Semi Permanent Wellington 2021

In-person EventOrganized by: Semi Permanent

Wellington, New Zealand

After a year in which our global systems, cultures and traditions were upended, Semi Permanent is embracing this spirit of change and evolution and will host the New Zealand edition of our creativity and design festival exclusively in the country’s capital this October. A city defined by creative community and undergoing considerable rejuvenation, Wellington makes for the perfect home for Semi Permanent’s redesigned event, one with renewed perspectives and greater opportunities for connection and engagement.

Just like the Semi Permanent that you know and love, this year’s festival is anchored by an extensive program of talks, interviews, conversations and presentations and comprises an unrivalled line-up of some of the creative industry’s best in class in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Honouring their design origin, Semi Permanent welcome the likes of Canadian-born designer and innovator Bruce Mau, boundary-pushing “art-chitect” James Yeha Brown, and master type designer Kris Sowersby to the main stage, with each offering unique insights into their individual practices. But they also take you beyond the traditional bounds of creativity, with talks by Briar Grace-Smith, a filmmaker and one of New Zealand's most celebrated writers of award-winning plays, screenplays, short fiction and television scripts; photographer and punk counter-culture documentarian Liz Ham; iconic fashion designer and businesswoman Karen Walker; the co-founders of micro-brewery Garage Projects, Jos Ruffell; the mastermind of the Gold Coast City Gallery’s recent $60m upgrade, HOTA director Tracy Cooper-Lavery; director and producer Florian Habicht; and strategic agency Tank, a champion empathy, equality and inclusion in its brand-building. It doesn’t end there, though. Having completely reimagined the event experience, we’re also breaking free from the auditorium to offer you a richer and multi-sensory experience this year. From bespoke workshops and film screenings to exhibitions, book and product launches, and completely unique dining offerings, this is Semi Permanent 2.0, and we’re excited to see you there. Stay tuned for more.


of Massive Change Network
Learn more about Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau serves as Chief Design Officer of Freeman, and is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Massive Change Network (MCN), a global design consultancy based in the Chicago area. The work of the Canadian-born designer, innovator, visionary and author has been dedicated to applying the power of design to transforming the world. Informed by three decades of design studio experience and collaborations with many of the world’s leading artists and architects, cultural institutions and global companies, Mau has evolved his own design thinking methodology to inspire innovative solutions to challenges in any context and on any scale.

Learn more about Karen Walker

Karen Walker is a designer, entrepreneur, businessperson, storyteller, marketer, brand and icon. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Karen has garnered a stellar international following for her collections that cleverly play with cultural subtext, juxtaposing luxe and street, masculine and feminine, folk and utility, for designs that are both directional and wearable. Adventurous collaborations are also at the heart of Karen Walker and recent highlights include collections with Disney, Sephora, Uniqlo, Madewell, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Royal New Zealand

of Apostrophe
Learn more about Crystal Fong

Crystal Fong spent many years at the world’s biggest advertising agencies (DDB, Ogilvy, JWT) won multiple industry awards and became the first Young Glory winner, before realising she could develop a model that existed outside of agency walls, perhaps one with no walls at all. In 2012, Crystal founded, Melbourne’s first copywriting agency. Currently peppered across four continents and 20 cities, will soon be known as a world-first – a brand agency that doesn’t do pictures.

of Resn
Learn more about Rik Campbell

As his first name implies, Rik Campbell only has one eye. So how he designed and Art Directed much of Resn’s early work that broke them into the global scene is anyone’s guess. Not content with the excitement provided by his highly-creative role, Rik accepted the promotion he gave himself to become Managing Director. Under Rik’s tyrannical managerial thumb, Resn has become an international company with international clients from all over the international world. Rik is excited by the numerous possibilities of how Resn can continue to lead the world in both digital stuff and other things, such as non-digital stuff. When pressed for comment, he admits the thing he is most proud of is his children, of which Resn is the first.

of Fix & Fogg
Learn more about Roman Jewell

In 2013, Roman started Fix & Fogg with his wife Andrea making peanut butter at nights in a Wellington lawn bowls club. Fix & Fogg has grown to become one of New Zealand's largest spreads brands and exports to a number of countries including Australia, Singapore and the United States. Fix & Fogg is now on shelves in over 1000 supermarkets in the United States, inlcuding Whole Foods - the world's largest natural foods grocery chain. Fix & Fogg is a values-led brand and the first New Zealand-owned food business to become B Corp certified.

of Studio Round
Learn more about Michaela Webb

After years spent in both high-craft and highly strategic design studios, Michaela saw an opportunity for a place that brings the two together. She still believes it’s this coalescence of strategy and considered design that drives results, and delivers work with the strongest impact.   With over 20 years’ experience, Michaela has worked for some of the world’s leading brand and design companies, including Wolff Olins and Spin in London, and in 2016 was elected as a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). She currently sits as an advisor on boards for RMIT Design Hub and Ian Potter Museum of Art.

