2020/2021 Committee Report
RGD logo with Designers Supporting Designers to the right beside it

Presented by Greg Dubeau RGD, Committee Chair, at the AGM on April 24, 2021


Pdf of accompanying presentation


2020 was a challenging year for our Committee. Due to the global pandemic and for the safety of our Members, the Events Committee dedicated itself to only virtual events. Physical events such as Designathons, Designers + Drinks + Discussions and Future by Design have been postponed until further notice.


Many of our events transitioned online and provided an opportunity for the RGD to innovate on how live virtual events can be experienced. Events such as the DesignThinkers Conference, Design Educators Conference, and In-House Design Conference all moved to virtual platforms where they were met with praise and gained registration numbers competitive with previously held live physical events.


To speak more about RGD In-House Design Initiatives, here is a report by Events Committee Co-chair and host of the In-House Perspectives webinar series, Kathleen Scott RGD. [Kathleen’s video]


RGD webinars have been a consistent source of inspiration and education for our Members. We have continued exploring opportunities to develop and provide speakers and subject matter that speak to global design trends as well as our unique Canadian design community.


With an overview of our webinar activity, here is a report by Events Committee Secretary, Ceri Tully Prov. RGD. [Ceri’s video]


We have been dedicated to exploring new opportunities to provide education, insight and inspiration to our Members and design community through the development of our webinars. In 2020, we developed new programming in the form of series to provide a breadth of information on subjects such as in-house design and accessible design. We continue this in 2021 with two new series: one on UX Design, hosted by Magued Hanna RGD, and a Signage series, hosted by Teo Herman RGD.


For an overview on the Accessibility in Design webinar series and launch of the User Experience webinar series, here is Magued Hanna. [Magued’s video]


Virtual programming provided us the opportunity to innovate on some of our physical events. Events such as Designers + Drinks + Discussion evolved to become the Design Social—a virtual event for RGD Members to discuss the challenges and opportunities provided by the shifting economic and social climate. These events provide an outlet for designers from across the country to support each other and speak to (or just listen in) general conversations about design or be part of larger conversations such as the BIPoC design social that was held in June—where we provided a platform for the BIPoC design community to share their experiences and have a platform for their voices to be heard.


The Creative Directions Conference found new life as a virtual event—bringing together students and grads from across the country for inspiring presentations, portfolio reviews and workshops. The three day event held between April 27 and May 1 brought together 145 attendees and 45 speakers.


The 2021 Creative Directions conference takes place May 3–7. The format of the Conference will have three streams of programming for design professionals at every stage of their career.

  1. Students and Graduates
  2. Intermediate Designers (1–6 years)
  3. Senior Designers (7–15 years)


For more information on the conference, speakers, events or registration, visit the rgd.ca/creativedirections.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DesignThinkers Vancouver was postponed in the Spring of 2020, and ultimately amalgamated with the 2020 Toronto Conference to become the very first DesignThinkers Virtual Conference which took place in November.


The conference spanned two weeks and provided many of our usual activities such as keynotes and concurrent presentations, workshops, roundtable discussions, portfolio reviews and various hand-held activities provided through a conference handbook mailed to interested attendees prior to the Conference.


New to the Conference was the online hangout app Discord. Discord provided an opportunity for attendees to chat synchronously while watching presentations and engage presenters and attendees throughout the conference. Events Committee Members used Discord to help host a series of roundtable discussions using the video chat feature.


Attendance for the online event remained competitive with numbers from our previous years’ live events. The 2020 DesignThinkers Conference hosted 1,640 attendees and 79 speakers and panelists.


And finally, we are very excited to announce that all of the RGD events and future events such as DesignThinkers 2021 can be easily added to your desktop calendar with a single click. Visit rgd.ca and download RGD’s yearly public calendar to keep up to date with what virtual events fit into your personal schedule.


Recorded video content from all RGD conferences, webinars and virtual events can be watched again by Members after logging into the rgd.ca member login page.


A year of physical distancing did not slow down the calendar of RGD events. We not only adapted the execution of our events but we also adjusted our goals for 2021. To meet the needs of our Members, we redefined our 2021 goals to face the challenges we are all experiencing as designers.


Moving forward into 2021, the Events Committee has committed to five goals:

  1. Continue to develop a robust program of professional development webinar series and sessions
  2. Assist RGD staff to develop the program for the In-House Design Conference
  3. Explore and research potential topics and speakers for tutorial-style webinars, virtual workshops and virtual courses
  4. Research and propose options for RGD events that would be targeted toward clients, hiring managers, and business
  5. Assist RGD to promote virtual events on public, news platforms, virtual calendars, blogs, etc.


None of the new and annual events we all look forward to could have succeeded without the hard-working staff. In particular, the Events Committee would like to thank Hilary Ashworth, Abdul Omar and Rebecca Dudgeon.


And of course, thank you to the current, former and recent Events Committee Members for all of your hard work and insights, which help bring RGD events to all the different communities across Canada without having a physical presence. Without the efforts of these fine people, we would not be making the progress that we’ve seen in recent years, and more specifically during a very uncertain 2020-2021.


Thank you to Diana Castaneda RGD, Alan Chan RGD, Nicole Duncan RGD, Nicole Galatis Prov. RGD, Magued Hanna RGD, Teo Herman RGD, Cole Nicks RGD, Jaimie Pullinger RGD, Andres Ramirez Prov. RGD, Kathleen Scott RGD, Anjanette Takashima Brooks (Affiliate Member), Ceri Tully Prov. RGD and Alex Vranjesevic RGD.