top of page

Key Speakers


Welby Ings

Auckland University of Technology

Professor Ings is an internationally renowned speaker and educational reformer, who sees productive disobedience as behaviour that pushes our thinking and action into new and unconsidered realms. In 2017, his best-selling book Disobedient Teaching became influential in the reconceptualisation of New Zealand education. He reviews for several national and international publications and funding agencies. He is also an internationally renowned film maker, designer and author.

Professor Ings has dedicated his academic career to researching and supporting practice-led inquiry that accommodates and extends ways of thinking, beyond the linear and ritualised. He believes that the Academy is enriched, not by tradition but by its ability to embrace diverse ways of researching, including the enablement of indigenous, artistic, professional and heuristic approaches to knowledge generation.


Terry Irwin

Terry Irwin is Director of the Transition Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and was the Head of School from 2009 to 2019. Terry has been teaching at the University level since 1986. Her research is in Transition Design, a new area of design study, practice and research that argues for societal transition toward more sustainable futures. Terry, along with Gideon Kossoff and Cameron Tonkinwise developed Transition Design and integrated it into programs and curricula at the School of Design in 2014.

Terry has been a practicing designer for more than 40 years and was one of the founding partners of MetaDesign, an international design firm with offices in Berlin, London, San Francisco and Zurich. She served as the Creative Director of the San Francisco office from 1992 to 2002 and worked with Fortune 500 clients such as Nike, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Barclay's Bank, Ernst and Young (EY), Nissan, Sony, and Berlin's Transport company, BVG. MetaDesign worked on projects in the areas of computer software and interface design, brand identity systems, exhibition and way finding and information design.

alfredo bw.jpg

Alfredo Gutierrez Borrero

Alfredo Gutierrez Borrero is associate Professor of the School of Product Design at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a PhD Candidate in Design and Creation, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia. Alfredo defended his doctoral thesis dissertation about Designs of the South, the Souths (in plural), others and with other names, abbreviated in English as Dessobons this November 4 and obtained the highest recognition by his juries.


He studies the design equivalents within polycardinal (better than non Western) thought traditions (Andean, Maori, Lakota) and the Autonomous design forms as leak points and alternatives to racist, capitalist and heteropatriarchal modernities. He is interested in declassification, decoloniality, designs of the souths, designs with other names and the intersection between archaeology and design fields.


Alfredo is also involved in the design for Pluriversal initiatives in Colombia, several Latin American countries, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Portugal and Spain. He has a master's degree in gender studies, and has been working in the Colombian and International academic milieu since 1998.

lesley-ann bw.jpg

Lesley-Ann Noel

North Carolina State University

Lesley-Ann Noel is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Design Studies at North Carolina State University. Her current work is situated at the intersection of equity, co-creation and futures thinking. Her research interests are emancipatory research centred around the perspectives of those who would traditionally be excluded from research, community-led research, design-based learning and design thinking. She practices primarily in the area of social innovation, education and public health. She promotes greater critical awareness among designers and design students by introducing critical theory concepts and vocabulary into the design studio e.g. through The Designer’s Critical Alphabet.


She is co-Chair of the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design Research Society. Before joining North Carolina State University, she was the Associate Director of Design Thinking for Social Impact at Tulane University. She was also a lecturer at Stanford University and the University of the West Indies.


Frederick van Amstel

Federal Technological University of Paraná

Dr. Frederick (Fred) van Amstel (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of Service Design and Experience Design at the Industrial Design Academic Department (DADIN), Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR), Brazil. His most recent research deals with the contradiction of oppression and the possibility of designing for liberation. Among the many projects he developed to explore this very possibility, Corais Platform stands out as the best example so far. Created in 2011, it hosts more than 700 collaborative projects run by social movements, indigenous communities, art collectives, and popular educators associated with the Brazilian digital culture movement. In 2020, Frederick co-founded the Design & Oppression network in Brazil and the Laboratory of Design against Oppression in UTFPR.

natalie bw.jpg

Natalie Robertson

Natalie Robertson (Ngāti Porou, Clann Dhònnchaidh) is a photographic and moving image artist and Senior Lecturer at AUT University, Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Much of Natalie’s research is based in Te Tai Rāwhiti, her East Coast Ngāti Porou homelands. Centring Waiapu—the ancestral river of Ngāti Porou—world-famous for its erosion, Natalie draws on historic archives and tribal oral customs to explore how her lens-based practice can contribute to tribal aspirations for environmental reinvigoration.


Robertson recently completed her doctoral thesis Tātara e maru ana: Renewing ancestral connections with the sacred rain cape of Waiapu Kōkā Hūhua through the University of Auckland.

bottom of page