Contributed as a keynote speaker, panelist, panel chair and/or workshop host at more than seventy leading international conferences, seminars, festivals, awards ceremonies and product launches worldwide, including:


Speaker, 5x15 / Monument Masterclass, The Monument, London, 2017

Chair, Friday Late, V&A Museum, London, 2017

Speaker, Exploring the Spaces of Tomorrow, London Design Festival, 2017

Speaker, Women Leadership Conference, Cluj-Napoca, 2017

Speaker, ADAPTr / BioSalon, London, 2016

Speaker, Interface, Manchester, 2016

Speaker, Sheppard Robson, Manchester, 2016

Speaker, Architecture Conference & Expo, Cluj-Napoca, 2016

Speaker/Panel Chair, London Design Biennale, 2016

Speaker, Vision London: The Future of the Built Environment, 2016

Speaker, BioChanges, Royal College of Art, London, 2016

Speaker, Edinburgh International Science Festival, 2016

Speaker, WILD: Renaturing the City, London, 2016

Keynote, BioEngineering Congress, Izmir, 2015

Speaker, Festival of the Future City, Bristol, 2015

Speaker, CIO Information Symposium, London, 2015

Speaker, Science Museum Lates, London, 2015

Speaker, Clerkenwell Design Week, London, 2015

Panelist, Longitude Prize talk, Science Museum, London, 2015

Speaker, TEDxLSE, London School of Economics, 2015

Keynote, Aurajet Global Launch, The Shard, London, 2015

Keynote, Unilever, The Pitch, London, 2015

Panelist, Oxford Climate Forum, University of Oxford, 2014

Keynote, Ravensbourne, Greenwich Peninsula, London, 2014

Panelist, Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge, 2014

Keynote, Ravensbourne, Greenwich Peninsula, London, 2014

Keynote, Sustainability Challenges, CIOB Centre, Coventry, 2014

Keynote, Inventing the Future, Royal Society, London, 2014

Keynote, Urban Morphogenesis, The Bartlett, London, 2014

Keynote, The Future of Energy conference, Warwick, 2014

Keynote, Re:Work Cities Summit, London, 2013

Keynote, Homes: The Future of Housing, London, 2013

Keynote, Oslo Architecture Triennale, Norway, 2013

Keynote, Manchester International Festival, 2013

Keynote, Women's Social Leadership Awards, London, 2013

Keynote, Write the Future conference, Royal Society, London, 2013

Keynote, 2Degrees Live conference, London, 2013

Keynote, 4 Minute Warning: Your Chance to Think the Unthinkable, London, 2012

In Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson for StarTalk at Ignition, New York, 2012

Keynote, Aegis Media Russia Autumn Session, Moscow, 2012

Keynote, Natures at Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire, 2012

Keynote, The Future We Choose book launch, London, 2012

Keynote,The Future We Want: A New Paradigm For a Sustainable 2050, London, 2012

Keynote Lecture, Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona, 2012

Keynote, Sustainable Business in Practice conference, London, 2012

Keynote, Ecobuild seminars, London, 2012

Keynote, CIOB CPD lecture 'Future Design to 2050', Salford, 2012

Keynote, Tomorrow’s Natural Business conference, London, 2011

Keynote + Workshop host, World Congress on Sustainable Technologies, London, 2011

Keynote, Lux Magazine’s 'Lux Energy Club', London, 2011

Keynote, CRG Exchange Seminar, London, 2011

Keynote + Panel Chair, International Bionic Engineering Conference, Boston, 2011

Keynote, Forum for the Built Environment, Liverpool, 2011

Panelist, Hay-on-Earth, Hay Festival, 2011

Keynote, Lunchtime Lecture, NSG Group, Lathom Laboratories, 2011

Keynote Lecture, School of Art & Design, University of Salford, 2011

Keynote + Panelist, EcoBuild conference, London, 2011

Keynote + Panelist, Sci-Fi London Film Festival, London, 2011

Keynote + Panelist, European Future Energy Forum, London, 2010

Keynote + Workshop host, Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference, 2010

