It’s finally time to roll out the yellow carpet! This summer, What Design Can Do (WDCD) returns to Amsterdam for the long-awaited tenth edition of its annual festival. Creative optimists of all stripes are invited to gather for a day of fresh talks and workshops at the intersection of design, climate action and social justice. Together, we’ll explore how design can help us imagine a better future, and empower those who dare to build it. 

At the heart of this year’s edition is a main stage programme featuring creative thought-leaders who transform the world with their work. A parallel programme of interactive exhibitions and workshops will offer visitors the opportunity to dive deeper into design’s role in this critical decade. “The pandemic has brought into sharp relief the realisation that many of our ecological and social problems are deeply interconnected,” shares WDCD co-founder and creative director Richard van der Laken. “At WDCD Live Amsterdam 2022, we’re bringing together changemakers from diverse disciplines—from designers and diplomats, to activists and architects—to unravel the knot from every direction.”


Today we are thrilled to share the first few names in the line-up for WDCD Live Amsterdam 2022, which will take place at the beloved Internationaal Theatre Amsterdam. Among the movers & shakers joining us this year are:

Adebayo oke-lawal

fashion design (Nigeria)

Adebayo Oke-Lawal has been designing since the age of 10. In 2011, he started Orange Culture: a revolutionary label that celebrates cultural expression, challenges gender norms and advocates for a more sustainable fashion industry.

Marwa Al Sabouni


Dr. Marwa Al-Sabouni is an award-winning author and urban thinker who believes that architecture plays a role in maintaining a city’s peace. In 2016 she delivered a TED talk, How Syria’s architecture laid the foundation for a brutal war, that has been viewed over one million times.

julia watson


Designer, activist, and academic, Julia Watson is a leading expert on indigenous technologies. Her best-selling book, Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism, explores millennia-old human ingenuity on how to live in symbiosis with nature.


Graphic DESIGN (UK)

Eddie Opara is a multi-faceted designer who has done it all. Currently a partner at the award-winning Pentagram’s New York office, he sees design as a ‘spiritual practice’ through which we can determine what kind of society we want to live in, and the values we want to live by.

Zoe Mendelson & María Conejo


Journalist Zoe Mendelson and visual artist María Conejo are the creators of Pussypedia, a thorough, empowering, and beautifully-illustrated guide to women’s health, which aims to address the lack of inclusive, accessible information about our bodies.

Bruce Mau


Best known for his bold approach to architecture, art, eco-environmental design and conceptual philosophy, today Mau leads The Massive Change Network, an ambitious cross-disciplinary project committed to rethinking the ways in which designers can ‘do good’.

Josh Fox


Josh Fox is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning director best known for Gasland, a 2010 documentary exposing the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’. In the years since, Josh has become internationally recognised as a spokesperson and leader on the issue of clean energy.

Amber jae slooten


Amber Jae Slooten is the co-founder and creative director of The Fabricant, a futuristic fashion house that creates clothing that is strictly digital. Her genre-bending work questions the way in which we will curate our identities in the future, using cutting-edge technologies to create 3D narratives of endless possibility.


Interested in joining the festivities? Tickets are available online here. Seating is on a first-come first-serve basis, so be sure to save your seat soon!

Keep an eye on our event website for more details about this year’s offering of speakers and sessions, which we’ll continue to expand over the next few weeks. As we near the date of the festival, we’ll also be updating our health and safety policies to follow the latest recommended Covid-19 guidelines. For anyone unable to join us live, parts of the event programme will also be available to watch online.

To stay in the know—and to catch any previews in the run-up to the event—consider subscribing to our newsletter or following What Design Can Do on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.


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