Learning Sciences Exchange Fellow

Emer Beamer

Emer Beamer, social entrepreneur and designer, inspired by children’s imaginations founded Design-a-thon Works in 2004. The aim of Design-a-thon is to empower children globally to design a better world and secondly to have society in turn includes children in co-designing the

Prior to Design-a-thon, she co-founded Butterfly Works to co-create social change. Before that her first social enterprise back in 2000 was NairoBits, Kenya, a web design college for young people from informal settlements. Nairobits is still going strong with graduates employed across
the formal tech sector in Kenya and beyond. Emer was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2016, and as Global Innovator of Dubai Expo 2020.
eLearning programs which she co-designed such as ‘the World starts with Me’ (Uganda 2004) and ‘Learning about Living’ (Nigeria 2007) are regularly adapted for new countries in Africa and Asia and have won prizes from the World Bank and the United Nations. The connecting principle in her work is empowering learners by them becoming the author, creator and maker of their own worlds.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Dublin (Ireland) and then studied Graphic and Interactive Design at the Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands. Emer is originally from Ireland but has been based in Amsterdam longer than she likes to admit,
she is married with two teenage daughters.

‘What if we radically re-imagined the way we see children? What if we saw them as changemakers, engaged humans, scientists or inventors, and then helped them to develop their abilities for these roles’