Meet eXpression's new Industry Council

Meet eXpression's new Industry Council

The fifth of February saw the launch of eXpression's new Industry Council, which will support the incubator for two years. The council consists of experts whose mission is to provide valuable experiences, insights and trend analyses that will benefit the incubator's activities and the development of the companies.

It is important for us to constantly bring in new perspectives and voices. We are very grateful for the opportunity to gather four such knowledgeable and inspiring experts. We see them as our ears to the ground, and the goal is that it will ultimately benefit both our business and the companies we support," says Mr S. Barbro Renkel, CEO of eXpression Umeå.

With the ambition to be at the forefront of innovation and sustainability development, eXpression has taken a strategic initiative to develop the work with a new industry council. The first meeting in Stockholm was the starting point for a two-year collaboration, with two physical meetings per year and ongoing contact in between.

Industry Council 2024-2025:

  • Ola Rune, architect and designer, is known for his work in architecture through the firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. Ola has established himself as a pioneer in his field. His work has not only gained international recognition but also emphasised the importance of aesthetics linked to function and sustainability.
  • Anna Lidström, senior lecturer in textiles and fashion, is a true role model and inspiration in sustainable fashion design and textile use. As Sweden's first PhD in remake, she paves the way for new methods and smart use of textile products, challenging current industry norms.
  • Mathias Dahlgren, restaurateur and chef, With his outstanding achievements in gastronomy, he continues to take Swedish food culture to new heights and contributes to innovative thinking on cooking, local production and sustainability in the restaurant industry (did not attend the first meeting).
  • Sara Sandström, Executive Director of the Princess Estelle Cultural Foundation, has made a name for herself through her involvement in the Swedish art scene, particularly as co-owner of Galleri Andersson/Sandström. She has helped to promote contemporary art and sculpture both nationally and internationally.

The focus of the Industry Council meeting was to share insights and trend predictions, where everyone had the opportunity to give their perspective from the industry in which they operate. Unfortunately, Mattias Dahlgren had to visit from his sickbed, but it was still difficult to cover everything.

Something that the Council often returned to was how we measure the value of things that do not have clear short-term economic effects. And how we can create a clearer link between our behaviours and, for example, our impact on the environment. Anna started the conversation and it led to discussions about the possibility of creating an international unit for measuring emissions, which Ola suggested.

The discussions extended to sustainability challenges in architecture and fashion, emphasising the need for innovation and patience to navigate complex value chains and promote more sustainable consumption.

Sara highlighted how the art world is undergoing significant change with increased digital sales and greater representation for women, indigenous peoples and LGBTQ+ people. This 'backlash' against previous norms reflects a growing diversity and inclusion, a trend that is also starting to affect other creative industries.

She also mentioned how art institutions and galleries are embracing new ways of presenting exhibitions that do not simply follow chronological or traditional formats. By integrating historical works with modern comments and perspectives, dynamic exhibitions are created that reflect contemporary social issues and dialogues.


The council's mission is to enrich the incubator with insights into new trends and challenges in different industries. By acting as trend spotters and sharing their experiences, they provide input to eXpression to tailor strategies to meet future demands.

The discussions highlighted the importance of welcoming new ideas to foster innovation and sustainable growth in the creative and cultural industries, which is in line with eXpression's endeavour to be a driver of societal development.


Contribute to a safer and more inclusive Umeå this summer!

Ten new creators in spring start-up programme


eXpression welcomes new national strategy


Join the Young Startup Day 2024.

sign up for our newsletter