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NGN Think-Tank Team Member Bios

J Angesleva


Professor of Digital Media, Designer


Professor Jussi Ängeslevä is a designer, artist and educator. Based at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Royal College of Art in London, he is actively involved in the ever-expanding field of new media, working with digital materiality

and interaction design. In addition to lecturing around the planet, he is the Vice Creative Director of ART+COM studios where his work in public art commissions, exhibitions and installations is consistently yielding international recognition.

Jussi’s focus has always intentionally been located in between fields: combining understanding of visual, physical and interaction design with algorithmic, electronic and mechatronic knowledge to create innovative and elegant experiences.

His design ethos is leveraging hardware, software, physical and graphic design in the search for elegance in highly specific solutions, where the meaning of a work is inseparable from the medium communicating it.

S Caan

shashi caan

Founder & Spokesperson, GloW-DESIGN, Practitioner, Visiting Professor


Shashi Caan is a distinguished thought leader for architectural design internationally. As a practitioner, design futurist, educator and author, her dedication to furthering human

betterment through and by design is reflected in her 25-year design career.


She was formerly senior Designer with Gensler and then Design Director and Associate Partner with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, in New York. In 2002, she started and remains a founding partner of her innovatively structured firm, THE COLLECTIVE.


She is the 2004 U.S. Designer of the Year, was granted the 2012 Golden Seat Architectural Master Award of China, and in 2013, she was appointed the JDP Design Ambassador to Japan. With her service on numerous industry and professional Board of Directors, she was one of 3, two-term Presidents of the distinguished International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), a service which furthered the impact of Interior Architecture/Design across the world. For this work, she was recognized and honored by IFI as a Fellow of the IFI (FoIFI).


As recognition of her international impact, she has been bestowed honorary fellowships in the UK, Australia and the US and conferred an honorary doctorate from the NY School of Interior Design. She is the author of the seminal book, Rethinking Design and Interiors: Human Beings in the Built Environment. This important book has also been translated into Chinese.

I Pirie

ian pirie

Emeritus Professor, Education Adivsor


Ian Pirie is Emeritus Professor of Design at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK. A full-time educator since 1980, his work has been in designing and leading the development of innovative 

programmes of study in and across Art, Design, Architecture, Business, Computing and Engineering. He is internationally known as an examiner, quality assurance reviewer and education advisor with work being undertaken in East & Southern Asia and Oceania in addition to UK and EU institutions.

His research has explored the use of emerging digital technologies in both Design practice and in supporting specific pedagogical approaches in Education. During the past decade and more he has led and worked on numerous online developments in support of student learning and specifically in the areas of assessment and feedback at the Robert Gordon University in eLearning; 'Insight Out Learning' for the teaching of entrepreneurship with Glasgow School of Art; chairing the development team of the national portal for the Crafts for the Scottish Arts Council; the innovative developments in assessment and feedback at Edinburgh College of Art where he was Assistant Principal for Learning and Teaching and most recently the online suite of tools to support personal tutoring, academic guidance and support at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently leading the development of the ‘SLICCs’ self-designed learning experiences that will enable students at the University of Edinburgh to design aspects of their own learning for credit and is also working with the Royal Conservatoire Scotland to develop a new approach to assessment and feedback in the performing arts.

E Schuldenfrei

eric schuldenfrei PhD

Associate Dean, Faculty of Architecture

Founder + Practitioner, ESKYIU


With a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master’s of Philosophy as well as a PhD from the University of Cambridge, Eric Schuldenfrei is a designer who focuses on the evolving relationship between architecture,

art, and technology. Along with Marisa Yiu he founded ESKYIU, a multi-disciplinary architecture studio which actively integrates art, culture, and community together. They have been awarded the ‘Design Vanguard’ by Architectural Record, the ‘Architectural League Prize’, Perspective ‘40 under 40’ award and the ‘Design for Asia Award’.

Schuldenfrei served as the Curator of Exhibition, Education, Film, and Media for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale and has presented at DLD Moscow on the Topic of Future Cities, at the inaugural International Design Allian congress, the V&A museum the Northern World Mandate in Helsinki, Harvard University AsiaGSD series, the University of Cambridge, and the Royal College of Art in London. His most recent book The Films of Charles and Ray Eames: A Universal Sense of Expectation was published in 2015, focusing on architecture, politics and the moving image.

C Speed

chris speed PhD

Professor, App Designer, Journal Editor


Chris Speed is Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He has a BA in Alternative Practice (Brighton Polytechnic, 1992), a Masters in Design (Goldsmiths 1999), and a PhD from Plymouth University (‘A Social Dimension 

to Digital Architectural Practice’, 2007).

His research focuses upon the Network Society, Digital Art and Technology, and the Internet of Things. Chris has sustained a critical enquiry into how network technology can engage with the fields of art, design and social experience through a variety of international digital art exhibitions, funded research projects, books, journals and conferences. He has led the team that developed the platform and has developed a series of Apps to make the case that linear time is no longer a tenable part of the Internet of Things.

Currently Chris is working on funded projects engaged with the flow of food across cities, an internet of cars, turning printers into clocks and a persistent argument that chickens are actually robots. He is a co-organiser and compére for the Edinburgh events and co-editor of the journal Ubiquity.

M Thomson

michael thomson

Design Strategist


Trained in 3D design in Northern Ireland and Germany Michael Thomson set up Design Connect in London in 1995 to help businesses and organisations in the private and public sectors to evolve their visions and strategies for future 

growth through a process he calls ‘design-led strategy thinking for growth’.

A former President of the Bureau of European Design Associations, (BEDA) Michael initiated and led the lobbying process, which saw the incorporation of design by the European Commission in Europe’s Innovation strategy in 2012. Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Brighton University in 2014 for his services to design.

G Vernizzi

gianluca vernizzi

Artist, Designer, Entrepreneur


Gianluca Vernizzi is a full-time artist and entrepreneur. In 1999, with a radical and innovative approach to art, design and colour, he founded his own company and design brands Fractalis, Createlab and Bodhi, focused on the R&D of 

innovative water-based colour technology.

Gianluca’s early career was devoted to the development of entrepreneurial businesses while cultivating his art under the pseudonym of Kubern Ronin, but since 2012 he has been painting full-time. He established Createlab® Studio, a materials’ science laboratory where he and a team of engineers developed new nano aqueous technology (Mytrix), allowing him to merge colour and matter in his own new artistic harmony.

Gianluca premiered his new works in 2016 at BUKRUK Arts’ Festival in Bangkok, had his work “Mytrix 1.1” published in EA 2016 art volume, and in October participated in the BUU International Art Exhibition and Workshop. Currently he is working on his new “Eggcletics” series for his upcoming 2017 solo exhibitions. Gianluca holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Psychology from La Jolla University and is a graduate of MIT’s BOG Master Executive Program in Business Administration and Management.

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