I am Tony Quinn, Reader and Course Leader in Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins, and a Designer, Consultant and Writer. An art school trained educator, I am a staunch advocate of messy, risky, visceral, transformative approaches to learning and teaching.  

What are you doing in your professional life? 

I describe myself as an Interaction Designer, though my definition of what that means is unconventional. My practice varies from designing tableware for clients such as Wedgwood and British Airways through to designing internet of things enabled objects using Artcodes, a new vision recognition system, bringing the human into computer human interaction. Fundamentally all of these approaches are linked by the idea of human interaction, whether its picking a thing up, drinking from a thing or pointing a device at a thing.

I am fully employed as Reader/Course Leader of Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins in London. I lead a community of nearly 100 makers who like to think and thinkers who like to make, from BA, MA through to PHD.

What is important for you in your job? 

The most important thing in my job, is the creative interaction with others, either students or colleagues. This can manifest itself in a range of ways, such as students starting a course community podcast (POTCAST) or staff pushing beyond the restrictions of the large university infrastructure to create playful and emotional connections with the learner. This is mirrored in my designs, when a user interacts with something I have designed in the way it is intended.

How and why are you collaborating with Kaospilot? 

I worked with a Kaospilot on a module called Idea Generator at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) in the University of Bergen for about 5 years. I recognised in their methods, many of the techniques and approaches from the Bauhaus inspired art school pedagogy that I used. It sounded cool too! This inspired me to seek out the Kaospilots. I undertook the Art & Craft of Designing Facilitated Learning Spaces in Aarhus where I had 23 people sing Happy Birthday in 15 different languages as part of the check out. I followed this up with part 2 (twice) in Barcelona and London. These courses highlighted the power of productive failure, group reflection and the need to activate theory to build capacity for success. Following my own learning, in Autumn 2020, Simon Kavanagh asked me to join his 1.5 course as a Mentor, this was a great experience, allowing me to create a deeper relationship with the KP methods and explore the creative friction of teaching experiential learning in a hybrid online/offline space.

What major learnings would you point out from your experience that have shaped you as a leader and/or a learner?  

One of the key learnings in a subject as old and broad as ceramics is that you cannot possibly know everything. Recognising that it is ok not to know is key to learning, it activates legitimate peripheral participation, which in turn activates productive enquiry. Saying ‘I have no idea, why don’t you explore it and tell me’, is probably my most used teaching tool.

What would be an example of a learning or an experience from your time at Kaospilot that has been important to you? 

The power of reflection, through mirroring, showers, fishbowls and all manner of creative approaches, that ensure the individual and group experience a profound supercharged reflective experience is the DNA of learning. Since connecting with Kaospilot this is the most profound change to my creative teaching practice.

What is your biggest source for inspiration right now? 

How my students and staff team are leaning in, embracing the friction and making the teaching of ceramics online, what would appear impossible, not only possible, but exciting!

What is a piece of advice that you would like to give future leaders and Kaospilot graduates? 

There is a saying in woodwork measure twice cut once, my advice is a hack of these wise words… reflect twice act once. 

Related articles

Think less and do more!

The Art Of Imperfect Action

Since graduating

Meet Dennis Dybdal Founder of WAKA Global

Since graduating

Meet Anne Kjaer Bathel Founder of ReDI School

Since graduating

Meet Jesper Kjeldsen Founder of Postevand

Since graduating

Meet Ida Tin Founder of Clue


Solving COVID Problems

Since Graduating

The Netflix of Online Courses on Sustainable Development


The future looks bright, go out there and create it.

Interview with Henrik Køhler Simonsen

The Future of Online Learning


Meet Andreas Broman


Meet Hans Ohlsson


Busy Dying, anyone?

Innovation studies

The Innovation Imperative


Meet Amalie Harris Barfod


Meet Britt Barfeldt


Meet Tony Quinn

Working with Vestas

Meet Magnus Alexander Haals


Meet Tue Krabbe-Juelsbo

Innovation studies

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money


Meet Kathrine Overgaard Warberg

Innovation studies

Cowboy Number One and His Problems


Meet Andreas Lange

Meet Dinant Roode

Professional Rebel Facilitating Learning Spaces

Design for Sustainability

Meet Frank O´Connor

Innovation Studies

Gazza at the Controls

Extended network of lecturers

Meet Cesar Alves Ferragi

Community Building

Meet Current Student Anthon Khorami

Innovation Studies

Why Do We Fail?

Since Graduating

Meet Rasmus Stride

Since Graduating

Meet Haotian Cheng

Innovation Studies

How to Avoid Failure

Since Graduating

Meet Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg

Educator | Learning Experience Designer | Facilitator

Meet Boris Kelly

Extended network of lecturers

Meet Nathan Shedroff

Since Graduating

Meet Nikolaj Køster

Mindsets that will support you and your organization

Designing for a Transformation Economy

Since Graduating

Meet Anders Sjöstedt

Obituary for Pete Sims

Since Graduating

Meet Marte Sootholtet

Since Graduating

Meet Chamilla Natasha

Extended network of lecturers

This is Chené Swart – A Narrative Therapist

Since Graduating

Meet Guga Korte

Since Graduating

Meet Patrik Gustavsson

Founder and chief creative

Meet Carola Verschoor

Knowledge about

The role of an Experience Designer

Including and Unleashing Everyone

Meet Keith & Fisher from Liberating Structures

Since Graduating

Meet Moa Vallgård

Since Graduating

Meet Mari Ellestad

Since Graduating

Meet Heidi Meier Bach

About the power of Experience Design

Meet Michael Liehmann

Knowledge about

The difference between a leader and leadership

Since Graduating

Meet Pouria Ruhi

Since Graduating

Meet Eilif Bremer Landsend

Current Student

I desperately try to innovate the concept of magic

Merry Christmas

How to

How to become a leader?

Knowledge about

How important is communication?

Knowledge about

How important is sustainability for leaders?

Creative Leader

Meet Marquise Stillwell