• 2020 Design Matters Conference: Radical Transformation
    Arthur Cohen, Pascale Sablan, Helle Lis Søholt, and Wouter Vanstiphout
    Keynote Speakers
    Dec 03, 2020 to Dec 04, 2020
    Association of Architecture Organizations

This year has been a time of great rupture and change. While society at large wrestles with a new normal, cultural institutions are in a fight to stay afloat. Architecture organizations are needing to respond to massive internal and external pressures, and, through it all, still drive critical community impact—whether that means staying the course or radically rethinking one's mission. The 2020 Design Matters Conference, Radical Transformation, continues the initiative as the only annual gathering specifically for organizations devoted to inspiring public dialogue about architecture and urbanism. This 2020 conference gives attendees an expanded set of ideas and professional contacts in order to better contextualize their work in this new world impacted by COVID-19.

Michael Wood became the first executive director for the Association of Architecture Organization (AAO) in Spring 2010, bringing to the position 13 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, as well as an interest in and commitment to architecture, design, and social innovation as strategies for addressing issues of civic engagement and education. Since he serving as AAO staff leadership, Wood has curated 15 conferences and successfully transformed an annual Chicago meeting into a traveling event that meets in cities across the US, effectively facilitating AAO members’ deeper knowledge of and engagement with the programs and ambitions of architectural organizations throughout the country. Under Wood’s leadership, the AAO Network has grown from 16 founding members to more than 150 members spanning 75 US cities and nine countries.

The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is a member-based network that connects the many organizations around the world dedicated to enhancing public dialogue about architecture and design. We believe the better informed a citizenry is about its built environment, the more mindful it will be in demanding the highest standard in architecture and urban design. Founded in 2009, AAO currently serves nonprofit architectural organizations and interested individuals in 75 cities across the United States and ten countries. Members include architecture centers, design professionals, architecture and design schools, educators, historic preservation trusts, design advocacy and urban planning organizations, and museums with architecture collections. Taken collectively, AAO Member organizations conduct public programs that reach an estimated annual audience of 4.5 million children and adult learners.