republic, Norway, France and since 2007 in the Netherlands. He’s a real cosmopolitan. He came to Eindhoven to do his PhD, he combined this with a role as tutor for applied design. Jorge found a higher quality of social life in Eindhoven.
‘I didn’t know Eindhoven, but after six months I didn’t want to leave anymore’
“I wanted to finish my master, but in Lisbon there was nobody who could tutor me in the field I wanted to work in. At a media festival in Stuttgart I presented my work, immediately I was asked to come to Eindhoven for a PhD and teach at the same time at the TU/e. I thought why not? I was young and not tied to one place. I didn’t know Eindhoven yet, therefore I was a bit shivery because I had always lived in capital cities. So I decided that I would give myself one year to see if the place would fit my needs. After six months I didn’t want to leave anymore.”
‘It’s a strength to combine business and creativity’
“Eindhoven has got the appearance of a metropole, but at the same time the approachability of a village. When I first came here I found out that the nightlife was not as good as I was accustomed to. Certainly when you compare Eindhoven to Amsterdam or Brussel. But instead of complaining and whining – definitely a characteristic thing about the Dutch – I organized the STUK X parties with colleague designers in the city. Because if you want to change things, you really have to do things yourself. I have been doing that till 2014, when I got involved with STRP Biënnale. Here we combine art, technology and culture. STRP observes what’s going on in the world of technology in combination with creativity, these developments are reflected in a broad program. In ten years’ time STRP expanded to one of the greatest indoor art and technology events of Europe.”
‘For me design is about improving quality of life’
“In everything that I do, the social aspect is really important. I have to be somewhere where I can gather people around me who are dear to me. Moreover I want to express myself and that’s all possible here. The open, welcoming attitude in Eindhoven is really nice. As a creative director of the Designhouse I combine talents from different disciplines. Just like I do with STRP. I’m one of the creative directors since 2014. It’s not only an exposition room for designers but also a place where people can brainstorm on new ideas. By bringing people of different interests together, new insights arise, and in this way we want to connect design with the inhabitants of the city. It’s a real bottom-up process, it’s driven from the community. The city hall should be more aware of that, they should have a more facilitating role instead of a leading role in these matters.”
“Before I became active in the culteral sector I’ve worked for ING on customer experience as innovation developer. I really learned a lot, but at the same time it was rather scary to step into the corporate world. Suddenly my plans had to be achievable, it was about thousands of people and millions of euros. It was a big responsibility, but I’ve accomplished to deal with this and that gave me a boost of confidence.
But mainly I discovered that it is possible to think business minded and take in the personal account in as well. I’m following a research about people being unemployed for a long time. This research shows that the longer it takes, the harder it gets to find a job. It’s easy to compute what this costs the community. But also you can seek a way to break through this trend. How do you ensure that people can have an active role in the society? To achieve this, you have to invest in people. It’s not only about the money you will save on welfare, but about improving the quality of living.”
‘The word expat in my language is has something negative’
“In Portugal the word expat [expatriado] suggests that I have given up my heritage, but that’s not the case. My roots are in Portugal, I’m proud of that. My parents gave me all to let me live the life that I got now. I choose a place where I feel happy, that freedom feels luxurious and nice.”
“The current war on talent between companies is driven by the market. In my view there is too little attention for people or their competences, everything is about figures. Also at Brainport, it was all way too institutionalized. But it gets better, they have more attention for individual skills already. A while ago I was giving a presentation about expats. I was the last one to speak, before me only managers were on the podium. This brought me the opportunity to talk about the social aspect, this is in my view something unexposed in the public debate. People should think more in possibilities for people instead of for companies. That creates a lot more positive energy than only seeing impossibilities. Hereby I welcome everyone to have a cup of coffee with me to talk about this subject.”
Tomorrow E52 will feature an interview with yet another expat from the list. Read all the articles in the series on Expats in Eindhoven here.
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