Richard Van der Laken is a creative director based in Amsterdam. He met Pepijn Zurburg while studying at the Utrecht School of Art and Sandburg institute, and together they formed De Designpolitie - a renowned visual design agency, graphic design collective Gorilla, and What Design Can Do. Since forming, they’ve worked with many partners from Rabobank to Artis Zoo, won numerous awards, and feature in the permanent collection of galleries such as the Design Museum London and MoMa New York. At WDCD, they’ve created multiple design challenges, publications, and events hosted across Amsterdam, Brazil and Mexico. If Richard’s not in the office, he’s probably halfway across the world, preaching the What Design Can Do story at conferences like TED, The Next Web or Design Indaba.
Pepijn Zurburg is a designer and art director. During his studies at the Utrecht School of the Arts and Sandberg Institute, Pepijn met Richard van der Laken. Together, they founded renowned visual design agency De Designpolitie, graphic design collective Gorilla, and What Design Can Do. Their work has won numerous awards, and features in the permanent collection of galleries such as Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and MoMa New York. Working with partners and clients from KPN to Frascati Theatre, and many more. Pepijn is responsible for leadership and strategy, branding, and visual communication for everything What Design Can Do. A true all round designer with a strong hands-on approach. Pepijn is married (to another graphic designer!), and together they have two children.
Kenneth is our Global Development & Partnership Director and always on the lookout for opportunities to grow the work of WDCD around the world. She studied Journalism in Utrecht and worked as a news producer in Indonesia for several years. After returning to Amsterdam she moved to the international development cooperation sector, specialising in institutional fundraising, strategic planning and program development. She worked for international NGOs with programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia focusing on a variety of sectors such as media/press freedom, health, sustainability reporting, education, agriculture and emergency response. Always in for a good discussion on how to sort out the world and a big believer of collecting memories not materials.
Lara Snatager develops the programmes for all events and challenges we put together at What Design Can Do. She studied theatre in Amsterdam, following which she became a producer for various cultural festivals and events – such as the Iranian Film Festival and Club Interbellum. Joining artists, journalists and activists alike, Lara’s search for ‘gesamtkunstwerken’ never ends, if not for a good cheesy joke or impromptu sing-along at the end of the day.
Dagan Cohen is the head of R&D. He is involved in all research, impact measurement and development programs. During his long-term involvement with WDCD Dagan has spearheaded challenge programs. Dagan’s passion in participative culture has proved invaluable to their success. After graduating from Rietveld Academy, Dagan worked as a visual artist, entrepreneur, and has built 15 years experience working as (digital) creative director at agencies from Saatchi & Saatchi to Draftfcb. In addition to his work for WDCD, Dagan is a creative director at Social INC. As well as a keen eye in the creative sector, Dagan’s graphic t-shirt collection is definitely one to be envied.
Rosa Kieft is a cultural programmer, researcher and project manager working in our programme team here at What Design Can Do. She studied art history and visual cultures at the University of Amsterdam and Goldsmiths in London, and has a special interest in the field of arts and science. Previously, she programmed Mediamatic’s public events around art, design and living organisms. Rosa’s new boat Helmut has kept her busy this summer, with the list of tour requests growing each day!
Daphne Schmidt is our marketing & communications manager. She studied marketing in Amsterdam and has been trying to use these skills for a greater good ever since - she’s passionate about sharing the stories, people and projects that make the world a better place.
Previous work includes organisations like the North Sea Foundation and online platform Nudge, where focus on sustainability and societal issues are key. During the weekends, she escapes the city in her campervan for some good ol’ peace and quiet. On a quest to bake a perfect loaf of sourdough bread (tips welcome).
Alison Pasquariello is our communications manager. Coming from New Jersey, she studied philosophy and mathematics in Boston. In 2015, she moved to Amsterdam to study logic, and hasn’t left since. In addition to What Design Can Do, Alison is very grateful to have worked with meaningful cultural/social projects such as Fossil Free Culture, Verbier Art Summit, and National Network of Abortion Funds. She’s passionate about building community around environmental and social justice using a decolonial approach. After working hours, Alison is usually inventing new cooking recipes or slaying dragons in video games.
Originally from Greece, Valia moved to Amsterdam to complete an MA in Theatre Studies. She has been working as a project manager and trainer in European funded projects and is a member of the Youth Peace Ambassadors Network. Valia has further studies in economics and politics of the Balkan region. Her interests focus on learning techniques, personal development, sustainability and the way people experience live events. In Valia's spare time, she is learning Dutch or brunching with her friends.
Maartje van Dehn is the Office Manager at What Design Can Do. She uses her organisational skills to make everything in the studio run as smoothly as possible and sticks her nose in everybody’s business to find out where she can be of assistance.
In the past she has successfully managed the offices of international architecture firm UNStudio and campaign agency BKB. Maartje is still shaking desert sand out of her belongings, after returning from three years in Dubai and is wholeheartedly getting reacquainted with Amsterdam.
Marieke den Ouden is our designer from Rotterdam. During her studies in graphic and social design at the Willem de Kooning Academy, she looked at the relationship between the Netherland’s clothing industry, consumerism, and graphic design. Photography is an important aspect in her work, and wherever she goes - the camera goes too. Can’t find Marieke on land? Probably because she’s sailing across the ocean on a pirate ship, teaching youngsters about sustainability and telling everyone she was a vegetarian before it was cool.
Theresa Ahammer is a design intern at What Design Can Do. She just graduated from her graphic design and photography studies at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria, last September and is now spending her Erasmus+ for graduates scholarship in Amsterdam with our design team. Having moved to Amsterdam only earlier this year, you can probably catch her exploring the city or getting lost in one of the many museums on her days off.
