Internationally acclaimed speakers set for Design Series event at The MET

Two of the world’s most acclaimed speakers in their field will be the very special guests at the final Design Series event at The MET within the Maroochydore CBD on Thursday November 24.

Kevin Finn and Elizabeth Farrelly will attend a special in-conversation event as they discuss the place of beauty and creativity in our future as the globe tackles climate change, inequality, urban development and the post pandemic world.

SunCentral City Activation Project Manager Bronwyn Adams said she was thrilled to have both Kevin and Elizabeth speak at the event.

“Kevin and Elizabeth are absolute rock stars in their fields, both are prolific writers and thinkers and we are looking forward to them presenting challenging insights from a local and national perspective.

“This important conversation will deep dive into the most pressing issues our cities and regions face today. We will also explore the ways in which beauty and creativity might be part of the solution rather than an optional extra,” Bronwyn said.

“Our last Design Series event of the year will be a great opportunity for us to be enlivened through ideas and conversation, and enjoy amazing food that is included in the ticket price by Something for Catering, artwork by local Yann van Zijl and of course bar open and operated by the Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance.”

Elizabeth Farrelly

Elizabeth Farrelly is a Sydney Morning Herald columnist, and Walkley-shortlisted journalist, critic and essayist, trained in architecture, science and philosophy and is fascinated by how humans engage with nature to make culture.

Elizabeth said while beauty may be subjective it is precisely why it matters.  Its subjectivity takes it from an optional externality for when you have time or money, to being as daily a necessity as bread or water.

“Beauty used to be the focus on intense imaginative engagement – up there with truth and love – it was tested and scrutinised, pummelled and parsed, debated, refined and above all taught,” she said. 

Kevin Finn

Kevin Finn is an author, advisor and internationally recognised designer who began his career in Dublin with Averill Brophy Associates (now called Amp Visual), the studio that has designed all of U2’s album covers. Founder of TheSumOf, editor and publisher of the independent journal Open Manifesto, Kevin Finn has interviewed some of the world’s most provocative thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, Alain de Botton and Edward de Bono (to name a few), Kevin will work his magic on stage asking the curly questions for which he is well known.  As a leader in design thinking and branding (including creating the iconic and enduring SBS logo), Kevin will also have copies of his recent book, Brand Principles: How to be a 21st Century Brand available, delving into the attitudes and mindsets that make brands thrive in a hyper competitive world. 

“My personal philosophy is that there is wisdom in learning. One of the best ways to suppress doubt is to commit to your decision and make it work, however that might be. When you succumb to doubt, you are paralysed.

The Design Series: Is Beauty Dead event will be held on Thursday 24 November 2022 from 5.30-8.30pm at The MET Maroochydore. Tickets are just $50 ex GST per person which includes a sumptuous grazing table from Something for Catering. A bar will be open with all profits directed to local arts projects. To book tickets visit:

The Design Series is presented by SunCentral and the MET in partnership with key industry groups AIA, AILA, EA, PIA and SCCA. The Design Series has been created to deliver thought provoking content and facilitate connections across key industry groups from the Arts, Architecture, Digital, Engineering, Environment, Landscape and Planning Sectors.

About the presenters

Elizabeth Farrelly is a columnist, essayist, novelist, critic and speaker. Trained in architecture, science and philosophy, she is fascinated by how humans engage with nature to make culture. Over thirty years her Sydney Morning Herald column on urbanism, planning, planting, climate, politics and public art has seen city-making go from back-page news to headline material. With a PhD in Sydney urbanism, Farrelly has been Assistant Editor of the Architectural Review in London, a City of Sydney Councillor, Associate Professor (Practice) in the Australian Graduate School of Urbanism at the University of NSW and inaugural chair of the Australia Award for Urban Design. The author of several books, including Three Houses – a 1993 monograph on renowned architect Glenn Murcutt and Blubberland; the dangers of happiness (2007) – she is a Walkley-shortlisted journalist, critic and essayist. Elizabeth is currently building a passive off-grid dwelling in rural NSW. Her latest book is Killing Sydney; the fight for a city’s soul (2021).

Kevin Finn is an author, advisor and internationally recognised designer. He began his career in Dublin with Averill Brophy Associates (now called Amp Visual), the studio that has designed all of U2’s album covers. Following this, for seven years he was Joint Creative Director of Saatchi Design, Sydney, part of the Saatchi & Saatchi global network. In 2007, he launched his independent design practice TheSumOf in remote Kununurra, Western Australia, working with

local and regional Aboriginal businesses, while also redesigning the identity for SBS—the world’s most multicultural broadcaster. Currently based in Brisbane, he has since designed the identity and visual language for Edward de Bono’s life’s work and continues to help some of the world’s leading thinkers and businesses to be better understood. For over fifteen years, he actively explored the intersection of design with social, cultural, political and economic issues through his independent publication Open Manifesto. He was also the inaugural TEDxBrisbane speaker and has spoken extensively around the world, often being called on to host events and panel discussions. His book Brand Principles: How to be a 21st Century Brand was published in 2022. Finn lives and works on Turrbul and Jagera Country, and acknowledges Australia’s First Peoples as the original knowledge holders of this Country, paying respect to Elders, both past and present.

Finn is also founder, editor and publisher of Open Manifesto, an independent journal which for 15 years focused on the intersection of design with social, cultural, political and economic issues. Contributors have included Edward de Bono, Noam Chomsky, Alain de Botton (author and founder of The School of Life), various global thought leaders and world-leading designers, an ex-CIA operative, a real-life super hero and a real-life cyborg, among many others.



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