Speakers – Border Sessions

André Spicer

André Spicer is Professor at Cass Business School, City University London and the co-author or co-editor of five books. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Financial Times, Times, Independent and CNN.

He will present his latest book Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement together with co-author Carl Cederström

Sessions with André Spicer

Andrew Bullen

Andrew Bullen has spent his working life moving between creative disciplines, cultures and societies: From working for the Brecht family in East Berlin, to university teaching in West Berlin, Sussex, Berlin, Amsterdam and Utrecht. He co-founded the pioneering Europe Online in Luxembourg, directed the Media Guild Creative Industries incubator in Amsterdam and the Futur en Seine Festival in Paris. He is founder of the Creative Cooperative, co-creator of the European Street Design Challenge (ESDC) and he has created and run citizen co-design and social entrepreneur workshops for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Georgia, Cairo and Alexandria.

Sessions with Andrew Bullen

Angela Richter

Angela Richter is a German author and theater director, currently living in Berlin. In 2006 she founded the Fleet Street theatre in Hamburg, which she ran until 2010, and was a director in residency at the Cologne National Theatre between 2013 and 2016. In recent years, Richter has worked with such digital activists as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden. In 2012 premiered her piece Assassinate Assange, which was shown in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Vienna. Since then, she not only visited regularly the WikiLeaks founder in London, but has engaged in panel discussions and various print media including Der Spiegel, Monopoly, Interview Magazine, Revue Magazine for the Next Society for internet activists and hacktivists.

In the season 2014/15, Richter has staged a large scale transmedia-project „Supernerds“ in co-production with german national TV WDR dealing with Massurveillance. The Text was based on Interviews with Digital Dissidents and Whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, whom she visited in his Exile in Moscow, as well as Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake and Jessely Radack and many more. She Published the Interviews in her book „Supernerds – Conversations with heroes“. „Supernerds“ has received the „Eyes & Ears“ Media Award, was nominated for the SXSW Innovation Award in Texas and is nominated for the BANFF Award in Canada. In 2017, Angela co-authored the book „Women, Whistleblowing, Wikileaks“ with Renata Avila and Sarah Harrison.

Sessions with Angela Richter

Brett Scott

Brett Scott is an economic explorer and financial hacker traversing the intersections between money systems, finance, digital technology and cities. He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money (2013), and collaborates with a wide range on groups on diverse topics, including banking systems, financial activism, digital finance, blockchain technology, hacker culture, technology politics and the dynamics of cashless society. He tweets as @suitpossum

Sessions with Brett Scott

Byron Rich

Byron Rich is an artist, professor and lecturer born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work exploring speculative design, biology futures and tactical media has been widely shown and spoken about internationally. He pursued a degree in New-Media at The University of Calgary before finding himself in Buffalo, New York where he obtained an MFA in Emerging Practices at The University at Buffalo. He now teaches Electronic Art & Intermedia at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Sessions with Byron Rich

Carl Cederström

Carl Cederström is Associate Professor at Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University and the co-author or co-editor of five books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic and Harvard Business Review

He will present his latest book Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement together with co-author André Spicer

Sessions with Carl Cederström

Dirk van der Ven

Dirk van der Ven joined World of Walas in 2011. He says “it was a revelation to discover that cities are not about buildings and infrastructure, but about people and their wellbeing”. In this way, he also came to know a few new teachers, including Umberto Eco, Jan Pen, Jan Tinbergen, Hernando de Soto and last but not least Jane Jacobs.

Dirk has experienced the complexity and difficulty of working on sustainable urban development. He has also come to the realization that the important things in life and ethics are not always the first priority. We stand at an epic crossroad, maybe the most important one ever in the existence of mankind. It is evident that we all need radical changes and a new course towards sustainable urban development:

“…sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector.” – Text from The New Urban Agenda

Through his work with Walas, Dirk also gets to work with the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto. This document combines the principles of the Earth Charter with the important tools for urban sustainability learned from Jane Jacobs and the principles of placemaking and fair business. And cities play a crucial role in the global wellbeing of both people and Earth.

Dirk himself is quite optimistic about the future and sees it as his calling to contribute to sincere and sustainable cities by collaborating with those close to him.

E. J. Swift

E. J. Swift is the author of the Osiris Project trilogy, a speculative fiction series set in a world radically altered by climate change. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Sunday Times EFG short story award and the British Science Fiction Award for short fiction, and has appeared in a variety of publications from Solaris, Salt Publishing, NewCon Press and Jurassic London. Her latest novel is Paris Adrift, a tale of bartenders and time travel in the City of Light.


