Design & Music


: April 6th, 10:30-12:30

Thank you to UCLA Extension: lead sponsor and host

The theme of this TEDxUCLA Salon centers on innovation at the intersection of design and music, and the capacity of this symbiosis to foster greater connections to music among the public.

This TEDx event is hosted by previous TEDxUCLA speakers Dr. Laura Ritchie and Lawrence Azerrad. As a two-time Grammy Award winning creative director Lawrence brings a career long study of means to use design towards creating deeper connection to music, and Laura’s fully immersive experiences, with multisensory visualizations and realizations of musical forms set the scene for how both disciplines intersect. They evaluate and address our evolving human connection to music, including means to enhance our lived experience through innovation in design and technology.


UCLA Extension Gayley Center

Speaker Bios



Lawrence Azerrad is a two-time Grammy Award-winning creative director, author and curator. His studio Macroscopic works with musicians and educational and cultural institutions who seek to visualize the future, such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Esperanza Spalding and Wilco, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, USC, UCLA, and Berklee College of Music.  He was the lead curator of “The Future Happened: Designing The Future of Music,” a music and speculative design exhibit online with The Museum of Design Atlanta. His initiative “Designing The Future of Music” includes programs at the Royal College of Art, the Imperial College of London, and California College of the Arts.

Producer and creative director of the 2017 Grammy Award-winning boxed set The Voyager Golden Record 40th Anniversary Edition, Lawrence won another Grammy in 2021 for Ode to Joy, a boxed set by Wilco, whose album art he has designed since 1999’s Summerteeth.  He is the author of Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde (Prestel, 2018), Amazon’s 2018 Arts & Photography selection of the year. Lawrence co-wrote his second book, Mirror Sound, A Look into the People and Processes Behind Self-Recorded Music (Prestel, 2020), with Spencer Tweedy.

 Lawrence has spoken on design and inspiration at The V&A Museum, London, at TEDxUCLA, The Smithsonian and at universities, professional organizations nationwide and internationally.

Dr Laura Ritchie


Dr Laura Ritchie, Chair of Learning and Teaching at the University of Chichester, is a musician, a Chartered Psychologist with the BPS, and has a deep understanding of people, self-beliefs, and cognition. Laura has presented her research in North and South America, and across Europe, and was a TEDxUCLA speaker in 2021 and 2023. Her book Yes I Can: Learn to use the Power of Self-efficacy (2021) introduces new possibilities in our everyday lives to create a real sense of ‘yes’. As President of the SeeYes Corp, Laura and her three co-founders designed SeeDegree, a customized personal assessment tool to enable institutions to know what really matters to their students. 

Laura was trained as a classical cellist, originally in Chicago with Hans Jensen before completing her Masters and PhD (psychology of music) at the Royal College of Music in London. As a musician Laura’s experience spans genres. She has performed both classically and was in the The Mummers, who played on the BBC on Jools Holland, Radio4, and at Glastonbury. In October 2023 Laura premiered the contemporary classical work for solo cello, Mona, by Dimitris Mousouras in Athens, Greece.

Laura’s current musical project, Resonance, challenges people to see, feel, and hear the music as an immersive, multisensory experience. Resonance uses science to realize the music through different mediums, removing barriers to understanding music and expanding access to people across ages and walks of life.

Alejandro -- Dub Labs


Alejandro Cohen is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles based non-profit radio station dublab.  Founded in 1999, dublab has been broadcasting since the “dot-com era” with the mission to share forward-thinking, freeform radio with an international audience. dublab’s programming has since expanded to include the production of original art exhibits, films, television, events, and community education projects as well as broadcast on affiliate stations in Germany, Japan, Spain, and Brazil.

Each month, dublab showcases over 180 radio shows from some of the world’s most talented DJs, musicians, journalists, and artists. Each show is distinct and entirely freeform: we take pride in empowering our DJs to freely play the music that best shares their individual story. Beyond broadcast, dublab produces and hosts several multimedia projects and exhibits each year, most often made possible by the support of public and foundation project grants. Through local events, international broadcasts, and collaborative multimedia projects, dublab has helped define and connect the next wave of arts, music, and culture across the Los Angeles and international communities.

Alejandro -- Dub Labs


After years of driving success for some of the industry’s most iconic artists’ brands and companies, Jonathan Azu left an executive role at Red Light Management to start Culture Collective – a record label, production, brand consultancy, and artist management firm.

With a focus on women and talent of color, Culture Collective is driving change within its industry while also representing creatives who are redefining their culture.

While providing its clients with the services to build their careers, Culture Collective is also exemplifying and promoting diverse and inclusive leadership in entertainment which is greatly lacking in music companies today. As Jonathan stated in his Variety Inclusion Impact Report interview, “I wanted to build a company that has diversity and inclusion as its mission…it is important because without it our culture’s narrative could be lost or mistold.”

Azu was recently featured as a Change Agent honoree in all three industry trades: Billboard, Variety, and Pollstar Magazines. That year he also launched a production and consultancy division of Culture Collective – working with a variety of major brands on their talent and content initiatives. This includes a partnership with Killian + Company, an award-winning production company that fuses music, film, design, experiences, celebrities, and pop culture.

During his career Azu, a two-time Billboard 40 Under 40 Power Player, also spent time as EVP of Operations and Business Development for Superfly Presents and VP of Music Partnerships for CBS Radio. He has also been credited with the development of many notable artists and brands including Anita Baker, Emily King, Cory Henry, Luke James, Michelle Williams, Miguel, Kool & the Gang, Leon Thomas, Keyshia Cole, Emily King, Outside Lands Music Festival, Bonnaroo, American Express and many more.

Azu also serves as a Board Trustee to his alma mater, Drake University, is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California and serves on City of Hope’s Music Film and Entertainment board.

Alejandro -- Dub Labs


Sheharazad Fleming is an Iranian-American creative director with a background in strategic communications and visual storytelling. In her roles as the Director of Digital Communications for the Mayor of Los Angeles, or as Creative Director for institutions like USC and Otis College, her work has been steadfastly focused on uplifting the people that make LA a world-class city.

She is currently the President of the community design studio WE MUST BE BOLD and Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent, a platform amplifying the work of emerging and underrepresented artists. She finds joy in serving her community as a Professor of Professional Practice at ArtCenter College of Design and as President and Board Chair of the Corita Art Center, the nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the work of artist and social justice activist Corita Kent.


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Tickets: $15

Note: We will do more of these Salons, and our main event is October 19th. We appreciate your interest. send us a note on Salon events you would like us to produce.

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