Keynote, InterACT Participatory Media Forum, Herefordshire, 2009

Keynote, Media Ecology & Post Industrial Production Conference, Salford, 2009

Keynote, Greengaged, London Design Festival, 2009

Panel Chair, Smart City Futures conference, Salford, 2009

Keynote, b.Tween Interactive Media Forum, Liverpool, 2009

Keynote, Sustainable Design Network Annual Seminar, Loughborough, 2009

Speaker, UK Aware, Sustainability Expo, London, 2009

Speaker + Panelist, London Aware, 2008



"Once again thank you a lot for your fantastic speech! Lots of positive feedback from our clients... the best speech of the evening, fascinating, perfectly presented - how do you manage to create this positive atmosphere around, it's just wonderful."

Aegis Media Russia


"Melissa participated in a panel discussion about sustainable design alongside other well-known design commentators and experts at Ecobuild 2011, during which she spoke with passion and clarity as she described her ideas about how ‘design’ and designers can adapt in a world where sustainability is imperative. Her engaging style and creative content played an important role in delivering a lively and informed debate which was very well received by the designer / architect audience."

Managing Director, Ecobuild, IBE Ltd


"Reputation, professionalism and experience are just three factors to consider when selecting speakers for events and Melissa excels in all three. She is inspiring and thought provoking and I would highly recommend trying to get her on your agenda."

Head of Conferences, The Drum


"Melissa gave a head to head interview themed ‘Start-up Meets Sustainability’ at the b.Tween Interactive Media Forum 2009, held at FACT in Liverpool and broadcast live to remote audiences in Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol. Smart, creative and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of sustainability, she guided a young digital entrepreneur and the audience, comprising interactive media executives from leading PLCs, NGOs and government organizations, through the key environmental and social issues shaping tomorrow’s digital industries. Insightful without being evangelical, she is able to both illustrate the opportunities, as well as the challenges sustainability presents. A month later Melissa chaired the ‘Policy Futures: Towards a Framework for Sustainable Economies’ panel, featuring panelists Professor Takeda Shuzaburo – Executive Director of The Business University Forum of Japan, Nicky Gavron – Londonwide Assembly Member and David Shaw - Director of Industry and Public Sector at Alcatel-Lucent, at the Smart City Futures conference held at The Lowry Centre, Manchester. Simultaneously engaging both a live and remote audience, using digital technologies including Twitter to source real-time questions and audience feedback, Melissa chaired the session with aplomb. Not afraid to field challenging questions and encourage panelists to dig deep into the issues, her style was perfectly suited to the progressive style and ambitious aims of the conference."

Founding Director Just.b Productions


"Melissa participated, alongside other experts including Trevor Baylis OBE, in a panel debate about Eco-design during the first pioneering UK AWARE event in May 2008. Her knowledge and expertise in this field were only surpassed by her ability to communicate her ideas to the audience in a fun, straightforward and engaging way. I would thoroughly recommend Melissa for any speaking engagement of any kind."

Director, UK Aware


"Melissa gave a talk to scientists and engineers from the flat glass industry at the NSG European Technical Centre, Lathom in April 2011 as part of a series of lectures on sustainability in the building industry. Melissa spoke with great passion about her ideas for using nature as inspiration for designing buildings and cities with a view to being able to withstand and possibly adapt to environmental changes and even natural disasters. Some of her ideas are controversial and there was a lively debate during the Q&A session which would have lasted all afternoon but for time constraints. I would recommend Melissa for any lecture series related to sustainability as her ideas would have interest and appeal to a wide-variety of audiences."

Senior Technologist, NSG Group


"Melissa was very knowledgeable and the architects and designers present thought it [her keynote] was very insightful."

Managing Director, Methven, UK


"Melissa's brief was to present a 'provocation' around participation and media. She provided an intelligent and focussed speech which got the whole group thinking in new and innovative ways. She is well informed, well connected and open to new approaches."

Director of Catcher Media and Curator's of Inter.ACT


"inspired, challenged and entertained"

Lux Magazine



Select Past Events

Greening the City, Edinburgh International Science Festival, 29 March 2016

Part of the official public programme of the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Festival of Architecture 2016, Greening the City explored urban planning and green innovation, and their links with public health.


Prof Richard Mitchell, professor of Public Health, University of Glasgow

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City

Pierre Forrisier, director, Biomorphis


WILD: ReNaturing the City, London College of Communications, 10 February 2016

Part of the LCC public programme and Green Week 2016, WILD explored the value of Nature in our urban lives and asked questions such as: How might we biohack the city? Can we rewild modern life? Is Natural selection a design process? Is unwilding uncivilized? Can designers and artists co-create our future with Nature?  Is our future feral? Are we the regeneration generation? The symposium brought together presentations, debate and performance to investigate the exciting intersections of Nature, design, technology and urban life. 


Siân Berry, Green candidate for London Mayor 2016

Andrew Grant, landscape architect, Grant Associates

Carlo Laurenzi OBE, ReWilding Britain campaign

Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City

Prof. Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of the School of Design, LCC

Christian Kerrigan, architect, artist and technologist, Astudio

Richard Reynolds, radical gardener, Guerrilla Gardening

Tim Brooke, designer, Future Cities Catapult

Daniel Raven-Ellison, founder, Greater London National Park

Johanna Gibbons, landscape architect, J&L Gibbons

Andrew Merritt, social/environmental designer, Something & Sons

David Bond, documentary maker and campaigner, Green Lions


VIIth International Bioengineering Congress, Izmir Architecture Center, Izmir, 19 – 21 November 2015

Bringing together leading-edge bioengineering researchers and entrepreneurs to share their experiences, expose existing potential, reveal the latest developments in the field, and initiate commercially viable projects between companies and researchers, the over-arching theme of discussions centred on “solutions of nature for societal challenges’.

Many and varied fields of bioengineering were explored, including Biosensors, Biosimilars, Smart Materials, Microfluidics, Biomechanics and Prosthetics, DNA Origami, Theranostics, Regenerative Medicine, Assistive Technologies, Biorefinery, Bioproduction, Biotechnology, Environmental Biodesign, Bioarchitecture, Biocouture, Bioart, Entrepreneurship for Biodesign and IP in Biodesign Research, Development and Commerce. 


Prof. J. Yasha Kresh, Dept. of Cardiothoracic Surgery & College of Medicine, Drexel University

Prof. Yannis Missirlis, Biomechanics & Biomedical Engineering, University of Patras

Ling Peng, Interdisciplinary Center on Nanoscience, French National Center for Scientific Research

Dr. Suwan Jayasinghe, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University College London

Melissa Sterry, School of Architecture & Landscape, University of Greenwich

Prof. Adrie Straathof, Dept of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology

Prof. Paul Gordon, Bioengineering and Medicine, Stanford University

Prof. Antonios G. Mikos, Bioengineering & Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University

Prof. Gamze Torun Kose, Dept. of Genetics and Bioengineering, Yeditepe University


The abstract for Sterry's keynote read: 

Building Brighter Futures with Biomimetics

In an age of unprecedented local, national and global challenges, how might Biomimetics and its sister disciplines in bioscience, biodesign and bioart, help humanity discover and develop solutions at the individual, city and societal scale? What potential do the insights, inventions and innovations of the past several years indicate may be possible in the coming seventy years? What risks do we, as researchers and practitioners working across the ‘bio’ professions face, and what opportunities have we yet to harness on this journey? What might our professions look like in the coming years and decades, and what impact might they make - how might we collectively build a brighter future with biomimetics?


New Thinking about Cities, Festival of the Future City, November 18th – 19th 2015

This two-part session brought together world-leading authorities on urban foresight to present new thinking about cities from about the world, and to debate and discuss the possibilities thereof.


Mark Walport, government chief scientific adviser

Cristiana Fragola, regional director for Europe/Middle East, Rockefeller Foundation

Charlie Catlett, snr. computer scientist, Argonne National Laboratory

Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City

Mike Rawlinson, founding director, City ID

Richard Sennett, professor of sociology, LSE

Charles Landry, owner, Comedia


What Happened to Utopian Cities?, Festival of the Future City, Bristol, November 18th 2015

In the late 1960s the world was faced with impending disaster: the height of the Cold War, the end of oil, and the decline of great cities throughout the world. Out of this crisis came a new generation that hoped to build a better future. Chaired by Jonathan Derbyshire, the Managing Editor of Prospect, Douglas Murphy, author of the forthcoming Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture, Darran Anderson, author of Imaginary Cities, and design scientist and futurist Melissa Sterry, discussed ‘What Happened to Utopian Cities’. 