Short Fiction

Twitter: @catamaroon

Sessions with E. J. Swift

Edward Keller

Edward Keller is the Director of the Center for Transformative Media [CTM] and Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design. He is a designer, writer, musician and multimedia artist. Ed is co-founder, with Carla Leitao, of AUM Studio / Spec.AE, an award winning architecture, new media and design research firm based between New York and Lisbon; their work encompasses residential architecture, urban competitions, and new media installations in Europe and the US. Keller has spoken on architecture, film, technology and ecology internationally; selected conferences he has convened include Design and Existential Risk; Post Planetary Capital; Signal Path; The Limits of Guitar; & Future of Mind.

Sessions with Edward Keller

Elvin Karana

Elvin Karana is Associate Professor of Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, where she founded and directs the Materials Experience Lab. Her research aims to understand and enhance the relationships people have with the materials of products. She has undertaken this topic with a holistic approach, capitalizing on not only the technical properties of materials, but also meanings, emotions and actions materials in products elicit. She coined the term “materials experience” to describe this holistic view. Over the last years she developed theories, tools and a method to make designing for materials experience actionable in practice. She is published in Design Issues, The Journal of Cleaner Production, Materials and Design Journal, International Journal of Design. More recently, she has published her work within the Human Computer Interaction field, in the ACM conferences Computer Human Interaction (CHI), and Design Interactive Systems (DIS). She is the main editor of “Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design”.

Emiliano Gandolfi

Emiliano Gandolfi is an urbanist and independent curator, co-founder of Cohabitation Strategies and Director of Community Networks for the Curry Stone Foundation. His focus has been on how architecture and art can become the agency of community political engagement. With Eric Cesal, he has been co-hosting the podcast Social Design Insights. 

Sessions with Emiliano Gandolfi

Gopika Prabhu

Gopika is the Founder & Creative Director at Elefint, a social impact design studio in San Francisco. Her work is centered around advancing civil liberties, financial opportunity, education and women’s equity. Gopika teaches at CCA and the University of San Francisco and often speaks on the topics of meditation and creativity.

Sessions with Gopika Prabhu

Holly Ritchie

An academic, consultant and social entrepreneur, Holly Ritchie is a keen socio-economic explorer in ‘fragile’, often war-torn, environments. With over 16 years of experience in international development, Holly has worked and lived in Afghanistan (10 years), East Africa, Brazil and the Middle East. Her award-winning PhD (ISS, Erasmus University) looked at the nuances of grassroots women’s enterprise and culture in Afghanistan, and was published in 2016 (Institutional Innovation and Change). Now based out of Kenya, she works with a wide range of international organizations, NGOs and government agencies. She is particularly interested in the role of women’s groups and entrepreneurs in processes of social change; and increasingly, their interaction with emerging technology in our evolving world. Currently she is setting up her own social enterprise in Kenya, THRIVE, Women Socio-preneurs for Change aimed at the capacity building of women aid workers and researchers, and (pro-bono) support to refugee women leaders.

Sessions with Holly Ritchie

Jeanne van Heeswijk

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. Her long-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to enable communities to take control of their own futures.

Sessions with Jeanne van Heeswijk

Jos Sluijsmans

Jos Sluijsmans is an independent cycling consultant, cycling advocate and promotor at Fietsdiensten.nl. He organizes the annual International Cargo Bike Festival and is an expert in cargo bikes. Jos is also a member of the European Cycle Logistics Federation. He is consortium member of the LEVV-LOGIC project and initiator of the Register of Initiatives of Pedal Powered Logistics in which more than 40 articles on cycle logistics are published. For the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Jos has done cycling tours on infrastructure, presentations and cooperated in several international Bike Exhibitions and Bike Festivals.

Leila Janah

Leila Janah is the Founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, two companies that go beyond charity to #givework to low-income people around the world using cutting-edge social enterprise models in technology and luxury skincare, respectively. She is the author of the book Give Work(Penguin/RandomHouse), which was released in September 2017.

Prior, Leila was a Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Program on Global Justice and Australian National University’s Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. She was a founding Director of Incentives for Global Health, and a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners (now Booz & Co.).

Leila is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Director of CARE USA, a 2012 TechFellow, recipient of the inaugural Club de Madrid Young Leadership Award, and the youngest person to win a Heinz Award in 2014. She was named one of Fortune’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs in 2014 and was the subject of cover stories in Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Conscious Company Magazines.

She received a BA from Harvard and lives in San Francisco.

Lorenzo Romito

Lorenzo Romito is a founding member of Stalker, a laboratory of urban art and research, that focuses on the relations between art, architecture, social history, and environmental studies. Over the past two decades Romito’s work has been crucial in terms of investigating the boundaries between our urban environments and citizen’s social engagement.  

