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Thursday, October 26

Keynote Speakers at the Tower Theatre

8:30am - 5:00pm

Cost: $175

Hear from a diverse group of thinkers and doers in a series of keynote talks offering real-world insights that transcend creative sectors. Featuring Chuck McBride, Pedro Ruíz, Cleo Barnett, Sami Chohan, Phoebe Anderson-Kline, Bernard Troyer, and Nishat Akhtar. This ticket includes access to the closing cocktail party at McMenamins. Tickets for workshops must be purchased separately. View the schedule to order tickets.

9:30-10:15: Chuck McBride 

Creativity Means Business.

Now, more than ever, creativity is in demand. It's become a required skill set to power businesses. It is integral to innovation, design and culture. The most successful companies will be the ones that successfully use their creativity as a distinctive asset. Chuck McBride, Founder and CCO of Cutwater and leader of iconic brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, Ray Ban, will talk about the importance of creativity and how our work no longer just benefits from creativity but requires it.


10:15-11:00: Pedro Ruíz

Generative Artificial Intelligence Revolution: How Diffusion Models and Pre-Trained Transformers are Shaping the Future of Creative Expression 

Gain a deeper understanding of the AI technology you're hearing all about. In this talk with Pedro Ruiz, a Human-Centered Designer and Deep Learning Engineer specializing in Generative Artificial Intelligence, will share the underlying technologies behind Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and GPT-4 so you can better leverage them to augment your work.


11:00-11:45: Cleo Barnett

Culture Wars: How One Organization is Using Open Source Artwork and Teaching Tools to Empower Communities, at Scale

In today's ever-expanding media landscape, the content we consume plays a pivotal role in shaping our perceptions and driving our actions. Cleo Barnett, Creative Director of, will share techniques and strategies for building and deploying media hacks, alongside open source artwork and teaching tools, to foster critical thinking and nurture compassion, at scale. By leveraging the collective power of individuals and communities, human centered design can unleash a ripple effect of positive change that transcends the boundaries of any single project or initiative. Join us in exploring the transformative potential of media and design in creating a better world.


11:45-1:30: Lunch Break

1:30-2:15: ​Sami Chohan

The world is changing, and so can architectural education  

Architectural education can either train architects to passively accept and join the extractive order of practice decided by investment, speculation, and profit, or it can inspire students to actively challenge the status quo and change the course of practice in direct service of our planet and all life on it. Knowingly or not, it can also exist between these extremes, constantly negotiating between conformity and resistance. In parts of the world where even resistance is vulnerable to commodification and consumption, it can also create an illusion of resistance to mask conformity. But in the face of growing inequities and injustices produced by centuries of colonial and neocolonial aggressions, there can be only one way forward, which is for architectural education to radically reinvent itself. This talk is another reminder of how the world is changing, and how architectural education can (overcome some of its internal and external constraints to) change with it.

2:15-3:00: Nishat Akhtar

Notating and Noticing, a Design Practice

Nishat Akhar, designer and creative leader at Portland-based agency, Instrument, will cover how observation is an essential tenant for design and creativity, citing examples, writings and methodologies to harness what you see into points of reference, inspiration and a point of view. Attendees will walk away with an understanding for how the simple act of noticing their surroundings can shape creative concepts, and influence their overall creative point of view.


3:00-3:45: Phoebe Anderson-Kline + Bernard Troyer

Building BLOCKS: Community Powered and Designed Solutions Towards Ending Homelessness

The BLOCK Project is a Seattle based initiative that weaves the cornerstones of community, sustainability and innovation together to address the now 8-year long declared crisis of homelessness in our region. With innovation, design, over 2,000 volunteers and a high rate of success in keeping people housed, Bernard Troyer and Phoebe Anderson-Kline share how the BLOCK Project has evolved to be the most affordable and sustainable community supported permanent housing solution on the market.

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