The who’s who of Semi Permanent Aotearoa 2023

Semi Permanent Aotearoa is a haven for designers, content creators, and creatives and it’s heading to Wellington this November.

Since 2002 thousands have flocked to this festival of creativity and design to connect with like-minded people, and hear some words of wisdom from industry giants. From 8 – 10 November the festival will take over the St James Theatre, with a jam-packed programme of panel discussions, speeches, masterclasses, and workshops.

Here’s just a few of the cool and clever speakers we can’t wait to see:

Megha Kapoor

You know you’ve made it in the publishing industry when you’ve been headhunted by Anna Wintour. That’s how creative director, writer, and stylist Megha found herself as Head of Editorial Content at Vogue India in 2021. Before this she founded her own magazine INPRINT, and worked as Fashion Director at Oyster Magazine. Megha was born in India, raised in Aotearoa, and studied and lived in Australia. Since starting at Vogue, she’s taken huge steps to promote inclusivity and proudly showcase the beauty of Indian culture. She has recently moved into the Editor-At-Large position there.

Simon Devitt

Simon Devitt is a photographer and Photography of Architecture lecturer at the University of Auckland. His work predominantly showcases beautiful and interesting venues and buildings, which he’s compiled into several award-winning photo books (Rannoch and the All Things Considered series). In 2008 Simon established the Simon Devitt Prize for Photography at the University of Auckland to encourage young artists. Among his many achievements Simon will always hold a special place our heart as a Capital Photographer of the Year judge in 2022.

Read our Q&A with Simon here.

Ophelia and Ryder Jones

Ophelia and Ryder are the mastermind couple behind some iconic Kiwi album covers. Among them, Lorde’s 2021 album Solar Power, and BENEE’s Lychee. Based in the Coromandel Peninsula the visual artists work across photography, drawing, and sculpture, and regularly collaborate with fashion labels and magazines. Earlier this year they completed an artist residency at the Sherwood Hotel in Tāhuna, Queenstown.

Tyrone Ohia (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi)

Tyrone is graphic designer who founded design studio Extended Whānau. The studio has a particular focus on representation of Māori culture and Indigenous stories and values. They’ve been responsible for the visual identity of the Matariki public holiday, the Predator Free 2050 movement, and the largest exhibition to date at Auckland Art Gallery Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art. A book based on the exhibition, also designed by Tyrone, just won the supreme award for best designed book in Aotearoa at the PANZ Book Design Awards.

Ben Grandgenett

Graphic designer Ben Grandgenett is the Design Director of The New York Times Magazine. There he has created countless eye-catching and thought-provoking magazine covers, collaborating with a bunch of amazing artists, photographers, and writers. Nebraska born, Ben graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2013, where he went on to work as an instructor of graphic design. In 2017 he was recognised as a Young Gun by the One Club for Creativity, and then as an Ascender by the Type Directors Club in 2019.

Emma Lewisham

Emma launched her skincare business in 2019 after finding there was a gap in the market for natural, sustainable skin products. With a circular model Emma Lewisham skincare quickly became the world’s first carbon-positive beauty brand. Before entering the beauty world Emma spent eight years as senior executive for a global multinational technology brand. Now, alongside running her brand Emma is on the board of the Second Nature Charitable Trust, which delivers Aotearoa’s largest free schools programme, and is a member of Global Women, a collaboration of influential women leaders from New Zealand.

Alexandra Popova

Alexandra is Senior Director of Personalisation and Future of Content at sportswear giant Adidas. The huge role involves finding new ways for customers to interact and enjoy the brand’s online space. When she’s not busy at work she’s a mentor and coach, helping disadvantaged young people reach their potential and land their dream jobs. Alexandra’s husband Constantine Gavrykov is Senior Global Director of Product Design at Decathlon and will also be speaking at Semi Permanent.  

Semi Permanent is on 8-10 November. Get your tickets here.


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