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Cleo Barnett is a New Zealand-born and Mexico City-based multi-media artist, public art curator, and creative strategist. Since 2009, Barnett has directed and produced more than 300 public space interventions across five continents. Collaborating with artists, government agencies, non-profit and community-based organizations, philanthropists, educators, and global brands, her public art practice is grounded in community empowerment through public art and mass media experiments. 


Barnett is currently the Co-Creative Director of, a non-profit design lab that builds media experiments to amplify social movements. Her work has been featured at the Brooklyn Museum, The New York Times, NPR, PBS, CNN, VICE and elsewhere. Cleo holds an M.A. in Art and Public Policy from New York University, and a double B.A. in Political Science and International Business from the University of Auckland. Learn more at

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Thank you for attending Bend Design 2023!

SESSION: Keynote

Thursday, October 26, 11:00-11:45am

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.

Stay tuned for 2024 updates!

Cleo Barnett

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