Event description

Compostmodern, a longstanding AIGA SF program, connects designers, scientists, and thought leaders to delve into what is known and what is predicted for our future on this planet. The potential – and urgency – of radical creativity achieved through discovery, new thinking and collaboration has never been greater. Join us for this edition of Compostmodern as we hear from designers working on design for crisis, while we find ourselves in crisis.

This panel brings together leaders in sustainable design who are tackling issues related to the interconnected crises of climate, wild fire, pandemics and more. Learn how designers are designing in crisis, for crisis.


Terry Irwin is Director of the Transition Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and from 2009 until 2019 she was the Head of School. Terry has been teaching at the University level since 1986. Her research is in Transition Design, a new area of design study, practice and research that argues for societal transition toward more sustainable futures. Terry, along with Gideon Kossoff and Cameron Tonkinwise developed Transition Design and integrated into programs and curricula at the School of Design in 2014. Terry and her collaborators have been working on COVID-19 research through the lens of Transition Design.


Lou Downe is the author of Good Services, and the Director of Housing and Land transformation for the UK Government, based at Homes England. In 2014 they founded a £5m programme of work at the Government Digital Service to transform public services in the UK and establish the discipline of service design in Government. Lou was vote one of the UK’s top 50 creative leaders by creative review and one of world’s 100 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical. Lou helped organize 10 principles for design in a crisis during the current COVID-19 crisis.


This event is moderated by Rachel Beth Egenheofer, Professor of Design and Chair of the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco. She teaches courses on Systems Thinking for Sustainable Design, Design Activism Community Engaged Learning and others. She is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design.

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