Bellagio Design Symposium: Participants
Jimena Acosta Romero
Independent Curator and Journalist, Mexico City
Jimena Acosta Romero is an independent curator in Mexico City focusing on contemporary art and design. She holds an MA in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and a BA in art history from Universidad Iberoamericana. She has curated exhibitions for museums and galleries including the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, MUAC in Mexico City and the A+D Gallery in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in the magazines Arquine, La Tempestad and Código 06140. She teaches at Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión in Mexico City.
Senior Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Paola Antonelli is senior curator in the Department of Architecture & Design of The Museum of Modern Art, where she has worked since 1994. Through her exhibitions, teachings and writing, Antonelli strives to promote a deeper understanding of design’s transformative and constructive influence on the world. She is very proud of a recent acquisition into MoMA’s collection: the @ sign. She is working on several exhibition ideas and on the book Design Bites, about basic foods that serve as examples of outstanding design.
Design Director, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Andrew Blauvelt is chief of audience engagement and communications and curator of architecture and design at the Walker Art Center, a museum of contemporary visual, performing and media arts located in Minneapolis. Over the past decade, he has organized several exhibitions on topics such as design and the use of everyday materials and rituals, contemporary prefabricated architecture and the changing landscape of the American suburb. He writes and lectures frequently about contemporary design from a larger cultural and social perspective. He is at work on major institutional initiatives such as an online publishing platform for the Walker’s multidisciplinary collections and presentations and a book on relationally based design.
Chief Curator, Brazilian Design Biennial, São Paulo
Adélia Borges is a design curator and writer in São Paulo, Brazil. She was director of the Museu da Casa Brasileira (2003–2007) and has worked since the ’70s as a journalist in daily newspapers and magazines. Borges has written six books, among them Designer não é Personal Trainer and Sergio Rodrigues, and has curated a number of design exhibitions and seminars in Brazil and abroad. She is chief curator of the Brazilian Design Biennial.
Editor, Design Indaba, Cape Town
Nadine Botha is the editor of Design Indaba magazine, a quarterly South African publication affiliated with the renowned annual event in Cape Town. In 2009, the magazine was recognized in Colophon’s Top 100 Most Innovative Magazines in the World. Besides also working on the Design Indaba Conference and Expo, she has played a key role in other Design Indaba projects, including Protofarm 2050, the SOUTH film, All Stars and the ongoing redevelopment of designindaba.com. Previously she has been entertainment listings editor at the Mail&Guardian, edited math textbooks for Oxford University Press and found that not even published poets can turn syllables into cents.
Former Director, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Ashoke Chatterjee’s career spanned engineering, marketing, international civil service and India’s public sector and its tourism industry before his appointment as the director of India’s National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) in 1975. After serving at NID for 25 years, he assists design education in India, Pakistan and the UK. Past president of the Crafts Council of India, Chatterjee is actively concerned with the future of artisans and hand activity in India and globally. A development communication specialist and volunteer, his focus in on drinking water, sanitation and other environmental priorities, education and the needs of special children. Chatterjee serves on the boards and teams of development institutions in India and elsewhere.
Partner, Core77, New York
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York–based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts. He is the editor-in-chief of Core77.com
, the widely read design website, Coroflot.com
design job and portfolio site, and DesignDirectory.com
design firm database. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents, and has received awards from Communication Arts
, The Art Directors Club, I.D.
magazine, and The One Club. He teaches in the graduate departments of Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and serves on the boards of the Designers Accord and Design Ignites Change.
Editorial Director, Winterhouse Institute, Connecticut
William Drenttel is a partner at Winterhouse, a design practice in Falls Village, Connecticut, focused on social innovation, online media, and educational institutions. He is also design director for Teach For All, an international education network. Through the Winterhouse Institute, he is leading a series of initiatives funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop models for design and social innovation, including this Bellagio Design Symposium. Drenttel is president emeritus of AIGA and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is the editorial director of Design Observer, a leading website focused on design, social innovation, urbanism and cultural commentary.
