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Onassis Creative Studio

Monday 29 March 2021 to Tuesday 30 March 2021

Beyond Recycling

For the past four years, our Circular Cultures programme has focused on the role of design in climate change and on the creative practices that will lead us to a more sustainable future. Taking the fashion industry as our starting point, we introduced Crafting the Future to the public as a means to address sustainability through fashion design, crafts and making culture. The programme continued with Circular Cultures, highlighting circularity as the lens to look at innovation and materials, and as a tool to devise sustainable models for the design and creative community.

As the virtual word increasingly encroaches on the physical world, this year’s edition of Circular Cultures explores what a return to materials and their properties means for circular design and its future. What do we know about materials and the creative practices they give rise to? How does the digital transformation of life affect our relationship with them, their value chains, their use and conceptual framework?

Adopting a fully virtual format, the British Council and Onassis Stegi present a two-day programme comprised of a conference on the first day with keynote talks and panel discussions, followed by a day dedicated to workshops and masterclasses delivered by academics, established and emerging designers, as well as artists.

The programme focuses on circular design and materials through two distinct perspectives: material wisdom and material waste. On day one, speakers from the UK, Greece and Europe will look at the inherent wisdom of materials and examine how it can be utilised to transform our relationship with waste materials. On the second day, workshops and masterclasses aimed at designers, artists and professionals from the creative industries will showcase innovative practices in circular materials.

Download the full programme in the ‘Documents’ section below.


Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jolyon Bexon, Head of Retail at RÆBURN
  • Professor Marcos Cruz, Professor of Innovative Environments at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
  • Dr Brenda Parker, Associate Professor in Sustainable Bioprocess Design at the Department of Biochemical Engineering, University College London
  • Shneel Malik, Architect and Biodesign Researcher, PhD Candidate and Design Tutor at Bio-ID Lab
  • Areti Markopoulou, Academic Director at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona
  • Yasmine Ostendorf, Researcher and Curator, Founder of Green Art Lab Alliance
  • Gina Buenfeld-Murley, Curator at Camden Arts Centre
  • Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion
  • Costas Kazantzis, Creative Technologist at Fashion Innovation Agency
  • Cathrine Barth, Founder of Circularities, Board Member of Nordic Circular Hotspot
  • Anastasia Pistofidou, Fab Textiles and Fabricademy Director at Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)
  • Seetal Solanki, Founder and Director of Ma-tt-er
  • Wilson Oryema, Artist, Writer and Entrepreneur
  • Christopher Brellis, Design Innovation, Education and Management
  • Danielle Elsener, Designer and Founder of Decode
  • Tessa Silva-Dawson, Artist
  • Maria Varela, Multidisciplinary Artist
  • Olga Hatzidaki, Curator and Co-Founder of Tavros
  • Diti Kotecha, Designer and Founder of Thela
  • Savvas Laz, Designer
  • Maria-Olga Vlachou, Designer and Founder of Postfolk

Download the speakers’ bios in the ‘Documents’ section below.

Participation in the conference is free following online registration.

Register by 28 March 2021.

Workshops and masterclasses

The second day of the event will offer two workshops and one masterclass which will allow participants to explore some of the ideas presented at the conference in more immersive sessions.

  • Unity Workshop – Introduction to game engine technology for building digital fashion experiences
    Costas Kazantzis, Creative Technologist at Fashion Innovation Agency
  • Decorated Bread: Dough as a creative material for exploring cultural symbols (masterclass)
    Maria Varela, Interdisciplinary Artist
  • Open biomaterial recipes: exploring different ways to create biobased products through circular design
    Anastasia Pistofidou, Researcher, Co-founder of and Fabricademy, Textile and Technology Academy

Download the workshop descriptions in the ‘Documents’ section below.

Participation in the workshops is free following online registration.

Register by 26 March 2021.

Workshop applications will be reviewed and participants will be selected based on the relevance of their responses to the subject matter of the workshop. Successful applicants will be notified by email.

Workshops will be conducted in English.

Online exhibition: Dematerialising the art object

As part of Circular Cultures: Materials, PCAI (Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative) will present works from its collection in an online exhibition entitled Dematerialising the art object. Participating artists include James Bridle, Marcus Hanacam & Roswitha Schuller, Vassilis Karouk, Almagul Menlibayeva, Kosmas Nikolaou and Eva Papamargariti. The exhibition is curated by Kika Kyriakakou, PCAI Artistic Director.

The exhibition will be available on PCAI’s YouTube channel from 29 March to 11 April 2021.

About Circular Cultures

Circular Cultures is a new British Council sustainable design and creative economies programme in EU Europe, which aims to promote greater awareness around sustainable design, circularity and making cultures. It aims to embed a more critical dialogue around design and circularity, develop the skills and knowledge of creative leaders, and create new EU networks around sustainability and circularity.

In Greece, Circular Cultures is organised in collaboration with Onassis Stegi and is an integral part of the broader collaboration between the British Council and the Onassis Foundation aimed at the development of an ongoing and action-oriented public space for ethical crafts, circular design, materials and fashion sustainability.

Circular Cultures is part of the British Council global programme Making Matters, which aims to foster a global dialogue around the topic of circular design. The multi-disciplinary programme explores how principles of the circular economy can be a catalyst for creativity, collaboration and regenerative thinking within architecture, design and fashion practice.


For further information, please contact us:

Maria Papaioannou | 210 369 2336
Katerina Galani | 210 369 2386

Circular Cultures: Materials is co-produced with Onassis Stegi.

With the support of the Embassy of Norway in Greece.

The online exhibition Dematerialising the art object is in collaboration with Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI).