Canvas Conference 2021

Our award winning product conference returns to Birmingham on March 18 2021 for our biggest event yet.

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 Conference is moving to Thursday 18 March 2021. Same awesome venue. Same amazing lineup. All current tickets are valid.

The world is a very different place to the one in which we started planning Canvas Conference 2020. In the past few weeks, we have had to make both the hardest and easiest decision we have ever made relating to Canvas – we are moving the date from October 2020 to March 2021.

It’s the hardest decision because of how much blood, sweat and pixels go into putting Canvas on, and the amazing feeling we all get from every sold-out event. But it’s also the easiest decision to make, because the safety and comfort of our community is the number one priority for us. Under the current circumstances and ever-changing guidance, we cannot honestly continue with a physical event in October and deliver it to the standard we hold ourselves to, or that our speakers and our audience deserve.

We have considered moving the event to fully digital, but we haven’t seen a digital event experience executed to a standard worthy of Canvas yet. We are doing a lot of homework on this, but it is important that we this right for everyone involved, so we will not rush it for the sake of selling tickets.

Canvas will now take place on Thursday 18 March 2021, but that is all that changing right now. We are still at the amazing Cineworld IMAX complex, right in the heart of Birmingham, with all the legroom and popcorn we promised you. Every one of our speakers on our exceptional lineup has been both understanding and accommodating, and all our sponsors are more than supportive of the move too.

All our early bird and release one tickets have sold out, but we will extend the windows for all other tickets to align to the new date. We also want to draw attention to our returns policy – you can buy your tickets now, locking them in at the current price, and get a full refund on your ticket up to 30 days before the event, no questions asked.

We’re also busy planning a programme of content and events to run from October through to March, to make sure you don’t miss us too much. Look out for more updates on this soon!

Between now and when we get to meet again at Canvas, stay safe and well. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me on

So. Canvas Conference. What's the deal?

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, inspirational talks that encourage and energise people who design, make and deliver digital products and experiences.

Our speakers share with us their successes, their failures, the lessons learned, and the journey they have been on. There’s no high level overviews or brand evangelists – 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

Canvas Conference 2021 will be hosted at Cineworld Birmingham, Broad Street. We’ve got exclusive access for the entire day, taking the conference experience to the next level for our speakers, attendees and sponsors alike.

Our main talks will be in the 350 capacity IMAX cinema, with huge comfy seats that you can sit for hours in, more legroom than business class, an exceptional integrated sound system, and a completely uninterrupted view of the screen and speaker from every seat. Add to that breakout sessions in secondary screens, multiple networking locations, and even branded popcorn, and we now have the venue to elevate Canvas Conference to become the blockbuster event that we know it can be.

As well as amazing facilities, the cinema is ideally situated in the heart of the city, easily accessible for both locals and those coming from further afield.

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 Design Lead 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, Consumer IoT at Vodafone, 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.’ And there may or may not be footage of a rocket launch shown in all it’s glory in IMAX and surround sound…

Bhavesh Vaghela is a Senior Product Owner 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 KangursHead of Digital Experience and Adoption at TSB, joined TSB in 2016 to lead their mobile programme and is now responsible for delivering change to all TSB’s digital channels and the digital service experience. She is a digital specialist and a diversity and inclusion evangelist who excels at accelerating cultural change. Genevieve lives in Leicestershire with her husband and two sons.

Genevieve’s Canvas talk will look at how you deal with a data crisis, ensuring you stay in control of the message whilst supporting the wellbeing of your team. She’ll discuss how you make decisions when there’s not a right answer, the power of curiosity, and the importance of having one version of the truth.

Matt Davey is Chief Operations Optimist 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

This year, 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 through Eventbrite from £190 and include:

  • A full day of talks from an industry-leading line-up of rockstars working in product and experience design.
  • Proper good grub. This year we’re teaming up with local suppliers to keep your energy and hydration levels at their very best.
  • Networking opportunities, so you can have a brew and a chin-wag with your fellow attendees and speakers.
  • After party! Food and drinks galore a short walk from Cineworld. Join us for a post-conference wind-down and continue your Canvas experience.

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.

Canvas Workshops

After the success of last year’s friction mapping workshops, we’re pleased to announce that Canvas Workshops are back! On Wednesday 17 March 2021, we’ll be digging in to embedding Scrum best practice, from running effective stand-ups, to backlog refinement, and communicating milestones. Whether you’re just getting started with agile methodologies, or want to hone your skills further, you’ll leave with practical and actionable tips that you can implement straight away.

At £550, your workshop includes a full day schedule at 383 studios in the Jewellery Quarter, with all learning materials and take aways as well a hearty lunch to keep you fuelled. Combo Canvas workshop and conference ticket packages are also available.

Read next

Like what you see? We’ve got more where that came from.


Newsletter sign up

Hot off the press

Want to be updated when we've got new stuff to talk about? Get a regular snapshot of what's happening at 383, straight to your inbox, once a month.