Director, Design Museum Holon, Israel
Galit Gaon is the creative director of Design Museum Holon and the founder, director and chief curator of the Israeli Cartoon Museum. Formerly, she was the founder and director of the product design department at the Askola School of Design, Tel Aviv, and senior lecturer at the Holon Institute of Technology. Gaon has initiated and curated numerous design exhibitions all over Israel, and was a manager of program development and design management for the Tel Aviv Museum, Yad Vashem Museum, Eretz Israel Museum, Massuah Museum, National Tibetan Museum, Tower of David Museum, Museum of Islamic Art and various other projects of site conservation. She is on the board of the Advanced Design Forum of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and of the Israeli Institute of Packaging and Design Manufacturers Association. Gaon received a Master’s degree from the University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, and a B.Des from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem.
Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Initiatives, Parsons The New School for Design, New York
Jamer Hunt is the director of the new Transdisciplinary Design graduate program at Parsons the New School for Design, which will be starting in Fall 2010. His practice, Big + Tall Design, combines conceptual, collaborative and communication design, and he is co-founder of DesignPhiladelphia an initiative to foreground the city as a laboratory for innovative design projects. Along with the Museum of Modern Art and Seed magazine, he co-hosted and collaborated on the symposia Headspace: On Scent as Design in 2010 and MIND08 (run in coordination with the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition at MoMA) in 2008. His written work engages with the poetics and politics of the built environment and has been published in various books, journals, and magazines, including I.D. magazine, which published his Manifesto for Postindustrial Design in 2005.
Curator, INDEX:Awards, Copenhagen
Niels Jarler worked as an independent curator of contemporary art before joining INDEX: in 2006. Now he capitalizes on his skills as curator of the organization’s acclaimed biennial, the INDEX:Award Exhibition. Operating in Denmark, one of his main tasks is to teach the nation, which invented Danish Modern, that there is much more to design than meets the eye. At the moment Niels Jarler is planning the first permanent installation of INDEX:’s collection, which will be opened to the public later this year.
Editor, Winterhouse Institute, New York
Julie Lasky is the editor of Change Observer, a web site that focuses on design for social innovation and is a channel of Design Observer. Prior to that position, she was editor-in-chief of I.D., the award-winning magazine of international design, and of Interiors magazine, which she led to several national honors. She was also managing editor of Print magazine. Lasky is a widely published writer and critic, and the author of two books on design, including Some People Can’t Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry. She recently joined the MFA design criticism faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
Director, Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art, London
Jeremy Myerson is a writer, academic and activist in design. He holds the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, London, where he is director of the college’s Helen Hamlyn Centre, addressing design and social change. A former journalist and editor on such titles as Design, Creative Review, V&A Magazine and World Architecture, he founded Design Week in 1986. He is the author of many books on aspects of design and society, and has curated exhibitions at the Design Museum and V&A. He holds arts degrees from Hull University and the RCA.
Curator, Design Museum, London
Alex Newson graduated in architectural studies from the University of Nottingham in 2001 and went on to work with the curatorial departments at The National Trust, The Ashmolean Museum and Sir John Soane’s Museum. After earning a masters in museum studies at University College London, he become the curator of British Telecom’s Heritage department, expanding a significant telecommunications collection and helping develop permanent galleries in numerous museums across the UK. In 2009, Newson took up the position of curator at the Design Museum, where he works on original and touring exhibitions, educational events and collections development.
Independent Designer and Educator, India
Jogi Panghaal graduated in industrial design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India, in 1978. With this design education, he chose to work with India’s sprawling and exciting rural sector on issues of livelihood, income generation, education, health and social change. He has now researched, taught and practiced in this sector for over 30 years, across India. His work spans the disciplines of product design, communication design and new media. His long and ongoing explorations of local food cultures has yielded rich insights into connections that exist between body, food, craft identity and design and how these affect the birth of new processes, skills, materials, ideas and indeed cultures.
