John Thackara is a writer, advisor and event producer. He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam, later across India, and was commissioner of the UK social innovation biennial Dott 07 and the French design biennial City Eco Lab.
With a focus on social, ecological and relational design, John has curated place-based xskool workshops in 20 countries. He studied philosophy before working for ten years as a book publisher and magazine editor. He was the first Director (1993-99) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He is a senior fellow at the Royal College of Art and Visiting Professor at School of Visual Arts in New York and at Pontio Innovation in Wales. His most recent book ’How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today’ has just been published in China where, since 2019, he is a Visiting Professor at Tongji University with a focus on urban-rural reconnection. John travels the world looking for real-world but below-the-radar examples of what a sustainable future can be like. He writes about these stories online, and in books.
In his presentations John tells how AI can enable relationships that reconnect man and nature and help us accelerate the transition to ecological agriculture. He shows how AI can be a relocalisation engine, and also function as a convivial technology that enables diverse actors to work together on the many challenges, we all face. His talk is filled with compelling real-world stories.