Nature-Rich Cities, Festival of the Future City, Bristol, November 18th 2015

Part of the official programme of Bristol’s Festival of Ideas, the event explored how to integrate nature in urban living, design and planning, and debate the challenges of making our urban landscapes wildlife-friendly, both to protect existing wildlife and to attract more. Themes included ‘The Value of Urban Nature and Natural Capital’, Promoting and Developing Nature in Cities’ and ‘Architecture, Nature and Wildlife in Cities’.


Tony Juniper, campaigner and author of What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?

David Goode, author of Nature in Towns and Cities

Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City

John Alker, director of policy and communications, UK Green Building Council

Melissa Harrison, novelist and writer of the Times Nature Notebook

Jane Memmott, professor of ecology and head of school, University of Bristol

Mathew Frith, director of conservation, London Wildlife Trust

Rab Bennetts, co-foudner, Bennetts Associates

Mike Roberts, managing director, HAB Housing


CIO Information Symposium, London, June 30th 2015

The overall aims and objectives of the CIO Information Symposium included communicating the Defence CIS Vision aligned to the Government ICT agenda; influence industry research and development in support of the vision; explore new and emerging technologies for information exploitation; provide a mechanism to enable the information professional, industry and JFC communities to build and develop on the vision.

Its ‘Innovative Thinking’ session set to address the issue that it can be difficult to garner new ideas and to identify those worth pursuing, especially when your organisation has a strong culture and a fixed collective view of the world. We need to challenge these perceptions or “received wisdoms” in order to create opportunities. The session asked the question “do we need a new breed of innovators or just the means to give our own people a louder voice?”


Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City

Professor Karen Carr, director of Centre for Human System, Cranfield Defence and Security


The Next Big Thing, Science Museum, London, June 24th 2015

Part of the Science Museum's 'Lates' series, 'The Next Big Thing' was curated by the Royal Society and explored myriad aspects of our future world through a series of talks, exhibits, live experiments and entertainment shows. Themes explored included the ethics of robotics and ethical robots, biocomputing and biomimetic information technology, levitating transport systems, smart materials and responsive environments, neurological science, and biological and artificial intelligence. Entertainment included a silent disco, talkaoke, simulators, participatory experiments, and creative workshops. Saturday-night primetime television meets Horizon, Punk Science: The Game Show is a popular monthly feature of Lates that enables audience members to pit their wits against scientists in an attempt to win prizes. Melissa joined material scientist Kristina Kareh, Ecologist Kris Murray and Data Scientist Gareth Morinan, together with gameshow host, comedienne Amalia Vitale, to form the scientific bill for Punk Science's 'The Great Future Challenge' edition of the show.


Biophilic Design Talk, Clerkenwell Design Week, London, May 20th 2015

Organised by global modular flooring manufacturer Interface, as part of the official Clerkenwell Design Week schedule, this inspirational evening explored the positive impact of nature inspired design and well-being. The Interface Concept Design team were on hand to discuss more about biophilic design and creating human-centred spaces that positively impact occupant health and well-being.


Sebastian Conran, industrial designer and founder of Sebastian Conran Associates

Oliver Heath, biophilic design ambassador for Interface and founder of Heath Design

Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City


The Longitude Prize 'What Makes a Winner' talk, Science Museum, March 16th 2015

The Longitude Prize is a historic challenge with a £10 million prize fund that will be awarded to a competitor who can develop a point-of-care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed and, if they are, which ones to use. Hosted by NESTA and held at the Science Museum, this event discussed how to solve one of today’s biggest scientific and technological challenges with some of the Britain’s greatest entrepreneurial and scientific minds. 


Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Longitude Prize Committee chair

Imran Khan, CEO, British Science Association and Longitude Prize Committee member  

Steve Cross, head of public engagement, University College London

Professor Mike Sharland, professor of paediatric infectious diseases, St George's University

Melissa Sterrydesign scientist & futurist, University of Greenwich

Professor Chris Toumazou, regius professor of engineering, Imperial College


TEDxLSE, London School of Economics & Politics, London, March 8th 2015

TEDxLSE is an annual conference organised by the London School of Economics and Politics to support innovation, critical thinking and leadership for meaningful change. Themed 'Global Pioneers', the event brought together an array of radical thinkers from diverse areas of science, technology, the arts and humanities to present their ideas and insights on tackling global environmental and social issues.


Tak Lo, director of Techstars

Russell Buckley, UK Government advisor

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City

Jane Burston, head of Centre for Carbon Management, National Physics Laboratory

Jonathan Glennie, director of policy and research, Save the Children UK


 Oxford Climate Forum, University of Oxford, November 22nd 2014

Organised by the University of Oxford, Climate Forum is the leading student-run conference of its kind, bringing together top environmental figures and thinkers together with over 300 students from Oxford and across the world. Its mission is to provide inspiration and knowledge for tomorrow’s leaders, creating opportunities for young people to tackle the challenges of climate change. 

Oxford Climate Forum featured lectures, panel discussions, debates, and workshops, all of which informed and challenged participants. Most importantly, the conference inspired attendees to take greater action within the climate change arena on all levels, from individual behaviour change to international collaboration. Melissa Sterry participated as a panelist on the role of cities in mitigating the impacts of climate change and its secondary impacts.


Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, director of energy research, Oxford University

Lord Anthony Giddens, fellow of King's College Cambridge & emeritus professor at LSE.

Professor Lord John Krebs, principal of Jesus College & professor in zoology, Oxford University

Dr Timothy Stone CBE, snr. expert non-executive, Board of the European Investment Bank

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City / University of Greenwich

Professor Gideon Henderson FRS, head of department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Juliet Davenport OBE, founder & CEO, Good Energy Group PLC


Ravensbourne, London, October 28th 2014

Located at Greenwich Peninsula in London, Ravensbourne is one of the UK's leading media and design focused universities. Melissa delivered a 60-minute keynote lecture on Design Futures to postgraduate students and researchers participating in its Design Innovation programme, after which she led a 60-minute workshop expanding on facets of the topic, including designing for complexity, trend forecasting, design foresight and scenario building.


The abstract for Sterry's keynote read: 

Design Futures: Designing for the Unknown

How can designers ensure to deliver intelligent, relevant and robust solutions in an age of exponential change? What do the most consistently innovative and impactful designers of both the past and the present have in common and why? Topics covered will include: the theory, practice and history of futurism, designing for complexity, short, medium and long-term trend forecasting, design foresight, scenario building, interdisciplinary practice in the arts, humanities and sciences.


The Science of Fiction: Science at Cambridge Festival of Ideas, October 22nd 2014

In 1735 Jonathan Swift described for the first time that Mars had two moons, 142 years before they were discovered. In 1914 HG Wells predicted the atomic bomb, 31 years before it shook the world. Hosts Andrew Holding (BBC/Guardian) and Will Thompson returned with a stellar panel of scientists, authors and researchers to ask what can our stories tell us about the future? Organised by the University of Cambridge, The Science of Fiction: Science took place at the Cambridge Science Centre, as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2014.


Alastair Reynolds, award-winning author & former ESA researcher

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City / University of Greenwich

Lewis Dartnell, astrobiologist and author

Melanie Keene, author & researcher at University of Cambridge


Ravensbourne, London, May 20th 2014

Located at Greenwich Peninsula in London, Ravensbourne is one of the UK's leading media and design focused universities. Melissa delivered a 50-minute keynote lecture on designing biologically informed systems to postgraduate students and researchers participating in its Design Innovation programme, after which she led a 60-minute workshop expanding on facets of the topic. 


The abstract for Sterry's keynote read: 

Designing Biologically Informed Systems

How can biology potentially inform and inspire systemic innovation in the cities and societies of the now, near and far future? What insights into tackling sustainability challenges including resource shortages and distribution, pollution and waste management, and resilience to extreme meteorological and geological events might we gain from leading-edge research and development in the fields of Biomimetics, Biotechnology and Biomorphic Design? Sterry will present answers to these and other questions as she discusses both her own R&D projects, and those of her peers in bio-informed design worldwide.


