2015 Design Matters Conference keynote speaker Kieran Long, keeper of the Design, Architecture, and Digital Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 2012, London, United Kingdom. Photo: Steve Double.
The Design Matters Conference, presented by the Association of Architecture Organizations, is the largest annual gathering of educators and not-for-profit professionals dedicated to engaging the public on issues of architecture and design. The 2015 meeting takes place at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois, attracting an international audience of 300 participants. Through keynote lectures, breakout sessions, and mobile tours in the community, attendees investigate how communities are strengthened through design. In addition to big picture thinking, technical skills and organizational development skills are addressed in several operations areas, such as architectural tours, exhibitions, lectures, and public programs. The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial serves as a primary backdrop for this year's meeting, with several Conference themes connecting to points of learning contained within the Biennial program.
Speakers for the Design Matters Conference will include top designers, curators, critics, and leaders of non-profit organizations working to enhance public dialogue about architecture and design. From Kieran Long, keeper of the Design, Architecture, and Digital Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Michelle Boone, commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, to Reed Kroloff of jones\kroloff and Jake Barton of Local Projects, the early confirmed speakers all are important stakeholders in the growing field of public engagement about architecture and design.
The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is a member-based network founded in 2009 that connects the many organizations around the world dedicated to enhancing public dialogue about architecture and design. The AAO organizes workshops and the annual Design Matters Conference, supports the creation of new architectural organizations, manages communications networks for its members, and serves as an advocate and media resource.