Canvas Conference 2021

A multi-day digital product and experience conference sharing actionable insights from makers, to makers.

Canvas is a community run by and for product people. We connect makers with makers to share insider stories from the world of digital products, delivering actionable insights to help product designers, developers and managers elevate their craft. Since 2011, our award-winning one day event, Canvas Conference, has been welcoming product makers from all over the country to hear from industry leaders.

An update from the Canvas team

TL;DR – Canvas is moving to a four day, digital conference between 15 – 18 March 2021. Same amazing lineup. More content and interactivity!

Earlier this year, we announced Canvas would move to March 2021 as we couldn’t honestly host the conference in the knowledge that your safety and comfort could be at risk by attending. 

Since our announcement, new tighter restrictions have been implemented, and we can’t predict when they will be fully lifted. So, to ensure your Canvas experience is to a standard that you and our speakers deserve, we’ve made the decision that Canvas will now be a fully digital experience taking place between 15-18 March 2021.

So, what will a digital Canvas look like?

You can expect to see four days of talks and digital events for people who design, make and deliver digital products and experiences.

This is not a four day zoom call.

Not only will you be able to watch all nine talks from leading product experts – you’ll also have the opportunity to network directly with the speakers, attendees and sponsors through fireside chats, live Q&As, roundtables, mini-events and dedicated breakout areas.

There’s no high-level overviews or brand evangelists, just real people, in the work, sharing their experiences and learnings.

Unlike many other conferences and events which are glorified sales pitches and corporate-ly stuffy, Canvas Conference is delivered by a community of makers, for makers. Since 2011, we’ve brought some of the biggest brands and brightest minds from the world of product to Birmingham to deliver honest and inspirational talks.

Our speakers share with us their successes, their failures, the lessons learned, and the journey they have been on. It’s actionable insights from real people doing the hard work, on the front lines of designing, building and managing digital products and customer experiences. Past speakers have included rockstars from Virgin Atlantic, the BBCMicrosoftBuzzfeedMonzo, Spotify, Netflix and Google. Oh, and a little company called NASA – you may have heard of them…?

The venue...

Anywhere! The beauty of a digital event is that you can tune in from the comfort of your own home or office… or anywhere with internet.

For the digital launch (until 30 November) we’re lowering the cost of the all-inclusive ticket to just £119!  Your all-inclusive ticket gives you access to all four days, all the talks from our lineup of industry-leading speakers, live fireside chats and Q&As, roundtable events, networking activities and all recordings and on-demand sessions! Get your tickets now.

Staying true to our mission of ‘connecting makers to makers’ – for every retail ticket purchased, we will donate one ticket to a pot accessed by people who, for whatever reason, may not be able to attend usually – these may be charities, schools, organisations or individuals.

Speaker line up

Oh boy. It’s a good’un this year. You ready for this…?

Niki ForecastSenior Product Designer at what3words, has worked in the digital design industry for nine years, and has led the design on over 40 projects for innovation, digital health and fintech. Previously, Niki worked on campaigns for global brands including PepsiCo and Sky, as well as social enterprises such as Greater Change – a donation app for homeless people in Oxford. It was this project that sparked a love for innovation and technology that has a social benefit, which led Niki to what3words.

Niki’s Canvas talk will take you behind the scenes of the what3words product team, and discuss the enormous challenges and fascinating insights that they’ve come across as they have made the app available to an incredibly diverse and international audience. what3words is a unique technology but many of the insights gained from this process will be applicable to digital product teams around the world.

Lara Mendonça is Head of Product Design at Bumble. Her focus is on building a collaborative and diverse design team, and empowering Bumble in their mission to help people build healthy, safe and equal relationships. Before that, she worked in product design and branding for a range of companies, including TransferWise, HSBC, Mitsubishi and Sky. When she’s not working, you can find her reading fiction novels in public spaces, watching Scorsese films at home or travelling with her sister.

Tom GuyChief Product Officer at Vodafone Smart Tech and oversees all product development and design including UX, hardware design and overall portfolio. Tom has a strong track record in designing and delivering world-class CIoT products and services. Previously CPO at Hive Tom has also helped to start and run a number of innovative tech start-ups, including Catch Media, where he remains a board member.

Rebecca Rae-Evans is founder of social good service design studio Reply and host of the podcast Tech for Good Live. Over the last ten years, she has run multiple design, research and strategy teams in the tech industry. She is a reformed ‘arguing-with-people-on-the-internet’ person, but first and foremost, Bex is an activist. She wants to make a change in the world through the work that she does, believes in creating a fairer society that helps those who need it most, and thinks the design industry needs to be more responsible about what it puts out into the world. She lives with five adorable rescue cats and one husband.

