Profile

To do things differently, we need to see things differently – and that applies to sustainability above all.

Profile – short
John Thackara

(Photograph: Uros Abram)

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 focus on social, ecological and relational design, Thackara 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.

His full cv is here.

Scroll down for summaries in French, Dutch, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and French
 – and here’s an interview in German.

John Thackara is a writer, advisor and event producer. For more than thirty years he has traveled the world in a search of stories about the practical steps taken by communities to realise a sustainable future. He writes about these stories online, and in books; he uses them in talks for cities, and business; he also organizes festivals and events that bring the subjects of  these stories together.

John 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 Dott07 and the French design biennial City Eco Lab. Since then, with a focus on focus on social, ecological and relational design, Thackara has curated place-based xskool workshops in 20 countries and has lectured in more than forty.

John is the author of a widely-read blog (you’re reading it now) and of How To Thrive In The Next Economy. His previous books (among twelve in total) were Wouldn’t It be Great If... and In the Bubble: Designing In A Complex World (MIT Press). He has lectured in more than forty countries.

(Above: John Thackara (left) with Andrea Paoletti of Casa Netural, 2018)

John is a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art, in London; a Fellow of Musashino Art University in Japan; visiting professor at School of Visual Art in New York; senior advisor on the new Masters in Relational Design at Pontio Innovation in Wales; and, since 2019, visiting professor at Tongji University College of Design & Innovation.

A Brit who now lives in south west France, John studied philosophy, and trained as a journalist, before working for ten years as a book and magazine editor. He was editor of Design magazine for five years, and was later Modern Culture Editor of Harpers & Queen, and design correspondent of The Guardian. He then started a conference and exhibition company, D.A.I. which, with offices in London and Tokyo, created and organised events at the Pompidou Centre, Victoria & Albert Museum, Axis Gallery in Tokyo, and other venues. From 1989-1992  John was Director of Research at the Royal College of Art.

Fast Company described John Thackara as “a business provocateur….”. For the Wall Street Journal, he “has established a global reputation as a cutting edge design expert”. Wired called him a “a design luminary”. The San Francisco Chronicle described him as a “wired era visionary”. The Economic Times of India noted his “brilliant insights into the internet and sustainability”. For the influential weblog Rhizome he is “top dog in the space of flows”.

FRANCAIS
En tant que philosophe, écrivain et créateur de l’événement, John Thackara a parcouru le monde pendant plus de trois décennies à la recherche d’ exemples vivants de ce qu’est un avenir durable peut être. Auteur-praticien de renomée internationale, Il a écris au sujet de ces histoires en ligne et dans les livres. Il utilise ces histoires dans les conférences et ateliers pour les villes et les entreprises. Et, en tant que directeur des Doors of Perception, il organise des biennales, festivals et workshops dans lesquels les chefs de projet partagent des expériences – uns avec les autres, avec les décideurs , et avec le grand public. En 2008, il était responsable du projet City Eco Lab à St Etienne, tenu à la Cité du Design. » En 2011, il crée Doors of Perception Xskools, qu’il a organisé dans 22 pays. En 2019, il est commissaire du European Social Food Forum, et professeur invité à l’Université Tongji de Shanghai, spécialisé dans les aspects de la conception d’une civilisation écologique. Son livre Comment Prospérer dans la Prochaine économie vient de paraître en Chine. (voir Redécouvrir notre côté sauvage
:)

DUTCH
JOHN THACKARA is publicist, designer, filosoof- maar vooral iemand die beweging brengt. Als geen ander is hij in staat om woorden te geven en patronen te duiden: hoe kleine acties leiden tot grote systeemveranderingen. Zijn motto is ‘to do things differently, we need to see things differently’- en daarin kent hij het ontwerpen een belangrijke rol toe. In september 2015 is zijn nieuwste boek verschenen “How to Thrive in the Next Economy: designing tomorrow’s world today”.

CHINESE
John Thackara是一位哲學家,作家和活動統籌,積極尋找可持續發展的未來的實例,並於網誌Doors of Perception發表所見所聞,並為企業和政府提出建議。他的最新著作“How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today”,介紹世界各地的社區如何由土地開始建設更好的經濟體系。每一章節是關於以創意解決永恆的需求:恢復土地、分享水源、建設家園、遊歷、種植糧食、設計服裝,和照顧不同的需求者。整本書著重以小行動來改變大局,而項目大多與社會和生態系統有關。此全新的經濟體系中,成長是指越見健康的土壤、生物多樣性,和水源,及適應能力更強的社會。它的核心價值正是取代腐爛和提取,取而代之為健康與適當管理。

ITALIANO
John Thackara ha una formazione da filosofo e dieci anni di esperienza da giornalista. Inglese, vive da anni nel sud della Francia e si definisce un narratore di professione. In pratica viaggia per il mondo per raccogliere testimonianze sul modo in cui le persone si stanno organizzando, dal basso, per costruire un futuro ecosostenibile. Da trent’anni osserva la nascita di network e comunità in tutto il mondo, portandone testimonianza nei suoi libri, al Royal College of Art di Londra, alla Musashino Art University a Tokyo e sul suo blog, che è diventato un punto di riferimento per il tema dell’ecosostenibilità. La ricerca di Thackara parte da una constatazione: il bisogno di energia e risorse naturali per l’uomo è aumentato moltissimo lungo l’arco della sua evoluzione.
 https://www.spindox.it/it/blog/john-thackara-consumi-bioregioni

ESPAGNOL

Business Week dice que “una de las grandes voces de la sostenibilidad y que trabajando en la intersección entre los negocios, la tecnología, la sustentabilidad y el diseño, mira en lo cotidiano para encontrar oportunidades de diseño”. John Thackara es escritor, orador, crítico de diseño y productor de eventos. Autor del libro: “In the bubble: designing in a complex world” (En la burbuja: Diseñar en un mundo complejo)- MIT Press, y de otros trece libros. Escribe un Blog muy leído en todo el mundo Doors of Perception, sobre el diseño de una economía restaurativa. Como fundador y director de ese espacio, John Thackara organiza festivales en todo el mundo, en una escala de ciudad-región, donde las comunidades pueden imaginar un futuro sostenible y tomar medidas prácticas para llevarlas a cabo. Thackara estudió filosofía, se formó como periodista, trabajó como conductor de autobús de Londres, y más tarde fue editor y editor de una revista en Londres y Sydney. Fue director de investigación en el Royal College of Art de Londres, y luego de 1993-2000 fue Director del Instituto Holandés de Diseño en Amsterdam. Thackara produjo siete Conferencias Doors en Amsterdam, y luego otras en la India. En 2007, fue director del programa de los Designs of the Time (Dott), la innovación social en Inglaterra. En 2008 fue comisionado en Cité du Design, la principal Bienal de diseño de Francia. Miembro Asociado de la Young Foundation en Londres; miembro del Consejo de Asesores de la Pixelache Festival de Helsinki y la Fundación Pecha Kucha en Tokio. Miembro de la Comisión Permanente del Parlamento del Reino Unido para el diseño. Colaborador del portal Design Observer. John Thackara vive en Francia.

John Thackara: las prácticas sociales son un regalo para la economía