Sustainability Challenges, CIOB Centre, Coventry University, April 7th 2014

Hosted by the Chartered Institute of Building together with Sustainable Business Futures at Coventry University, which was voted 'Modern University of Year 2014' in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, the seminar explored the global sustainability challenges facing the built environment community, together with some of the means by which those challenges may potentially be addressed.


Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City

Mark Gaterell, professor of sustainable construction, Coventry University


Inventing the Future, Royal Society, London, March 27th 2014

Hosted by New Engineering Foundation: The Innovation Institute and chaired by Baroness Verma, the 'Inventing the Future' think tank at the Royal Society, London, discussed leading-edge developments in STEM and how these will shape the future employment market, and the skills and expertise that will be required therein. Participants comprised thirty-six chief executives and senior directors from leading international corporations, government agencies and educational establishments, including BASF, the Department for Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, BUPA, MITIE, National Grid, Rolls-Royce and Worcester Bosch Group. 


Professor Sa' ad Medhat, chief executive, NEF

Andrew Thomson, educational specialist

Martin Webster, economic strategist  

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist


Urban Morphogenesis UDII, The Bartlett, London, March 14th 2014

Directed by ecoLogic Studio co-founders Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, the Urban Morphogenesis MA lecture series at The Bartlett, University College London, explores facets of the emergent built environment paradigm, including biologically-informed buildings and infrastructure.

One of several speakers in the series, Melissa presented on biomimetic city design and its potential for building greater resilience to major natural hazard events.


Warwick Energy Conference: The Future of Energy, January 25th 2014

The Future of Energy, hosted by University of Warwick, welcomed 200 attendees from across the globe to discuss, analyse and debate the topic of energy in all its breadth and glory. Speakers and panels were made up of economists, architects and engineers, all sharing their knowledge and expertise, showcasing the latest innovations and practises.

Speakers included: 

Philip Mawby, professor of power electronics, University of Warwick

Reiner Grundmann, professor of science & technology studies, University of Nottingham

Martin Orrill, head of energy technology & innovation, British Gas Business Services

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City


Re:Work Cities Summit, London, December 13th 2013

Re: Work Cities combined entrepreneurship, technology and science to re-work cities for the future. Showcasing the opportunities of accelerating technologies and their impact on our urban areas, the summit featured keynotes and presentations from 30 the world’s leading technologists and decision-makers and covered topics including Big Data, 3D Printing, Synthetic Biology, Robotics & Sensors, Internet of Things, Self-Assembly and Nanotech.

Speakers included:

Enrico Dini, chairman, D-Shape

Gilles Retsin, co-founder, Softkill Design

Christine Outram, founder, City Innovation Group

Philipp Rode, executive director, LSE Cities

Melissa Sterry, design scientist & futurist, Bionic City

Fahim Kawsar, director, Scalable Systems Research, Bell Laboratories

Erik Schlangen, chair, Experimental Micromechanics, Delft University of Technology

Neil Spiller, dean, School of Architecture, Design & Construction, University of Greenwich


The abstract for Sterry's keynote read: 

Beyond Material Boundaries

Exploring the city as more than the sum of its material parts, Melissa will question some of the most fundamental assumptions commonly made about future cities. Drawing on her research into the city as a complex regenerative and adaptive system that mimics biological resilience strategies to worst-case natural hazard events, she will present how the ilk of big data, 3D printing, synthetic biology and self-assembly could enable a city that exits far beyond current material boundaries. Melissa will discuss how leading-edge science, technology and thinking could contribute to manifesting some of the most radical future city visions of the past, before presenting an overview of her Bionic City project and some of the models she's researching and developing within it. 


Homes 2013 : The Future of Housing, London, November 20th 2013

Homes is the leading London event for the social and affordable housing sector. Held in partnership with CIH and supported by NHMF, Homes addresses the critical strategic and operational issues around asset management, repairs and maintenance, sustainability and retrofit. The first event to unite these areas, Homes 2013, took place at Excel, London and brought together the latest thinking, practice and policy, and also showcased the leading technologies, products and services.