Bex’s Canvas talk will discuss the ‘trendiness’ of designing for social good, and how hard it can be to get it right. Good intentions are great, but often egos, low budgets, and lack of proper research can make a bad product.  Including examples, case studies and real, honest product failure examples Bex takes an honest, cynical, angry look at the social good design world with a humorous but hard hitting delivery style and hand drawn slides.

Joel Beukelman is a Senior Interaction Designer at Google, and over the past 8 years has had the opportunity to contribute to variety of products and apps, from early-stage startups to global applications. Prior to Google Chrome & Android, Joel helped start Design Inc. as the Head of Design, worked on mobile apps and the launch of Originals while at Netflix, as well as a number of other startups. Outside of his love for design and tech, Joel spends his free time enjoying being a family man, getting tattoos, listening all things punk/metal, and documenting life and work on YouTube.

Joel’s Canvas talk will focus on the concept of ethical citizenship. Building a product across seven platforms at the scale of Google and Chrome is a huge privilege, and one that isn’t void of responsibility. Part of that responsibility is about being a good citizen – to the platform OS, the user, and the design system. He’ll walk through a Chrome Desktop project and how his team evaluated and executed a design system strategy that enables user personalisation while also honouring OS systems & patterns, looking at how ethics can scale without compromising craft and design excellence.

Virgil Calejesan has been a UX Researcher at SpaceX since 2017, involved in designing experiences and interfaces, contributing software features for the engineering, production, and quality assurance of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, as well as its global internet service, Starlink. He began his career in travel logistics, luxury hotels, and corporate event planning before taking the leap to industrial design. UX Research proved the gateway into the world of tech and he hasn’t looked back since.

Virgil’s Canvas talk will look at the commonalities of his journey so far – curiosity, how things are made, and a desire to serve. He’ll share anecdotes from his various ‘beginnings’, proffer a proposition that designing for enterprise software is deeply freeing, and how, in his experience, ‘to serve,’ is in many ways synonymous with ‘ethical design.’

Bhavesh Vaghela is VP of Products at identity fraud, authorisation & authentication company Callsign. A digital craftsman at heart, he enjoys connecting people and ideas to inspire, innovate and co-create solutions. His passion is the intersection between humanity and technology and doing karmic good. His position at Callsign allows him to create products that solve the problems of identity, authentication and protecting the vulnerable from fraudsters.

Bhavesh’s Canvas talk will look at how, as we move away from physical interactions to a digital interaction, can we know we are talking to the right person?  As digital identity becomes more important, what does this mean for us, for the things we own, and for people who use our identity?

To hear more from Bhavesh and his approach to all things product, read our meet the speaker article.

Genevieve joined Wesleyan in August 2020 to head up the newly formed Digital Office. She previously worked at TSB, with accountability for delivering change to TSB’s digital and mobile channels, as well as responsibility for the digital service experience. Prior to that, Genevieve worked at Barclaycard and Barclays in a variety of digital and change roles. Her experience of leading digital change in Financial Services for over a decade has given her a long list of lessons learned and stories to be told, some of which she will be sharing with us. She is a digital specialist and a diversity and inclusion evangelist who excels at accelerating cultural change. Genevieve lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two sons and dog, Margot

Matt Davey is Chief Experience Officer at 1Password overseeing product, design and marketing. In a previous life Matt was a consultant, moving brands like HSBC, Burberry and Calvin Klein towards better decisions in design and technology. Matt is a mentor for both the Royal Society of the Arts and Out of Office Hours, helping professionals and newcomers to the industry. Based in Norwich, Matt enjoys failing at baking the most simple of things.

Matt’s Canvas talk will focus on designing for privacy and trust. When privacy prohibits the amount of customer behaviour you have access to, how do you build a product that people want? How do you make your product a positive solution rather than a feared necessity? And how do you keep your product’s voice steady as your team grows and your culture expands?

The theme

To bring everything together, we’re introducing a theme for the conference. For 2021, we’re focusing on ethical design – the products we make, how we make them, and how we use them.

In a world where it’s never been easier to design and launch digital products, how can we do so with the intent to do good and a focus on making people’s lives better? Our speakers will talk about ethical design and how it affects their product design and development – expect to hear about accessibility, sustainability, and what “good” design really means.


Tickets are on sale now and start at just £119:

  • Four days of digital events and activities
  • Nine talks from our lineup of industry-leading product rockstars
  • Roundtable events to connect and chat with our speakers (and other attendees!)
  • Breakout sessions with leading product experts
  • Live Q&As and fireside chats
  • Networking opportunities to connect with the best and brightest minds in product
  • Access to the recordings and on-demand sessions post-event

We offer a full refund on your ticket price up to 30 days before the event, if you can’t make it for any reason. You can also request to transfer your ticket to someone else up to five days before the event. Get your tickets at the lowest price now!

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