Kiran Bir Sethi
Founder, Riverside School and Design for Change, Ahmedabad
Kiran Bir Sethi’s early training as a designer is clear in her work as an educator — she looks beyond what exists, to ask, “Could we do this a better way?” In 2001, she founded the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, designing the primary school’s curriculum (and its building) from the ground up. Based around six “Beacons of Learning,” the school’s lesson plan focuses on creating curious, competent future citizens. The school now enrolls almost 300 children and has franchised its curriculum widely. Sethi’s latest project, inspired by dialogue with the children of Riverside, is called AProCh — which stands for “A Protagonist in every Child.” Fighting the stereotype of modern kids as rude and delinquent, AProCh looks for ways to engage Ahmedabad’s children in modern city life, and to revamp our cities to make room for kids to learn, both actively and by example.
Cynthia E. Smith
Curator Socially Responsible Design, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York
Cynthia E. Smith serves as Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s curator of socially responsible design. Trained as an industrial designer, she led multi-disciplinary design and planning teams for cultural institution projects for more than a decade; after earning a graduate degree at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, she joined Cooper-Hewitt, where she integrates her work experience with her advocacy on human rights and social justice issues. Smith co-authored The Politics of Genocide: U.S. Rhetoric vs. Inaction in Darfur for the Kennedy School Review. She is co-curator of the 2010 Design Triennial: “Why Design Now?,” curated “Design for the Other 90%” and is researching the next exhibition in that series.
Founder, Doors of Perception, Netherlands and France
John Thackara is a symposiarch who designs events, projects, and organizations. He is also the director of Doors of Perception (Doors), a design futures network with offices in Amsterdam and Bangalore. Founded as a conference in 1993, Doors now connects together a worldwide network of visionary designers, thinkers, and grassroots innovators. Thackara was on the team that set up Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, in Italy. A former journalist and publisher, he was the first director (1993–1999) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He is currently a member of the Virtual Platform, a club of research institutes that advises the Dutch government. Thackara studied philosophy and journalism in England before working in book publishing in New York. He edited Design magazine for five years, was later modern culture editor of Harpers & Queen and was design correspondent of The Guardian. A prolific writer, he is the author of Design After Modernism: Beyond the Object (1987), Lost in Space: A Traveller’s Tale (1995) and In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (2005).
Rector, Royal College of Art, London
Paul Thompson is rector of the Royal College of Art in London, former director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York (2001–2009) and director of the Design Museum London (1993–2001). At Cooper-Hewitt, he created the first museum curatorship in the world specializing exclusively in socially responsible design. At the Design Museum London, he initiated the “Green Sense” international competition for sustainable design and takes a particular interest in sustainable design and urbanism, particularly focused on the developing world. He is a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Els Van der Plas
Director, Prince Claus Fund for Culture & Development, Amsterdam
Since 1997, Els Van der Plas has been director of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in Amsterdam. Prior to that she was founder and director of the Gate Foundation in Amsterdam, an international organization stimulating intercultural exchange in the field of contemporary art. She has worked with important museums worldwide, including London’s Hayward Gallery, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, Paris’s Centre Pompidou, and the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf. Until recently, she was a member of the Stedelijk Museum’s board. A visiting scholar at Cornell University since 2008, Van der Plas is researching beauty in complex circumstances, a topic on which she has written and lectured widely.
Design Consultant, Curator and Writer, London
Jane Withers is a design consultant, curator and writer based in London. She has written several books on design and architecture and regularly teaches and speaks on design internationally. As a curator, she has worked on exhibitions including the retrospective of Jean Nouvel at London’s ICA and “1% Water” on shaping a sustainable future at Z33 in 2008 and Somerset House in 2011. “In Praise of Shadows,” on lighting and energy, was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Fall 2009 for the London Design Festival. Born in London, Jane graduated in art history at the Courtauld Institute and has an MA in design history from the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum. She was deputy editor of Elle Decoration from its launch in 1989 until 1999, helping shape a magazine that was influential in bringing modern design to a wide audience in the UK. She is contributing design editor for Wallpaper magazine.