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July 01, 2011

My Harry Potter Moment [Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art, 1 July 2011]


[Photograph: (Back row Left to Right); Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery; Bernard Tschumi, Architect; Dr Paul Thompson, Rector, Royal College of Art; Rineke Dijkstra, Photographer; Jan van Toorn, Graphic Designer; (Front row L to R) John Thackara, Design Writer and Critic; Dr Junichi Arai, Textile Designer; Sheilagh Brown, Fashion Designer].

Oration given by the Public Orator, Professor Jeremy Myerson, Royal Albert Hall, London, Friday 1 July 2011


"If your definition of 'sustainable' is something that keeps its value and never becomes obsolete... then the writer John Thackara - one of our most eloquent advocates for going green - fits the bill perfectly...

"Over a long lifecycle, John's books, blogs, articles and lectures have never been consigned to landfill

"That's because his ideas endure. He's never been afraid to prick pretension and burst design's bubble. His latest book, 'In the Bubble', is as sharp as they come.

"John Thackara is best known for founding Doors of Perception, with partner Kristi van Riet - a remarkable festival of sustainable innovation that alternates between Europe and India

"But doors have been opening for this great persuader throughout his career.

"He edited architecture books in Australia, and Design Magazine in the UK, before becoming our own Director of Research in the late 1980s.

"Running the Netherlands Design Institute in the 1990s, he was the first design expert really to explain how digital media might help offset our wasteful industrial model.

"John will probably be calculating the carbon footprint of this event even as he stands before us now, but he's no hair shirt - simply a humanist who wants us to live lighter on the land

"So Provost, let's open our own door of perception and admit the evergreen John Thackara to the Senior Fellowship of the College"

All I would add is that it was a truly delightful day and I am very proud about the whole thing.


Posted by Kristi at July 1, 2011 05:03 PM