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Welcome Dear Futurists: Lonny Avi Brooks, Nick Foster, and Radha Mistry moderated by Helen Maria Nugent

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oct 03

Tue, Oct 3 2023, 6PM - 7:30PM

Nave Presentation Space | 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107 View map

Part of event series: Fall 2023 Design Lecture Series

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Organized by

Design Division + CCA Design Futures Lab

Event description

Join four leading futurists to explore prompts, strategies, and tactics designed to move us beyond near-term thinking. The panelists and moderator offer both breadth and depth in the field of futures literacy with expertise in strategic foresight, design fiction, Afrofuturism, and speculative design. Attendees of this in-person event will be invited to contribute an idea about how the future could be different than the present.

ASL interpretation will not be offered at the event. The lecture uses a slide presentation. All content from the slides will be read aloud or described. 

Speaker Bios:

Nick Foster | Independent Futurist, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London

Nick Foster RDI is a designer, creative leader and futurist based in California. He has worked at the intersection of technology and design within globally recognized organizations including Google, Sony, Nokia, and Dyson, and has established himself as a pioneering figure in the field of Futures Design. In 2021, he was awarded the title ‘Royal Designer for Industry' in recognition of his significant contributions to this field – the highest accolade for a British Designer.

Most recently Nick served as the Head of Design at Google X, where he led a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, strategists and designers in the development of world changing technology projects. He is known for his approachable, down-to-earth and occasionally irreverent vision work, which explores everyday moments from emergent futures. For over a decade Nick was a partner at The Near Future Laboratory, the seminal futures collective which developed the practice of Design Fiction, and published 'The Manual of Design Fiction' in 2022.

In addition to his professional pursuits, Nick dedicates significant time to education and advising. In 2020 he accepted an honorary role as Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art in London, he is an advisor to the United Nations Development Program, and he frequently lectures and tutors students at colleges and universities across Europe, Asia and the USA.

Born in Derby, a city renowned for its role in the Industrial Revolution and the development of the jet engine, Nick was twice named 'Young Engineer for Britain' by the British Engineering Council. In 2001, he received his Masters degree from the Royal College of Art, and in 2018, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Nick moved to California in 2012, where he resides with his wife, Jayne.

Lonny BrooksProfessor in Communication and Afrofuturism, CSU East Bay, and Creative Director, AfroRithm Futures Group

Lonny J Avi Brooks, (PhD. in Communication, 2004, UC San Diego), is a Professor in Communication, Cal State University, East Bay, and co-executive producer of The Afrofuturist Podcast; co-author, Afrofuturism 2.0: the Rise of Astro-Blackness, lead editor, special issue “When is Wakanda?” (Journal of Futures Studies); co-organizer, Black Speculative Arts Movement; Co-Founder and Creative Director of the AfroRithm Futures Group (ARFG), imagining democratized futures as co-designer of the game Afro-Rithms From The Future

Professor Brooks has a passion for creating games to envision transformational social justice futures including Black and Queer liberation from Afro-Rithms From The Future (2018) to United Queerdom (2019). He co-founded and consults with the Community Futures School, Museum of Children’s Arts (MOCHA), in Oakland, CA; is a Research Affiliate@the Institute For The Future + a Long Now Foundation Research Fellow. He is a Visiting Professor@ Hasso Plattner Institute for Design, Stanford University + author of “From Algorithms to AfroRithms in Afrofuturism” as a contributor to the anthology Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection.

Radha MistryForesight Lead for Arup (Americas)

Radha has a background in architecture, narrative environments, and strategic foresight. She currently leads the Americas region foresight business at Arup, teaches as adjunct faculty on the Design MBA program at California College of the Arts, and spends most of her time exploring the impact of emerging trends and how they’ll change the way we design and make things in the future.  Her purpose is to collaboratively build more equitable and inclusive futures — to make space for communities who might not yet see themselves in our future visions. Most recently, Radha established the Foresight practice at Autodesk and taught speculative design as part-time faculty on Parsons (The New School) MFA Transdisciplinary Design program. Prior to this she focused on the Future of Work with the Steelcase's Workspace Futures group. Her work sought out ways organizations could drive Innovation through design. Previous to Steelcase, Radha practiced architecture and was a researcher and strategist as part of the Arup Foresight + Innovation team in London and San Francisco, crafting speculative futures for global clients; she has also exhibited during the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and worked on design-led community engagement initiatives in cities across Europe.

Helen Maria Nugent Dean of Design, California College of the Arts

Helen-Maria is an accomplished education and academic leader with over 25 years of experience envisioning and building innovative degree programs that have shaped the landscape of contemporary art and design education in the United States.  At the University of Florida, she inaugurated an influential and highly experimental foundation program, the Workshop for Art Research and Practice (WARP); at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), she reframed the traditional craft-based foundation by developing sequential research-as-practice studios focusing on contemporary methods of creative investigation.  At SAIC she established a new field of study, Designed Objects, and founded industry-leading graduate and undergraduate programs that interrogate the future relationship of designed objects, culture, and society.

In her current role as Dean of Design at California College of the Arts (CCA), she is the academic lead for nine distinct degree programs including an MBA in Design Strategy, an MFA in Design, and a Master of Design in Interaction Design.  In 2019 she established the CCA Design Futures Lab to forefront speculative design practices and further futures literacy. In 2021 she launched Studio Forward, a year-long sponsored engagement that collaborates with leading industries shaping the technologies and products of the future. 

As a speaker and moderator she regularly leads conversations on design futures issues with prominent artists, designers, and strategists. Nugent is a co-founder of Haelo Design, an interdisciplinary, research-driven studio currently speculating on how to design for love, and consulting on strategic futures. 

About California College of the Arts

Located at the center of innovation and technology in the San Francisco Bay Area, California College of the Arts is home to a world-renowned faculty of practicing artists and entrepreneurs, and a diverse community of makers that are boldly reimagining the world. Offering 22 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in fine arts, architecture, design, and writing, CCA’s creative culture is built around the ideals of interdisciplinary collaboration, sustainability, and community engagement.

California College of the Arts campuses are located in Huichin and Yelamu, also known as Oakland and San Francisco, respectively, on the unceded territories of Chochenyo and Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, who have continuously lived upon this land since time immemorial. We recognize the historic discrimination and violence inflicted upon Indigenous peoples in California and the Americas, including their forced removal from ancestral lands, and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their communities and culture. CCA honors Indigenous peoples—past, present, and future—here and around the world, and we wish to pay respect to local elders, including those of the lands from which you are joining us virtually today. If you are unsure of who’s land you are currently residing upon, we encourage you to visit


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