Image: View over Wellington from Mt Victoria

2019 NZILA Firth Conference

Ōtautahi Christchurch | 6-8 November 2019

2019 NZILA Firth Conference

View conference photos here


View Highlights from Day One

View Highlights from Day Two

NZILA President Brad Coombs believes the theme of the conference, Disruption, in conjunction with the calibre of the international and local speakers “represents a step change in the quality of our conference events. The profession and the Institute should be very proud.”


Change occurs across scales and between many aspects of society, land and design. A change can be a planned event, such as a technology advance, and we react to this with a modicum of adjustment. However, change sometimes occurs rapidly, without warning, and leads to major changes to the systems in place. These encourage innovation, creativity and a rewiring of existing thinking – this type of change is disruptive. While we may malign DISRUPTION with a nuanced negativity, it ultimately forces us to critique what we know and how we operate in an urgent manner and provides us with an opportunity to progress by abandoning those lines that were limiting us.

The 2019 theme, DISRUPTION, centred on the responses that critical-thinking people have actioned in the face of disruption, whether this has been instigated by natural systems or humans. Disruptive change might be planned and intentional, or it might occur rapidly and without warning. This year's conference discussed the relationship between design and disruption, and considered how we encourage innovation and creativity. How do we disrupt convention and create new ways of acting and being?

DISRUPTION, is discussed in two parts: nature disrupting, and people disrupting. There were the following strands within the main theme:

Ecological Disruption
Disaster Disruption
Food & Land-Use Disruption
Social Disruption
Urban Disruption
Transport & Infrastructure Disruption
Practice Disruption