Semi Permanent 2023 – Pōneke Wellington Speakers Announced!
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Semi Permanent today announces the return of its festival of creativity and design to the Aotearoa New Zealand capital, set to take place across two venues within Pōneke Wellington from 8th until the 10th of November 2023. Now in its 21st year, Semi Permanent will again bring together the creative industries across Asia Pacific for three days of inspiring keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, and more.
As the biggest and longest-running event of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Semi Permanent shares insight into the processes of the world’s leading visionaries and ignites connection, conversation, collaboration, and creativity. Equal parts education and inspiration, the event provides an opportunity for attendees to level up their skillset whilst expanding their understanding of an ever-evolving creative landscape.
The breadth of this year’s program is reflective of creative practice in 2023, including graphic, product, game and motion design, fashion, illustration, publishing, visual art, digital and brand strategy, and business innovation. Highlights include:
Following the release of his debut album, Songs To Come Home To, Filipino-Māori recording artist, creative director and photographer Ta-ku will take to the stage to discuss his artistic process and the unique nature of his multidisciplinary practice. Having risen to prominence as one of the world’s most in-demand beatmakers, Ta-ku has found himself curator of a rapidly expanding creative empire in which his storytelling gene is key. Once reserved as currency for his music, Ta-ku now applies it to a diverse range of passion projects that encompass creative direction, photography, videography, design, business and fashion.
New Zealand-born editor, creative director, writer, and stylist Megha Kapoor has gained an international reputation within the fashion industry for her timeless aesthetic, elevated reportage and commitment to platforming diverse voices. In 2021, she was headhunted by Vogue’s Global Editorial Director, Anna Wintour, to helm Vogue India, and has since been instrumental in driving the publication’s rapid expansion both globally and within the subcontinent. Under Megha’s direction, the new era of Vogue India seeks to champion the spirit of creativity in India, spark conversations around challenging subjects, and celebrate the diversity of the subcontinent whilst establishing a new visual language.
Ben Grandgenett is the design director of the award-winning The New York Times Magazineand a graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Ben was recognised as an Ascender by the Type Directors Club in 2019, and as a Young Gun by the One Club for Creativity in 2017. His work has also been honoured by AIGA, the Art Directors Club, Creative Review, D&AD, Graphis, the Society for News Design and the Society of Publication Designers.
Widely known for his scene-stealing role as Kevin G. in Mean Girls, Rajiv Surendra is also a modern-day renaissance man, a Martha Stewart-meets-Mr Rogers for millennials. His DIY/How-To videos for HGTV’s Handmade YouTube channel have amassed over 10 million views and he recently launched his own YouTube channel sharing his passion for handcrafted design, bringing traditional creative practices into the 21st century. Rajiv is an accomplished calligrapher, potter, painter, wood carver, musician, and author.
The full program, with more speakers to be announced soon, includes:
- Alexandra Popova — Senior Director of Personalisation and Future of Content, adidas, Amsterdam
- Ben Grandgenett — Design Director, The New York Times Magazine, New York
- Constantine Gavrykov — Senior Global Director of Product Design, Decathlon, Amsterdam
- Emma Lewisham — Founder, Emma Lewisham, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
- Eva Kruse — Chief Global Engagement Officer, PANGAIA, and Founder, Global Fashion Agenda, London
- James Ford — Artist and Creative Director, Silverstripe, Pōneke Wellington
- Justin Kamine — Co-Founder and CEO, Do Good Foods, New York
- Leyla Acaroglu — CEO & Founder The UnSchool, Swivel Skills & Disrupt Design and Chief Circular Designer, Circular Australia, London
- Maru Nihoniho — Founder and Managing Director, Metia Interactive, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
- Megha Kapoor — Head of Editorial Content, Vogue India, Mumbai
- Mike Hewson — Visual Artist, Sydney
- Ophelia & Ryder Jones — Visual Artists, Hakaru, Te Tai Tokerau
- Rajiv Surendra — Artist, Author, Designer and Video Host, New York
- Ruby Jones — Illustrator, Pōneke Wellington
- Simon Devitt — Photographer, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
- Ta-ku — Recording Artist, Creative Director and Photographer, Perth
- Tyrone Ohia — Founder and Creative Director, Extended Whānau, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Following the successful debut of Future State, Spark Lab and Semi Permanent’s technology-focused business summit that took place in Auckland earlier this year, a sustainability-focused capsule edition of Future State will take place as part of Semi Permanent Aotearoa. Bringing together three world-changing leaders – Eva Kruse, Justin Kamine and Leyla Acaroglu – the session will offer valuable insights into how New Zealand businesses can embrace and implement sustainability into their practice, as well offer inspiration from the cutting-edge of circular design systems, resource maximisation, audience engagement strategies, and open source collaboration.
Each year, Semi Permanent takes the opportunity to explore a universal idea that most aligns to the challenges and opportunities of the time. For 2023, it introduces the platform ‘REFORMATION’. “We thought the world would seek to build itself back as it was, but it’s increasingly clear that our collective future cannot—nor should not—look anything like its past,” says Mitchell Oakley Smith, Semi Permanent’s global creative director. “We live amidst a once-in-a-generation chance to write past wrongs, reform seemingly immutable practices, and redesign the world in a shape we’d like to see.”
“One look around will tell you the seeds have already been sown: the promise of a borderless Web3 world; the reclaiming of time via remote work capabilities; the dismantling of industrial hierarchies and traditions that prioritised some consistently over others. And in its place, something new is beginning to emerge: new creative languages, new ways to communicate, to create, organise, disrupt, rebuild. New ways to speak, hear, interpret, understand, and connect. Less barriers to entry, and more possibility for brilliance. With all the chips seemingly thrown in the air—which of these do we catch, and which do we let go?”
ABOUT SEMI PERMANENT
Semi Permanent is the biggest and longest-running creativity and design festival in the southern hemisphere. Over the past 20 years it has hosted more than 50 events in 13 cities, featuring over 800 speakers and attracting more than 300,000 attendees. Previous talent has included Aries Moross, Daniel Arsham, Gia Coppola, Jessica Walsh, Karen Elson, Michel Gondry, Nabil Elderkin, Oliver Stone, Sabine Marcelis, Ta-ku, Taika Waititi, Tom Sachs, and Tony Hawk.