Design Indaba 2018: a new year of Designing Change
Moving the conference venue from the CTICC to Artscape [Theatre Centre] in 2016 both reflected and facilitated this change of focus. At Artscape, ‘The infrastructure for performance that’s available to us means that we can create amazing experiences for attendees,’ says Naidoo.
When asked about the way DI goes about selecting the array of international speakers that comes to Cape Town each year, Naidoo says that he ‘invest[s] a lot of time in having a great relationship with [speakers]’. He and his team look for ‘generosity of spirit’, he explains. ‘You feel people’s energy – it’s what I call the mensch test – and I know “good energy” sounds like a real Cape Town, hey-shoo-wow hippie sentiment, but I definitely feel it.’
At DI, he adds, speakers ‘need to be willing, not just to sell, but to share… you must tell us your backstory, almost open-source some of your identity’. And then there’s the fact that they need to be able to present – indeed, to perform – well. They’re showcasing their brands and ideas live to 6 000 people and, as Naidoo says, ‘[Their] presentation has to be bespoke – something that, for the audience, is their “only at Design Indaba” experience.’READ MORE: The 6 Design Indaba 2018 speakers we're looking forward to most
Naidoo says, ‘We’re not event organisers. We’re activists and we’re wanting to be cultural producers.’ It’s clear that for DI the end game is not the production of beautiful things – as lovely as those can be – but the creation of an environment in which everyone can live better. And in 2018, with the present looking less than bright and a better future needing to be fought for, that’s a mission we should all be getting more informed about.