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Conference 2022

We're busy at work crafting an amazing learning and doing experience for you. Check back for details on specific sessions, presenters and collaborators as they get finalized. We love working with new friends, please contact us if you would like to contribute to the programming at the conference or in your own community!


This conference combines formal programming, with space for emergent conversation and action. You can plan to attend presentations & workshops, but also to contribute to important field building conversations as we work together to understand just what "Rural Design" could mean.

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Day 1

  • Daybreak Hike & Ocean Swim

  • Breakfast @ Hotel

  • Keynote + Innovation Centre Tour

  • Networking & Connection Lunch

  • Design Workshop

  • Meet for Drinks + Dinner (Optional)

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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

Introducing some of the presenters, hosts and facilitators joining us on this adventure.


Hi, I'm Sara

I am a creative leader and human-centered designer focused on equity, inclusion and social innovation. After seven years using human-centered design to create new markets for corporate clients, I co-founded Greater Good Studio in 2011 to apply the process and principles of design to the more pressing challenges of the social sector.


My team of “pissed-off optimists" has helped nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies to build internal capacity for social innovation, create and prototype new programs and services, and sustain and scale their impact.

You can learn more about my work at

Hi, I'm Kristofer

I’m a mad-alchemist-poet-guide-firestarter.

I make magic serious business and want to help you explore the edges of what seems possible. I’m a designer, a scribe, a facilitator and a positive deviant.  You can count on me to make sense of chaos and ensure that we have a roadmap leading to a better tomorrow.

I’m an architect by training and a systemic designer by practice with 15 years of experience in the field. I’ve staked my career on the idea that folx will rise to the challenge if asked a good enough question. I’ve worked across a range of public, private and government institutions to build museum experiences, establish design labs, and deliver ground-breaking social R & D projects with community in the lead.


I’m currently the Creative Lead for J5 Design – a studio dedicated to creating a kinder and more beautiful future. I recently lead a social innovation & public health initiative called the Vivo Play Project to cocreate adventure playgrounds, play ambassador training programs, predictive health applications, and partnered with post-secondary to measure the impact on chronic disease. I’m currently working on improving cancer diagnosis experiences, and led a project that was just shortlisted for the Global Service Design Awards 2022 about improving the experience of people accessing affordable housing with the Red Deer Housing Authority.

See what I've been up to at, on linkedin or give me a shout at and we can have a coffee and talk about changing the world.

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Hi, I'm Leila

I’m Leila Beaudoin, an award-winning journalist with 11 years’ experience in the broadcast industry. I was born beneath the midnight sun in Yellowknife and have been revolving around it ever since. 

Over the years, I’ve reported from four Canadian cities—Yellowknife, Regina, Calgary and St. John’s— working two major networks, CBC and CTV. Since 2015, I’ve been reporting and anchoring with NTV in Newfoundland and Labrador where I travel throughout the province to do investigative journalism and spot news coverage that relies heavily on digital storytelling in rural areas. I’m a warm listener and a natural creative.

I deliver a raw, real richness to every piece I create.

But I’m not just a student of life. I have a BA in Journalism (‘11) from the University of Regina, a BA in English (‘08) from Memorial University, and a Certificate in Strategic Communications (‘14).

I’m Leila Beaudoin. I bring facts to life and take stories to heart.

Hi, I'm Keiko

Born of Japanese - Papua New Guinean heritage, Keiko works with Japanese companies in health tech and sustainability as a strategic consultant.


Working across four continents, her experience includes growing teams at Google and developing trade and security in public and non-profit organizations.


With a passion for cross-sector collaboration and social innovation, her work focuses on building purpose-driven programs through communities.


In the past, this has included co-founding two award-winning platforms focused on social impact across the Asia Pacific region (Social Innovation Japan and the Pacific Island Society). 

You can find me on LinkedIn


Hi, I'm Raïsa

I'm a socially engaged designer, researcher, facilitator and storyteller with experience in over 20 countries in a variety of sectors and roles driving social impact through behavioural insights and design. I have worked in health care, conservation, water & sanitation, food security, capacity-building, monitoring and evaluation... all in rural areas!

I am the founder of several impact focused initiatives including WabiSabiJetty, a innovation, design & research consultancy firm based in Tors Cove, Newfoundland & Labrador and of the Rural Design Network.


I am currently the Associate Director, Communities Building Youth Futures at Tamarack Institute, a national program supporting 20 rural and small communities build pathways to education and employment for youth. Previously, I was Director of Innovation at the One Drop Foundation- the Cirque du Soleil's global cause partner.

My "first" job out of university was as a lighthouse keeper in British Colombia. I got hooked on living and working in remote and rural environments and have spent my career supporting rural communities advocate and co-create solutions to challenges they are facing.

You can find me on LinkedIn or Instagram sometimes. Usually, I'm taking long walks in the woods on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland with my rescue dog Bruce.

From Calgary to Edmonton, Lethbridge to Lac La Biche, From Medicine Hat to Morinville, Alberta is full of social innovators who want to create change and improve lives in our community. The Social Impact Lab helps non-profit organizations change the world. We specialize in seeking real solutions for real people, finding what can be done differently to make things better.

We want to support your vision with the tools and knowledge to help your team bring ideas to life. So we’re heading out on tour in search of non-profit organizations and engaged citizens with a desire to incubate, innovate and inspire! We’re seeking Innovative Albertans who want to make a difference and help families, individuals, and their communities.

The Social Impact Lab Alberta will be participating in the National Rural Codesign day on October 25th. 

Visit the SILA Website to learn more about this incredible project. The Social Impact Lab Alberta tour is powered by Creative Partnerships Alberta.

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Hi, I'm Anthony

I’m a builder and a deconstructor. I’m designer and an experience engineer. I’m a playworker and a sense-maker. I love to turn the complex and obscure into something tangible and enjoyable. 


I have a diverse background that started in the trades where I learned to work with my hands, getting a journeyman certification as an electrician. I knew that my passion was in helping people so I found myself on a journey to understand the human experience, for me there is nothing more human and more innovative than play.


I’ve been privileged to have a breadth of work experience that has taken me to work with NGO’s in South East Asia, to bring to life the City of Edmonton’s first Child Friendly Initiative, and currently as an Innovation Designer for the Vivo Play Project in Calgary, Alberta.


I’m always looking for ways to further my own education or experience in the design field, but above all else, I always strive to be playful, brave, and curious.


Detailed Workshops

Chalkboard Drawings


Design Thinking 101 and beyond...

Whether you've been a practicing designer for years, or are new to the field, we believe that everyone has something to contribute to making their communities and lives better.

We'll introduce the basics of design thinking (and beyond) through joyful, hands on making activities & play. And at the same time, explore how our current definitions of design might be too limited for the rural context. 

Learn about innovation & design processes, practices and the mindsets that support them. Get an introduction to the idea of "labs" (and the downsides), and help us develop a roadmap for sharing (and evolving) these tools as we imagine the future of rural design.

DAY 1 Afternoon
Hosted by Kristofer Kelly-Frere & J5 Design

Seeing the System

Generative Scribing

Throughout the conference our facilitators and hosts will help participants make sense of the big themes and ideas that are emerging. We will be hosting a series of "idea harvests" where the group can tease out new threads and help shape the ways we make sense of this emerging field

  • What is the current state of Rural Design in Canada? What's our vision for its future and impact?

  • What will it take to build and sustain strong, empathetic rural design ecosystems?

  • How can rural design empower communities to dream and shape their own futures

DAY 1 & 2
Hosted by Kristofer Kelly-Frere (J5 Design) & friends
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