Interview with Brendan McGetrick, the Curator of the Global Grad Show

Herskhazeen has recently sat down with Brendan McGetrick during Dubai Design Week 2017 to talk about the show and how it’s meticulously curated to showcase around 200 projects from 92 leading design universities in 43 countries, making it the world’s largest student gathering.

All images © Dubai Design Week 2017, courtesy of Photo Solutions

The third edition of the acclaimed annual exhibition of life-changing inventions from graduates of the world’s leading design and technology universities opened in Dubai Design Week. Curated by renowned author and designer, Brendan McGetrick, the Global Grad Show presents projects based on McGetrick’s personal interpretation of design that emphasis on innovation that transcends technology and exists independent of wealth.

The students exhibited a range of products within 4 main themes, Innovation, Equality, Exchange, and Impact. The products varied from raising awareness to the world’s most pressing issues all the way to providing solutions that would help doctors in camps and distressed women with no access to healthcare facilities.

McGetrick during the Progress Prize announcement

When asked about the purpose of the show and what were his hopes for the students to gain from this experience, McGetrick answered that the aim of the event is to connect students from around the world with one another, bringing together students with similar problems, solutions, and mindsets in order for them to create a network, collaborate or form new friendships, making that a priority over bringing in investors as it would change the atmosphere of the show.

As for the 4 themes and how they were formulated, McGetrick answered that it was a method to organize the huge amount of participating projects for the visitor. These 4 themes will lead the visitors to look at the shared spirit as opposed to the used technology. Equality was an important theme to tackle in order to “rebel against” the usual inequality found in student fairs, as bigger schools would usually get much more attention, but for this exhibition, everyone is presented equally and on the same level.

McGetrick continued by explaining that the fair is inclusive of all design ideas, instead of the usual robotics, artificial intelligence and drones found in most student exhibitions in adherence to the equality theme and to include as many universities as possible.

Topics of migrations, refugee camps, and climate change were strongly present in the show and McGetrick said that some of the projects contributed to this theme in a positive way. And regarding the next Global Grad Show, McGetrick hopes to increase the list of countries and number of schools making it even richer.

McGetrick got a very diverse bio, he’s a writer, designer, curator and at times, a DJ. He advises students to be diverse in this present economy and to collaborate with different people on interesting projects and to develop a perspective that you’re confident and interested in, then applying that perspective different contexts. McGetrick also encourages students and young professionals to be brave to go into territories where they are not trained in as they would have a fresh perspective that could result in a valuable contribution and a much stronger outcome.

ASA by Isabel Corcao

Guma by Jesus Alejandro Curi Chavez


A not for profit initiative, the Global Grad Show welcomes graduates from 92 universities to Dubai to present forward-thinking prototypes around the themes of empowerment, connection, and sustainability. Graduates hail from universities far and wide, including leading institutions such as Design Academy Eindhoven (Netherlands), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (USA), Royal College of Art (UK), and National University of Singapore. Furthermore, work from emerging markets rarely seen on a global scale is on view, including projects from designers based in Serbia, Uganda, Peru, Malaysia and New Zealand.

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