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Clear Lake

Corner Brook, Newfoundland

October 24 - 25th, 2022

Day 1: In-Person + Virtual Broadcast

Day 2: In Person + Learning Guide

The National Rural Design Conference 2022

Design & Innovation for Rural Futures

You won't find the future of design by looking to the centre

Design is about working together to create solutions for the biggest challenges that we face – wherever those challenges might be in the world.

Join us October 24-25th as we kick off a national discussion in Corner Brook Newfoundland. It's time to explore the role that design, designers, and social innovation should play in co-creating the futures of small, remote and rural places by centering the needs and realities of communities.

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The Location

Join us in iconic Corner Brook on the island of Newfoundland's west coast. An 8 hour drive from St. Johns, the capital city, or 30 minutes from the Deer lake Airport (YDF), on the steps of the Bay of Islands and the world famous Gros Morne National Park.

Where to Stay: Rooms have been blocked at

the historic Glynmill Hill for our guests.

Contact them directly for reservations.

"it's a conference for the design curious, 
and the design thinkers and tinkerers...
to build a field for the future"

This conference will bring global design leaders together with academics, students, and community leaders to explore the opportunities that design can offer. To think about delivering stronger, more community-powered social impact in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. As we face these systemic challenges, it is more important than ever find solutions that meet the needs of a changing province- within the scope of a changing planet. 

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What is the current state of Rural Design in Canada? What's our vision for its future and impact?
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What will it take to build and sustain strong, empathetic rural design ecosystems?
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How can rural design empower communities to dream and shape their own futures?

Celebrate the NEW
Grenfell Campus- Memorial University

Innovation Centre

Rural Design Conference 2022 is brought to you by the Innovation Centre at Grenfell Campus-Memorial University.

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Sara Cantor

Co-Founder, Greater Good Studio

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Kris Kelly-Frere

Creative Lead,

J5 Design


Keiko Ono

Co-Founder, Social Innovation Japan


Leila Beaudoin

Journalist, Author,

Rural Community Champion & Storyteller


Some may call them speakers or workshop facilitators but we call them provocateurs.

We don't believe that designers have the answers. But they are really great at helping you dive deep into your own reality, get messy, make things real and to get creative in your collaboration and problem-solving for greater impact.

Learn, Connect, Make

This unique experience combines structured programming and open space technology. Alongside presentations by international leaders in design, immersive field-trips to rural communities, and a hands on codesign challenge. Portions of the program will be available for virtual participation.

Hands on Learning

Workshops and practice sessions will introduce the basics of design to newbies, and offer more advance tools for established practitioners.

Design Sprint & Field Trips

The conference includes the chance to participate in a real world design sprint with community partners. Help them explore new ideas & test solutions together.

Setting Vision

Attendees (both in person & remote) will help shape and establish a first draft of the Rural Design Manifesto.

Inspiring Speakers

Hear from the leading voices & unconventional perspectives about the future of rural design. 

National Rural CoDesign Day

Can’t make it to Corner Brook? Use our toolkit to host a codesign session in your community and contribute to the movement and explore your own design challenges. We will connect virtually with conversations happening across the country.

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Preliminary Schedule
Day 1
  • Daybreak Hike & Ocean Swim

  • Breakfast @ Hotel

  • Keynote + Innovation Centre Tour

  • Networking & Connection Lunch

  • Design Workshop

  • Meet for Drinks + Dinner (Optional)

Day 2
  • Daybreak Hike & Ocean Swim

  • Breakfast @ Hotel

  • Field visit to a local community near the iconic Gros Morne National Park

  • Packed lunch

  • Design Sprint Part 2 + National Codesign Virtual Presentations

  • Dinner at local restaurant

Are you interested in helping to shape the experience? Join our hosting circle. Contact us below

We acknowledge and are grateful for the opportunity to gather on land which is in traditional Mi’kmaw territory, and we acknowledge with respect the diverse histories and cultures of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit of this province. We also want to acknowledge that the term 'rural' may not represent or encompass  the living and ancestral knowledge of lands and waterways that we speak of and that this terminology can also be used as a way to be complicit in on-going colonial discourse. We also acknowledge that 'design' disciplines have been complicit in the appropriation and destruction of traditional cultures and knowledge lineages. As First Peoples have done since time immemorial, we strive to be responsible stewards of the land and to respect the cultures, ceremonies, and traditions of all who call it home. As we open our hearts and minds to the past, we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future for all.

Join the Movement!
Host a Conversation, an Engagement, a Provocation, a Walk or Co-Design Event in Your Community.
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Monique Blough

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Director - The Social Impact Lab Alberta

Responsible Disruptor + Human Connector

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National Rural
CoDesign Day

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October 25th
Brooks, Alberta

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Sydney Johnson

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Design Lead at J5

Empathy Champion & Impact

Meet Your Conference Planning CoConspirators


Raïsa Mirza

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Systems Design for Rural Areas.

Co-Founder WabiSabiJetty.

Founder Rural Design Network.


Kristofer Kelly-Frere

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Creative Lead at J5.

Playful Architect. Systemic Designer.

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Todd Hennessey

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Former Dean of Fine Arts.

Prof. Theatre and Design Enthusiast.

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Dr. Kelly Vodden

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Rural Geographer and Community Practitioner with decades of experience in community engaged research.

Dr. Ken Carter

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Director of Research and Engagement, Grenfell Campus


Practice Extension

After the conference, Join Kristofer Kelly-Frère and Raïsa Mirza for a 3 day practice extension exploring what it means to support a rural design practice. Begin by hiking and sleeping on the earth's mantle in Gros Morne National park, tour the Northen Peninsula & Viking settlements. Spend time deepening your design skills and connecting with rural communities. Build your skills in systems thinking and social impact design. Combined with periods of deep rest and rejuvenation, this is a perfect way to explore Newfoundland and return home refreshed and more creative.

Partners and Supporters

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Conference Fees & Cost

Cost - 25$ for students / 50$ for communities. Professional Ticket 150$ 


* Conference fees directly support speaker fees and community access.

Virtual Pass for Keynote available for free.

National Codesign Day Toolkits available 


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