This Spring’s DA Conversations are back to discuss ‘Diversity in Aotearoa, New Zealand Design — what does it mean and why does it matter?’. In October Emma Ng, writer and curator specialising in art and design, will convene the conversation in Wellington between Johnson Witehira, artist, designer and academic with a focus on Māori and identity and co-Founder at IDIA: Indigenous Design and Innovation Aotearoa; Angela Meyer, Director at Double Denim; Janelle Rodrigues, founding partner and the Creative Director at Creature and Nick Kapica, Design Lead at Wellington City Council.
In the lead up to the event, each of our panellists reveals their big question (or questions) which they will attempt to answer and put to each other.
Dr Johnson Witehira is an artist, designer and academic. He is a leader in indigenous innovation in art and design, with a focus on Māori and identity.
As a designer Witehira considers how customary Māori knowledge and ways of thinking can be applied in contemporary settings. He has worked with businesses, community groups, and Government agencies to instigate design solutions that effect positive change in people, practice and place.
Within academia Witehira’s research focuses specifically on decolonizing design education and practice. He is at the the forefront of developing bi-cultural and Māori responses to teaching design, and is recognised as an emerging national expert on contemporary Māori design.
Witehira’s art practice combines three particular areas of interest; technology, identity and post-colonial theory. His works challenge us to reconsider our place in the world, and the blurred lines between history, myth and self.
— How do we bring through diversity in Aotearoa’s design education system?
Angela Meyer often surprises, sometimes shocks and always delivers. In a nutshell: She has a track record for innovative, behaviour- changing strategies. She’s not afraid to make hard decisions in the name of high-impact results. Reason for being? Many of Angela’s personal projects are about helping women realise how ace they are; she started the Real Hot Bitches international dance troupe. Angela is Co-Director of Double Denim, Co-Founder of Ace Lady Network, and was a finalist in the 2016 and 2018 Women of Influence Awards
— What would a design culture based on feminine principles look like?
Janelle is a founding partner and the Creative Director at Creature.
She combines a thoughtful approach and inquiring mind to design strategic and graphic solutions that measure up against briefs, that resonate and move people. She’s basically a curious and provocative creature.
Her creative influences and interests are eclectic. From high art to craft market, from runways to street styles, Janelle combines deep understanding with a good dose of pragmatism to produce results that work, and are award winning.
Janelle is a member of The Designers Institute, has been a board member, judge and conveyor of The Best Awards.
— How wide can I reach, expressing diversity from my single point of view?
Straight white fifty year old european middle class designer.
Nick was born in London where he studied Visual Communication at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. He then worked as a designer at The Independent newspaper before moving in 1989 to Berlin, where he founded SV Associates, and evolved his work from visual communication to experience design with a strongly human centered focus. Nick moved to Wellington, New Zealand in 2009 to become Senior Lecturer in Design at Massey University. As a design researcher he operated within two distinct yet related areas of design practice: visual communication design within spatial environments, and the use of spatial environments to enhance and affect users’ experiences within them. In 2017 Nick joined Wellington City Council as Design Lead responsible for brand experience and pushing ‘design as a process’ deeper into the organisation. He has collaborated with Atelier Brückner on Scenographic projects and Athfield Architects on workplace and experiential graphic design projects. Urbanist, designer, kitesurfer, and educator, Nick is happiest when he can bring different people together, building diverse teams to try to understand complex problems and search for unusual solutions. His dream job would to be searching for the problems we do not even know we need to be solving.
— How do we fight the human tribal instinct?
Emma is a writer and curator specialising in art and design. Over the past few months she’s curated exhibitions at Pātaka and Te Papa, written for the Pantograph Punch, the Spinoff, and Design Assembly, and contributed to the Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui and the Young Feminist Hui. Last year Emma graduated from New York’s School of Visual Arts with an MA in Design Research, Writing and Criticism – and worked on book projects for the NYC’s Urban Design Forum and Phaidon. Emma is also the author of Old Asian, New Asian, published in 2017 by BWB Texts.
Join us at Credenza Shared Office Space — 16th October from 6pm onwards, with the conversation kick-starting at 6:30pm.
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