Experts gathered to help address climate & biodiversity emergency

(London, 9 December 2021) Design Council has announced a new programme today. The Design for Planet Fellowship, made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, brings together nine experts from different disciplines who are working at the cutting edge of sustainability and regenerative design. Each Fellow has been selected for their track record in making multi-disciplinary, cross-sector and community connections, spotting emerging opportunities to catalyse change.

The Design for Planet Fellows are:

  • Dr Tayo Adebowale, Director, Cirkadia.
  • Araceli Camargo, Lab Director and Co-Founder, Centric Lab.
  • Professor Carole Collet, Co-Director, Living Systems Lab, Central Saint Martins, UAL.
  • Sarah Drinkwater, Angel Investor and Advisor.
  • Finn Harries, Co-Founder and Chief Designer, Earthrise Studio.
  • Nat Hunter, Director, Other Today.
  • Torange Khonsari, Director, public works and course lead Design for Cultural Commons London Metropolitan University.
  • John Thackara, Writer, Curator and Visiting Professor at Tongji University.
  • Josie Warden, Head of Regenerative Design, RSA.

The Fellows will spend seven months prototyping new ways of working, building knowledge and creating recommendations to inform climate & biodiversity action, and shining a light on the important role design plays in connecting people together from across disciplines and communities. Themes including designing adaptive and resilient places, conserving and restoring natural resources and systems, and making it easy and attractive to live regeneratively will be explored

Design Council, the UK's national strategic advisors for design, will publish monthly findings and recommendations from monthly sessions with the Fellows. A report will be released in September 2022. It will weave together insights from the workshops and provide practical guidance and references for those working in climate action and design in the UK.

The Design for Planet Fellowship is part of Design Council’s ambitious new approach to galvanise and support the UK’s 1.69 million-strong design community to address the climate crisis. The Fellowship programme is funded by The National Lottery Community Trust, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, and supported by the RSA.

Bernard Hay, Programme Lead for Design at Design Council said: “A wealth of designers are already creating new technologies, partnerships and ways of working with communities to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency. However, a lot of climate action still tends to happen in silos. We want to break down these barriers through the Design for Planet Fellowship and celebrate the role design can play in bridging disciplines and sectors to create new opportunities for change.”

He continues, “At Design Council, we welcome the Fellows, each of whom are bridge builders and ‘knowledge weavers’. Through their work, we can encourage people to move more quickly, bravely and ambitiously than if they were working alone. The climate and biodiversity emergency means we need to act with urgency. Learning from each other is a crucial way to start doing that.”

Design for Planet Fellows

Dr Tayo Adebowale

Tayo is a sustainability strategist. She started her consultancy Cirkadia, in 2003, which focuses on working towards a sustainable future. Her portfolio spans over 35 years, and includes: design, environmental science, strategy, policy and training. Tayo is a Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Water and Environmental Manager, Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management, and has a Doctorate in Water management. Tayo has served as a GB Forestry Commissioner, and a Non Executive Director of Countryside Agency, (now Natural England). Current roles include: Design Council: Ambassador, Expert, and High Street Task Force Expert; NW Regional Flood and Coastal Committee EA Sustainable Economics Lead; and NW Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee.

Araceli Camargo

Araceli is of Turtle Island descent and is a neuroscientist at Centric – a neuroscience lab focused on investigating the biological relationship between health and place. Centric is also committed to supporting communities leading health justice campaigns through various digital tools. The latest of these is Right To Know, which helps create awareness about the health effects of environmental pollution.

Professor Carole Collet

Carole is Director of Maison/0, the Central Saint Martins - LVMH platform for regenerative luxury set up in 2017. She is also co-director of the Living Systems Lab and explores how living systems thinking can inform new design knowledge. As an educator, she has pioneered the integration of ecological values in the creative curriculum at Central Saint Martins UAL by founding new courses such as MA Textile Futures in 2001 (now Material Futures), the world first MA Biodesign (2019) and recently launched the new online MA Regenerative Design (2022).

Sarah Drinkwater

Sarah is a community builder, entrepreneur and investor. Most recently, she built and led the responsible technology team at Omidyar Network, funding resources, tools, research, narratives and people working to design more societally beneficially tech futures. Before that, she was at Google building out physical community spaces for entrepreneurs, leading on the social layer on Google Maps, and advising startups on culture and community. Through Atomico’s angel program, she is an active angel investor in community-directed solutions.

Finn Harries

Finn is a British filmmaker and designer. He is the co-founder of Earthrise Studio, a digitial media company dedicated to communicating the climate crisis through research, design and filmmaking. He is currently studying at the University of Cambridge to complete an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design. His research focuses on regenerative design and ecology. Finn has given talks at both TEDx and the United Nations in New York on the urgency for action on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Nat Hunter

Nat has worked in the field of sustainable design for 15 years as a practitioner and educator. She is also a trained CTI and Organisational Relationship Systems Coach and combines these trainings with her own experience as an entrepreneur and as an employee. She is a systems thinker, and brings her design skills, business experience, and coaching practice together in order to create and support change. She is very interested in how regenerative culture and behaviour within organisations can positively impact people, society and the planet.  

Torange Khonsari

Torange is one of the original co-founders of the art and architecture practice public works. She has been a senior lecturer in architecture at London Metropolitan University since 2000 and is currently the course leader for post graduate programs and reserach on Design and Cultural Commons at London Metropolitan University. The direct two-way communication between academia and practice has enabled and enriched an exploratory environment within which public works is now operating. 

John Thackara

A writer and curator, John is developing a Design for Earth Repair agenda for Tongji University in Shanghai, where he is visiting professor. The project explores design's contribution to ecological restoration, biodiversity recovery, and urban-rural reconnection.

Josie Warden

Josie is Head of Regenerative Design at the RSA (Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) where she leads the regenerative futures programme. Originally trained as a designer, she is interested in how we might weave together making, participation, bioregionalism and new economic thinking to shape a better future.

For further information, contact:  

Maeve O’Sullivan, MOScomms, +44 7743 894 082, maeve@moscomms.com

Charlotte Clarke, MOScomms, +44 7545 421 853, charlotte@moscomms.com

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