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John Thackara Newsletter October 2019

Winter Residencies

Could you use some quiet and private time to focus and reflect? Maybe with some exclusive support from me? We’re hosting Residencies this winter in our old house in the south of France.

Meetups in 2020

Our three meetups here in Ganges (France) this summer went so well (as you can see from our Guestbook and my new Instagram: @john.a.thackara) that we’ve scheduled four more for next year. If you are a designer, project curator, grad student, researcher, or writer; if you’re working on a plan, project, thesis or book; could use some time out; and feedback from me: well, consider coming next year. For next year’s dates, and to read more about our meetups – including the application process – go here: thackara.com/meetup

Rewilding AI

The latest waypoint in my China work, in association with Tongji University, is a keynote I’m doing in Shanghai on 14 October about “Rewilding AI”. I’ll argue that although, yes, there are many reasons to push back against the potential uses of AI, the technology also has positive potential uses. For example, AI can enable ways of knowing, and relationships, that reconnect man and nature. It can be an infrastructure for ecosystem repair and monitoring. I’ll look at ways AI can position AgTech at the service of agroecology – with a special focus on farmer-city relationships. Finally, I’ll propose that AI can be the back-end of governance regimes in social-ecological systems.

Emerging Practices (EPC2019)
Theme: The Beauty of Uncertainty in the Age of AI.
Monday 14 October.
Dock, No.468 Yangshupu Rd, Shanghai.

Back to the Land Reader

I’m proud of the latest Reader we made for the annual summer school I do in Sweden, together with Konstfack, whose its theme is Back To The Land 2.0. The first three entries are Annie Proulx on Barkskins, Simone Weil on The Need for Roots, and Pamela Mang on Storying of Place.

Social Food Atlas

The Social Food Atlas, which we launched in April together with Casa Netural and #Matera2019 in Italy, has grown to 128 listings – from Austria to Ukraine. New projects include Community Kitchen Hub on Dartmoor, England; City Farm Augarten in Vienna, Austria; Pop-up-kitchen at Dottenfelderhof in Frankfurt, Germany; Eat Local movement in Romania; Urban Space 500 in Ukraine; The Cyprus Food and Nutrition Virtual Museum in Cyprus; the SAHA! Women’s Food Truck in Malta. mammamiaaa.it/en/atlas-archive/

Pathways to Sustainability, Barcelona

Museu del Disseny de Barcelona is staging an exhibition and events programme on the legacy of Victor Papanek. My talk on 10 December will explore how design for sustainability has evolved since Papanek’s pioneering work.


John Thackara: Urban-rural reconnector. Bioregional designer. Writer/Speaker. Meetup host.

New at Instagram: instagram.com/john.a.thackara

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