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Designer. Entrepreneur. Activist.



As a national keynote speaker and lecturer, De Nichols uses the creative power of storytelling to inspire and equip citizens to spark creative social change in their communities.

Since 2008, De has galvanized changemakers to develop bold #IdeasthatMatter, and public speaking has been a key component to her engagement with audiences from youth & teens to entrepreneurs, organizational leaders, field experts, and everyday do-gooders. She has opened the Clinton Global Initiative University, performed on the Millennium Stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and even given a commencement speech for the Sam Fox School of Design at Washington University in St. Louis. Across campuses, conferences, and communities, De ignites audiences with awe-inspiring and action-driven talks.


Watch Recorded Talks

Subject Expertise

Stemming from her multi-disciplinary education and career journey, De shares expertise across audiences as a social practice artist and activist, communications designer, social worker, social entrepreneur, and award-winning civic innovator. Recent topics of her talks have included:

  1. Cultural Equity: Where Justice, Policy, and the Arts Align

  2. Designing Civil Rights

  3. Social Entrepreneurship

  4. Creative Will: How Cities Can Utilize Creative Practices for Civic Change

  5. The Art of Social Change: Building Community, Catalyzing Progress

  6. Getting Unstuck: The Power of the Pivot

Upcoming Events

Recent Experiences


Book De Nichols for your next convening.

Lecture Archive

Below are more talks, lectures, workshops, and courses led by De Nichols from 2010 to today.



“Racial Justice & Design: Strategies from the Field,” a Panel for the Association of Community Design conference, Greenwood, MS.


“Transitions: Design, Community, and Life Journeys,” Keynote Speaker, Webster University, St. Louis, MO.

“Visualizing Agency, Authority, and Allyship,” Panelist and Data Visualizer, Kennedy Center Arts Summit, Washington, DC.


“Artist as Catalyst: The Power of Using Art of Impact at Scale,” Presenter, Young Collectors Contemporary, Memphis, TN.

"Masterclass: Art & Social Justice,” Keynote Lecturer, Young Collectors Contemporary, Memphis, TN.


Course Taught

“Design as a Catalyst for Change,” 2018. Sam Fox School of Design and Art, Washington University in St. Louis.



“Manifesto for a More Equitable Future,” Presenter, Dwell in Other Futures, St. Louis, MO.

“Visions for a Racially Equitable St. Louis,” Moderator, STL 2039 Launch, St. Louis, MO.

“Power, Social Politics, & Design,” Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

“A Mouth Is Always Muzzled: A Book Conversation with Author Natalie Hopkinson,” Speaker and Moderator, St. Louis, MO.




“Cultural Equity: Where Justice, Policy, and the Arts Align,” Keynote Speaker, Government Alliance for Racial Equity, Minneapolis, MN.


Image via Common Field.

Image via Common Field.

“Encountering Activism through Art,” Keynote Speaker, Religious Education Association Conference, St. Louis, MO.

“Institutional Listening,” Panelist, Common Field Conference, Los Angeles, CA.



“The Art of Protest,” TEDx Speaker, TEDxGatewayArch, St. Louis, MO

“Ideas That Matter,” Awards Presenter, AIGA Design Conference 2017, Minneapolis, MN

“Designing for Civic Impact,” Presenter, People’s Liberty, Cincinnati, OH


“The Bridge: Multigenerational HIstory of Activism,” Panel Organizer and Moderator, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, MO

“Citizen Artistry: Mirror Casket,” Presenter and Ensemble Performer, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington, DC

“Designing Protest,” Presenter, Design + Diversity, St. Louis, MO


“Designing for Equitable Communities,” Speaker, Adaptive Path, San Francisco Design Week, San Francisco, CA

“Investing in the Arts,” Panelist, Americans for the Arts Conference, San Francisco, CA


“Collecting Ferguson,” Presenter and Moderator, American Alliance of Museums Conference, St. Louis, MO


Presenter, Open Engagement, Chicago, IL

“Design Serves: Museum Redux,” Workshop Lecturer, Flex Design Studio, Baltimore, MD

“Designing Civil Rights,” Presenter, MICA, Baltimore, MD


“WE MAKES: Design Serves Blitz” Workshop, St. Louis, MO

“The Black Experience: Specializing in the Art of the Impossible,” Speaker, St. Louis, MO

“Renaissance Arising: Comparisons of the Contemporary Black Creative Class and the Harlem Renaissance”
St. Louis, MO

“The Need for Arts Philanthropy for Rapid Response,” Presenter, Funders Network Conference, St. Louis MO



“If We Are to Win…” Speaker, Women’s March, St. Louis, MO

“Taking It to the Streets,” Moderator, Exhibition Panel, St. Louis, MO



“Artivists Roundtable,” Moderator, Culture/Shift, US Department of Arts and Culture, St. Louis, MO

“Creative Will: How Cities Can Utilize Creative Practices for Change,” Pecha Kucha, St. Louis, MO


“Designing in Times of Social Conflict & Transition,” Affect Conf, Portland, OR


“AIGA Town Hall on Racial Justice,” Panelist, Online


“Do What Makes You Come Alive,” Commencement Keynote Address, Sam Fox School of Design & Art, Washington University in St. Louis


“Ode to the Misfits,” Visionary Awards, St. Louis, MO

“The CASE: Contemporary Art Approaches to Social Engagement,” Designing Civil Rights Conference, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MA.




“Stories to Action,” United Story Summit, Emcee and workshop facilitator.


“Civic Matchmaking for Civic Changemaking,” Points of Light National Conference on Service and Volunteerism, Houston, TX. Plenary Speaker.

“From Logos to Protests: Using Design to Start a Movement,” AIGA National Design Conference, New Orleans, MO. Panelist.


“The Art of Social Change: Building Community, Catalyzing Change,” St. Louis, MO.


“Civic Matchmaking through Artmaking,” Webinar: Current Trends in Public Art 2- Public Art & Social Practice (Americans for the Arts). Presenter.


“Ethics and the Artist: Failure in Social Practice and Community Engagement” #FailureandArt Symposium. Panelist. St. Louis, MO.



“Living Out Your Calling,” Keynote Address, Youth Summer Leadership Summit. Memphis, TN.


Clinton Global Initiative University, Opening Plenary Student Speaker. Phoenix, AZ.


“Storytelling Toward Action: A United Story Workshop,” MONUMENTAL Youth Service Learning Conference. Washington, DC.


Mind the Gap, Local Perspectives Panelist. St. Louis, MO.


“Thoughts on Life Mastery,” Keynote Address, Financial Freedom Seminar, St. Louis, MO.



“Unlocking the Creative Capacity of Youth,” TEDxFurman U on Redesigning Education. Greenville, SC.


AshokaU Exchange, Innovation Presenter. San Diego, CA.



“Catalysts by Design: Exploring the Intersectionality of Design and Social Work,” IGNITEBrown, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. St. Louis, MO.


“Creative Catalysts: Our Visual Becoming,” Women’s Caucus for Art Art+Social Justice Conference, Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis, MO.

“We Are Stronger than Your Violence,” Convention on Youth Violence, St. Louis, MO.


International Festivals and Events Association Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

“Becoming More: A Call to Action,” Graham Chapel, St. Louis, MO.