Designer born in João Pessoa, Manaira moved to São Paulo in 2002, where she lives until today. In 2010 she funded the design and cultural production studio Mandacaru with her sister Bebel. Together they have organized exhibitions, seminars and multiple projects in graphic design. In the last years, she has been working as creative director, scenographer and producer in many projects for private companies and public institutions.
Graduated in Cultural Production at the Federal University of Bahia, she has more than 15 years of experience in the area. She moved to São Paulo in 2010 and since then she works at Mandacaru in the production of projects, visual arts exhibitions, conferences and training activities.
Writer, digital expert, journalist, traveler, feminist and extremely curious person. Livia creates strategy and content for social profiles, newsletters, podcasts, and websites. Since 2006, she has worked for different publishers, agencies and cultural institutions, talking about varied subjects, from climate issues to classical music. Lívia is innovation-oriented, be it in writing, photography, mobile video and audio.
Ricardo Lozano is a designer, cultural manager and design and creative industries promoter. He understands design as an engine of change to improve the quality of life of society in general and help create better futures. He has worked in the academic field at Centro and the Universidad de la Comunicación and is a founding partner of Cítrico Gráfico and the Abierto Mexicano de Diseño.
Joanna Ruiz Galindo is a cultural manager passionate about design, Mexican heritage and the artisan process. She has worked for more than ten years in the promotion and commercialisation of independent design and has founded important initiatives such as Promotora Nacional DMX, La Lonja MX and the Abierto Mexicano de Diseño, among others.
Margriet Schreuders is director of the Student Services Centre at Maastricht University. In this capacity she is responsible for a wide variety of services that support students during their time at Maastricht University, like employability training, extracurricular services, psychological support, language courses and sport facilities. Margriet is also jury member of the international jury of the sustainability competition Postcode Lotteries’ Green Challenge since 2019. Before that she was chairperson of the preliminary jury of the same competition. Previously she was, among other things, head of the charity department and member of the management team at the Dutch Charity Lotteries (Dutch Postcode Lottery, FriendsLottery). She was also member of the Executive Committee of the global fund Education Cannot Wait, which promotes education in emergencies and member of the Advisory Council of The Elders, the independent group of world leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights.
In 1992, Jeroen van Erp was one of the founders of design agency Fabrique. Under Jeroen's joint leadership, over the years Fabrique has grown into a multifaceted design agency with international clients like the Design Museum in London and The Ocean Cleanup. Jeroen is currently a partner in Fabrique and innovation strategist. He is the chair of the Dutch Creative Council and in November 2015 he was appointed Professor of Concept Design at Delft University of Technology.
Intellectual property law is the area of law that protects creativity. As a lawyer, Ruby has pledged her heart to this right for more than 33 years. Working for organisations and people who make and market innovative products drives Ruby in her work. She has developed a unique specialisation in the furniture and interior industry. But not only companies from those sectors know where to find her. Ruby’s clientele consists of a wide variety of (international) organisations that are active in various other sectors, from architecture to ICT, from pleasure craft to household appliances, media and art. Ruby also advises on privacy law. Ruby is proud that many of my clients are at the top of their field. Her clients can always count on her to think along and come up with the best solution for a problem. And when necessary, she fights for their interests in court. Ruby likes to share her knowledge by writing articles in professional journals, such as Interior Business and her contributions on LinkedIn.
Dina El Filali - Environmental Urban System Engineer, entrepreneur, facilitator and young writer/artist. During the day she works from her company ME-TREC (Metropolitan Training Research Engineering & Consultancy) for various clients to contribute to making our urban systems and regions more sustainable. Currently working for the Floriade as Program Manager International Demo & Research and for Region Foodvalley as process facilitator Werkplaats Hydrogen.In the evening, as an artist, she processes her insights into creative expressions, in spoken word. The common thread through all her work is unraveling complexity, facilitating transitions and empowering actors with knowledge, connection and insight so that we can work together towards resilient, circular and fair cities.
Anna Noyons (1984) is a social designer and the founder of ink social design. Anna has a study background at TU Delft and the Design Academy. She also studied art history and philosophy in Italy. In 2010 Anna started her own studio (Studio Anna Noyons) with clients such as: HEMA, Municipality of Amsterdam, Bever Sport and others. Between 2013-2017, Anna was Chief Product Officer at Peerby, an app that allows you to borrow stuff from people in your neighbourhood. At Peerby, Anna was part of the founding team. The app grew from 0 to more than 500,000 users in 4 years and raised 2 million euros from Venture Capital and 1.7 million euros with a crowdfunding campaign among the members of the platform (The app won several awards and even made it to the New York Times). In 2018, Anna founded ink studio, where she works with a permanent core team and a large flexible layer of creatives. Clients include Jeugdzorg Nederland, ABN Amro, Randstad, Peerby, 29k and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Anna has been a guest lecturer at TU Delft since 2011 (an annual master's course in design), she is a Start-up mentor at Start-up Bootcamp and Rockstart (since 2016) and joined the Supervisory Board of What Design Can Do in 2021.
Eliane is the head of development for Leiden University Fund, the foundation that raises money for research projects and student grants at Leiden University. She has a background in marketing and fundraising. She has led fundraising campaigns for different organisations in different fields: most recently for Amsterdam UMC and before that for the National Maritime Museum en Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Eliane started her career in advertising, having worked at Leo Burnett Chicago and TBWA Amsterdam.
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