What Design Can Do Live 2022


Third time’s the charm! After two years of delays, What Design Can Do (WDCD) is finally returning to Amsterdam with a new edition of its festival on the impact of design. On 3 June 2022, a dynamic crowd of 1000+ creatives, activists, policymakers and start-ups will meet at the stunning International Theater Amsterdam. At the heart of the one-day festival is a packed programme of urgent talks, exhibitions and workshops on the intersection of design, climate action and social justice. Together, we’ll discover how design can help us imagine a better world, and empower those who dare to build it.

Leading the conversation is a line-up of creative visionaries: revolutionary fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal (NG); award-winning architect Marwa Al-Sabouni (SY); triple-threat designer—activist—academic Julia Watson (US); Pussypedia founders Zoe Mendelson (UK) & María Conejo (MX); acclaimed photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen (NL); innovative digital fashion designer Amber Jae Slooten (NL); legendary designer Bruce Mau (CA); expert environmental policy advisor Yvo de Boer (NL); Emmy-winning film director Josh Fox (US); multi-faceted designer and Pentagram partner Eddie Opara (UK); and more to be announced soon.


With each passing year, it becomes clearer that all of humanity’s most pressing problems are deeply interconnected. Fortunately, the same holds true for the best of our solutions. “At WDCD Live 2022, we’re bringing changemakers from radically diverse disciplines together, to unravel the knot from every direction,” explains WDCD co-founder and creative director Richard van der Laken. “From designers and diplomats, to activists and architects—we’re going to have the skills and thinking-power needed for lasting change, all in one room. There’s real power in that.”


To explore the full range of creatives’ capabilities, the festival will dive into some of the greatest ecological and social issues of our time, as well as the threads that connect them:


  • THE CLIMATE FOR CHANGE IS HERE — There is growing consensus among climate activists that we need to move beyond the linear economy, and fast. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the realisation that to secure a healthy future for both people and planet, we need to break away from ‘business as usual’. But where do we go from here? Can design redefine its own relationship with consumerism, waste and value? And how can we make a circular future not just accessible—but enticing—for people from all walks of life?
  • GENDER, DESIGN AND POWER  — What does it mean to have a ‘seat at the table’? At WDCD Live 2022, we’ll shift the focus from what it takes to pull up a chair, to how we, as an industry, can rebuild the table from scratch. Together we’ll dive into why the gender gap remains so widespread, asking: what are the biases and injustices that the system is built on? And how can we use design as a tool to advocate for the rights of women, non-binary, trans and queer communities?
  • NO CLIMATE ACTION WITHOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE — The richest 1% of the world’s population are responsible for twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50%, and yet they do not equally share the burden of its consequences. Now, more than ever, we must champion climate action that also centres and uplifts the world’s most vulnerable people. Using a decolonial lens, the festival’s programme will evaluate the links between design and climate justice and invite participants to transform their creative skills into activism.



In a nutshell, here are the main components of this year’s edition of WDCD Live in Amsterdam:

  • A main stage programme featuring illuminating talks by 10+ thought-leaders in the creative industries, plus a string of musical performances to bring the crowd to their feet.
  • A parallel programme that invites visitors to dive deeper; featuring exhibitions and panel discussions on themes like gender equality, the circular economy and design in times of Covid-19.
  • The chance to collaborate and grow your own impact in a range of interactive workshops, classes and networking sessions — including a pitch event featuring 11+ leading, innovative start-ups.
  • An afterparty for visitors to raise a glass together and close the festivities in style.


We’ll be announcing more details about this year’s programme over the next few weeks. To stay in the know, consider following What Design Can Do on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Learn more online here, and grab your tickets quickly!

Lees je bewust met OneWorld en draag bij aan een rechtvaardige wereld.

Dat kan al vanaf 6 euro per maand

Ontvang onze beste verhalen in je mailbox

Volg ons