Speakers included: 

Michael Newey, president of RICS

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist

Sir Ken Knight, former Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser

James Wates CBE, chair of Wates Group


The abstract for Sterry's keynote read:  

Self-Repairing Cities: When Retrofit Becomes Redundant

Fast-forward to 2030 and to an era when from the nano-scale upwards the smart city has come into its own. Buildings now behave like biological organisms and maintain self-sustaining processes, such as passive heat/humidity control, and resource harvesting. Urban infrastructure operates like an ecosystem; its various parts making real-time collective decisions on both the social and environmental changes taking place. Retrofit has become an antiquated concept, as has the notion of 'waste'. The 'paradigm shift' towards new design and production methods, that we speak of today, has already happened - and yet more radical ideas still, are now emerging. What are the new challenges and what are the new opportunities this brave new built environment world presents? Are there any current developments - be they near or far, that could give us any clues? Melissa will explore these questions and more as she introduces us to 'Self-Repairing Cities' of the future. 


Oslo Architecture Triennale: The Future of Comfort, September 20th 2013

The importance of sustainability is challenging our idea of comfort. How can architects enter this debate?

Sustainability is universal and has, over the years, infiltrated all phases of how we construct our surroundings. The main conference of the OAT 2013 focused on one of the most important conditions for the further development for production of architecture and cities. How can comfort be understood as a driver for the development, and how can comfort be regarded as premises for succeeding with sustainable goals? What alternatives can architecture provide?

By and large, the quest of “sustainability” consists in finding ways to minimise energy consumption, while maintaining the current level of domestic and social amenities and even increase them. The latter is often confused with development. Our claim is that comfort must be understood as a condition. Sustainability cannot be discussed without discussing comfort at the same time. In which ways have and will the architects and architecture contribute to the development of the term?

Contrary to the prejudice that the need of comfort has to be met with seemingly objective means, it is first and foremost a notion that has been culturally, economically and politically constructed with time.

What is comfort, how can we re-think comfort and what is the future of comfort?  

Speakers included:

Alfredo Brillembourg, founding partner, Urban Think Tank and professor at ETH Zûrich

Minik Rosing, professor of geology, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Chris Reed, principal, Stoss Landscape urbanism / Adjunct Associate professor at Harvard GSD

Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist, Bionic City / University of Greenwich

Nanne de Ru, partner, Powerhouse Company / director, The Berlage, Delft University of Technology

Carolyn Steel, architect, lecturer and writer, University of Cambridge


Manchester International Festival, July 10th 2013

Melissa Sterry joined Jon Turney, author of 'A Rough Guide to the Future', to present the future of post-industrial cities. Chaired by Jurgan Maier, Managing Director of Siemens UK Industry Sector, the event took place at The Biospheric Project in Salford, as part of the Manchester International Festival - a biennial international arts festival, with a specific focus on original new work.

Melissa's presentation DIY City: Post-Industrial Urban Futures explored the underlying drivers of change in urban communities and in society at large, including new science and technology, together with new socio-cultural-economic thinking. Subjects covered included the intersection of crowd funding and micro finance, a locally, nationally and globally connected community and DIY and maker-culture, including 3D Printing and DIY Bionics. Melissa also discussed the culture within which revolutionary ideas and innovations emerge, referencing Bucksminster Fuller's seminal work Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.

About the Festival

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, and takes place biennially in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. Highlights from the past three festivals – 2007, 2009 and 2011 have included group shows Il Tempo del Postino and 11 Rooms, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s Monkey: Journey to the West, Punchdrunk’s immersive Dr Who experience The Crash of The Elysium, Music Boxes, a wonderful commission for children aged 6 months-7 years, Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang and the premieres of special gigs from Bjork to Snoop Dogg and Sinead O’Connor. The Festival also encompasses MIF Creative, the community and learning focused arm of the Festival, bringing MIF to the people and communities of Manchester and learning from them in its turn.


In Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York, 2012

Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona, 2012

Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona, 2012