John Thackara Profile

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. His full cv is here.

John is the author of a widely-read blog (you’re reading it now) and of How To Thrive In The Next Economy which has been published in China. 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).

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 social, ecological and relational design, Thackara has curated place-based xskool workshops in 20 countries and has lectured in more than forty.

A Brit who now lives in Occitanie, 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 product and consulting company, Design Analysis (DAI), together with Tadanaori Nagasawa and Peter Dormer. With offices in London and Tokyo, DAI 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. He was the first director (1993—99) of the Netherlands Design Institute.

Currently, John Thackara is visiting professor at Tongji University with a focus on urban-rural reconnection; a senior fellow at the Royal College of Art; a Fellow of Musashino Art University in Japan; and visiting professor at Milan Polytechnic University.

His full cv is here.

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