Learn more about James Brown

James is playful, prolific, palaeolithic, pungent, quirky and intelligent marsupial and has shaken up the market; with a portfolio spanning painting, art direction, advertising, packaging, print and web design, interior and furniture design. He’s raw and draws a connection to a broad audience with a refreshing smile, disrupting the norm with a tongue in cheek approach. He is one of the youngest turks to become a member of AGI, and he does have gold Graphis statues, D&AD Yellow Pencils, exhibited work at SFMoMA, and AGDA has gonged the bejeebers out of MASH over its 15 years.

of Osborne Shiwan
Learn more about Shabnam Shiwan

As design director at Alt Group and Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide, Shabnam has created memorable work for clients including New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Fisher & Paykel, Better by Design, Spark NZ and ASB Bank. Her work has been recognised in New Zealand’s Best Awards and AGDA (Australia), for which she has also been a judge, as well as internationally, in the Red Dot Awards (Germany), Clio (USA), ADC (USA), TDC (USA), AIGA (USA) and One Show (USA).

of Garage Project
Learn more about Jos Ruffell

Co-founder of Garage Project has over 8 years’ experience working in the digital entertainment and video game industries. During this time, Jos Chaired the organizing Trust of the largest Digital Entertainment, Animation and Game Development conference in New Zealand, and sat on the Board of Film New Zealand for 5 years. Jos oversees new business and strategic development at Garage Project, along with marketing, events and onsite experiences. In 2016 Jos was named EY’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

of HOTA Home of the Arts Gold Coast
Learn more about Tracy Cooper-Lavery

HOTA Gallery (opened May 2021) is the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia with the ability and ambition to present exhibitions and projects of national and international scale that focus on art and design. Tracy has curated numerous exhibitions on Australian and international art and was instrumental in presenting high-profile international exhibitions at Bendigo Art Gallery including The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and Cecil Beaton: Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, London). Other recent projects have included the national touring exhibition Cream: Four decades of Australian art and The Prince | Michael Zavros. She is the curator of the forthcoming international exhibition Contemporary Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York.

of Formist
Learn more about Mark Gowing

He is the director of Formist, a publisher, type foundry and design studio, which specialises in books, typefaces and cultural and commercial commissions. Gowing is also co-founder of the groundbreaking music arts organisation Longform Editions. With a practice spanning more than 30 years, Gowing has produced projects for leading organisations and institutions with a passionate focus on visual art and language, design, film and music. He has been honoured with solo exhibitions at the 22nd International Poster Biennale in Warsaw, Poland, the Divieto d’Affissione in Turin, Italy, and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Gowing is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and his work is held in numerous institutional collections including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, USA.

of Silverstripe
Learn more about James Ford

James is the creative director of Silverstripe. As a full-service digital agency, Silverstripe focuses on creating compelling experiences online that improve peoples’ lives. Their journey began back in 2000, with the vision of three Wellingtonians who had a passion for empowering great web teams by creating digital platforms for change that all began with Silverstripe CMS. These days, they’re better known for specialising in creative strategy, web design, web development, and cloud hosting as well as continuing to build on Silverstripe CMS. Providing end-to-end experiences has given them the opportunity not only to work with some pretty iconic New Zealand organisations—like Unite against Covid-19, Weta Workshop, and Westpac—but to become a Kiwi success themselves.

Learn more about Jess Johnson

JESS JOHNSON was born in New Zealand in 1979. She lives and works in New York. The concept of world-building lies at the center of Jess Johnson’s work, which reflects her interests in science fiction, language, technology, and theories of consciousness. Over several years, her drawings have documented an increasingly complex fictional world; they are meshworks of cultural symbology, humanoid clones, messianic figures, and alien runes placed in architectural settings. Her drawing practice feeds into installations and collaborations in animation, music, fashion, Virtual Reality, and textile art. These additional mediums bring the world of her drawings into physical and virtual spaces, providing an immersive experience for audiences. 

Learn more about Seb Chan

He is the senior executive responsible for the Experience & Engagement division of the museum guiding teams responsible for visitor experience, marketing, brand & communication design, digital products, technology, and the museum’s collections, digitisation & digital preservation programs. After a recent $40m renewal as Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI is now a multi-platform museum in the centre of Melbourne and also across the internet.

of Klim Type Foundry
Learn more about Kris Sowersby

Kris Sowersby is your typical success story: he graduated from the Wanganui School of Design in 2003 and two years later began releasing commercial and custom typefaces under the brand Klim Type Foundry. The twist? He took one elective in typeface design and taught himself the rest. Now he releases commercial fonts through online retailer Village, has designed custom type families for projects from the Financial Times to the Chatham Islands and has several coveted Best Design Awards.