Sessions with Lorenzo Romito

Melle Smets

Melle Smets is an artist, researcher and curator with a career of more than fifteen years. He has directed numerous creative collectives across Europe, South America and Africa that have produced a large body of work focused primarily on social interaction with public space. Using existing social structures and local customs as a starting point, Smets presents an alternative vision on our habitat. More than a physical space, he understands our habitat as a mental space.

Melle Smets studied OK5/ Art and Public Space at ArtEz Academy in Arnhem. After his study Smets became the co-founder of art collective G.A.N.G. As cultural project developers they operated through interventions in public space, and the travel agency P-reizen (P-travel). P-reizen organized expeditions to the parallel world of highways, airports and ports.

In 2005 Smets established his independent practice in Rotterdam and in 2008 set up the Aardschap foundation. Aardschap is a collective of action researchers that uses methods from art and academics to develop communities-of-practice for challenging places, and pieces together what makes them function. Smets has been a guest lecturer at different universities in the Netherlands and during the period 2014-2016 he was the Director of the temporary Master ‘System D Academy’ at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Nicolaj Højer Nielsen

Nicolaj Højer Nielsen is a serial entrepreneur and business angel who has been building startups since 1999. He focuses on high potential start-ups, and has co-founded and invested in thirteen companies, primarily within IT. He has experience of securing funding from all possible sources – friends and family, business angels, VC funds, and public funds. His experience is based on reviewing thousands of different investment opportunities and he knows the fundraising process from both sides of the table.

His latest venture is Copenhagen United, an investment fund focusing on providing capital and mentoring for early-stage software companies.
Nicolaj dedicates a significant part of his time to help other startups. He lectures on entrepreneurship at Copenhagen Business School, and coaches and mentors entrepreneurs. Nicolaj also holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Reinhardt Smit

Reinhardt grew up in South Africa and Ghana. After finishing his IT studies and Hotelschool in The Netherlands, he started his own company to improve communication and workflows of organisations and projects. During his work he came across the world of electronic waste and recycling. At Closing the Loop he focuses on strengthening the existing networks and helping the organisation grow through his experience and knowledge from Africa.

Renata Avila

Renata Avila, Guatemalan, is an international lawyer and digital rights advocate. Specializing in Intellectual Property and Technology, her work addresses the crucial intersection between human rights, information, technological change and the power disparities between the Global North and South. As a lawyer in Guatemala, Avila has represented indigenous victims of genocide and other human rights abuses, including the prominent indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum.

As part of her longstanding advocacy work in the field of Internet and Human Rights, she leads with World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners – Lee a global campaign to uphold human rights in the digital age in more than seventy-five countries. Avila sits on the Board of Creative Commons – and is an advisory board member of Diem25, exploring the potential of decentralised technologies in Europe. She is currently based in Belgrade and Guatemala, and is writing a book about Digital Colonialism and advises the Web Foundation on their new Digital Equality strategies. She also represents Civil Society at the OECD’s Committee on the Digital Economy Policy.

Sessions with Renata Avila

Ruben Baart

Ruben Baart is a writer and designer based in Amsterdam. His work explores alternative futures with technology through speculative design and hybrid media. Ruben holds a Master’s degree in visual strategy and currently works as the editor-in-chief at Next Nature Network. This international network stimulates debate around the impact of technology on the relation between people, nature and technology through multidisciplinary projects, publications and events. Among other projects, Ruben is editor of the NNANO Supermarket book, which will be published later this year.

Sessions with Ruben Baart

Sarah Harrison

Sarah Harrison is a British journalist who was WikiLeaks’ Investigations Editor for several years after joining for its groundbreaking 2010 publications. In 2013, Harrison helped Edward Snowden safely escape to Moscow, and in 2015 she was awarded the Willy Brandt Prize for political courage. In 2014 Harrison co-founded Courage, an international organisation that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record, where she worked for several years before moving to its Advisory Board in 2018.

Sarah Harrison is the co-author of the book Women, Whistleblowing and Wikileaks which she will talk about at Border Sessions with co-authors Renata Avila and Angela Richter.

Sessions with Sarah Harrison

Vladan Joler

Vladan Joler is co-founder of SHARE Foundation and professor at the New Media department of the Academy of arts in Novi Sad. He is leading SHARE Lab, a research and data investigation lab for exploring different technical and social aspects of algorithmic transparency, digital labour exploitation, invisible infrastructures, black boxes, and many other contemporary phenomena on the intersection between technology and society.

Sessions with Vladan Joler