Learn more about Liz Ham

Liz Ham has been working professionally as a photographer for over twenty years. Straddling the genres of social documentary, portraiture and fashion, her work is infused with nostalgia and narrative, often exploring ideas around identity and subculture. In 2017 Ham’s first monograph ‘Punk Girls’ was released internationally by Manuscript Publishing. Liz has been selected as a finalist in the Blake Prize, Fishers Ghost Art Award, and The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize. Her work has been exhibited and acquired by institutions such as The Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; The State Library of Victoria; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and the State Library of New South Wales. Liz is currently undertaking a Masters by Research at The University of Technology Sydney, exploring her lifelong investment in portrait and documentary photography.

Learn more about Florian Habicht

Florian is one of New Zealand’s most innovative and prolific filmmakers. His recent film James & Isey was shot by Florian with no crew, and is now amongst the top grossing documentaries of all time in Aotearoa. Florian has also collaborated with Jarvis Cocker, Teresa Peters, Warwick Broadhead, and Beck. His films have been distributed in over 18 countries. Other career highlights include winning the Best Decorated Bicycle Award at Paihia Primary School in 1982. 

Learn more about Simon Devitt

Simon Devitt is a photographer with a strong practice focus in the photography of architecture, currently based in Auckland, New Zealand, with an established international practice throughout Australasia and further afield. He is the author of the award-winning photo-book Rannoch and the All Things Considered series. Photo books bring together Devitt’s passion for image, place and language, which started in 2013 with the launch of Portrait of a House, his first self-published photo-book on the Athfield residence in Wellington. Since then, he has started publishing the Ripe Fruit series.Devitt’s images feature in many books and collaborations including Long Live the Modern (2009), Group Architects: Towards a New Zealand Architecture (2010), Athfield Architects (2012) and Summer Houses (2011), as well as in numerous national and international magazines such as Elle Decor (Italy, UK, Japan and South Africa), ArchitecturalDigest (Germany)

Learn more about Briar Grace-Smith

Briar descends from Ngāti Hau and Ngāpuhi iwi. She is a filmmaker and writer of award-winning plays, screenplays, short fiction and television scripts. She works as a mentor to screenwriters in New Zealand and overseas. Her plays include Ngā Pou Wāhine, Purapurawhetū and When Sun and Moon Collide. Her first feature film The Strength of Water premiered at Rotterdam and Berlin Film Festivals, winning her a NZ Swanz award for best feature film script, 2010.  She was one of nine Māori women filmmakers who created the acclaimed feature film omnibus Waru.  She was the director of Krystal which as selected as one of the six best NZ shorts at the NZIFF, 2019.  Her television credits include Fishskin Suit, Kaitangata Twitch, Being Eve, This is Piki, and the Australian childrens’ series Grace Beside Me. Briar’s the screen writer, Co Director and one of the lead actors in the feature film Cousins, 2021 – an adaptation of the novel by Patricia Grace. She is an inaugural recipient of the Arts Foundation Laureate Award. In  2019 she received the Sundance Merata Mita Fellowship, and in 2021, the WIFT Mana Wāhine Award. Briar was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for her contribution to theatre, television and screen.

Learn more about Jim Antonopoulos

Jim Antonopoulos is an advocate for purposeful business, strategy and innovation. With a career spanning 30 years helping organisations develop strategy and shaping change across organisational culture and leadership teams. Jim brings a human-centred approach to his work having worked in technology, creative, research and strategy roles throughout his career. His consultancy Tank is an accredited B Corporation and a well-respected advocate for business as a force for good. Applying his long history of understanding how people interact with technology, brands, and values-led cultures within organisations he intrinsically links high-performance with empathy and compassion in his work with organisations across Australia, South-East Asia, New Zealand and Greece.

Learn more about Kris Andrew Small

Based in Sydney, Kris Andrew Small’s work is a joyful explosion of colour, typography, pattern, and collage. He often takes societal issues and channels them through loud and abstract visuals. That’s not to say his work is heavy, though, in fact, his portfolio is one of utter exuberance. This idiosyncratic merging of techniques and themes features on any number of mediums, from posters to campaigns, packaging, zines and everything in between, and has seen Kris collaborate with clients including Nike, Apple, Dazed, Die Zeit, Adidas Originals, It’s Nice That, Channel 4, WeTransfer, Reebok and more. He’s also exhibited internationally at institutions like the V&A in Dundee and MAD in The Lourve, Paris.


$199 - $399


Michael Fowler Centre
111 Wakefield Street, Te Aro
6011, Wellington
New Zealand

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Danny Coster, with Danny Coster
Michael Fowler Centre111 Wakefield Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New ZealandWellington

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