About Emer

Emer is a Social Designer and Educator.

Emer is a social designer, educator and currently the director of Designathon Works and Events.
Designathon’s teach children to design better futures with new technologies.
In 2014 she led the Global Children’s Designathon in Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi. The next Global event will in 2018.
Emer co-founded Butterfly Works, co-creation studio in the Netherlands and Nairobits in Kenya, a design school for young people from informal settlements, still going strong after 17 years, Nairobits now has offshoots in 5 countries.
She is based at Spring House in Amsterdam.


Previously Emer co-founded Butterfly Works, a co-creation studio in the Netherlands which works in 16 countries and enjoys structural funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its work. At Butterfly Works, Emer led the Learning Design team for 8 years and won prestigous prizes from organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations. Emer also co-founded Nairobits, a Design school for young people from informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.

Emer completed the post-graduate program at THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership. Her focus is on creating innovative and transformational educational possibilities for young people in for example Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Netherlands. Emer is a regular speaker on innovative education and social innovation and has spoken at TEDx Amsterdam, Picnic, Better World by Design and 5th IEE in India.

Tweets: @EmerBeamer

Butterfly Works and  NairoBits:

Butterfly Works co-creates a better world. The Amsterdam-based studio works globally with a core team of 11 designers and organizers. Butterfly Works has developed concepts currently used in 20 countries on three continents, all of which contribute to greater equality in the world. Founded 2004

NairoBits, DIgital design School, trains young people from Nairobi`s slums as web designers and cultural entrepreneurs. Founded in 2000, Nairobits now boasts 6,000 alumni and multiple courses in media, life skills and entrepreneurship. With a 100% success rate in placing graduates in jobs, the school is often a life-changing opportunity for less-privileged youth. The NairoBits model has been successfully expanded to Ethiopia, Zanzibar and Uganda. Founded 2000.


THNK, Amsterdam
School of Creative Leadership, an international post graduate program on creativity, innovation and design.

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Youth participation and NGO’s

Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy, Netherlands
Design (graphic / web / interaction)

University College Dublin, Ireland
Bcomm Economics

2 thoughts on “About Emer

  1. Hallo Suzana, for children who are just beginning with design it is good to keep things concrete, ‘relational design’ is quite abstract but I think Experience design is something they can relate to very well. It depends how you offer it and how you find a way to relate it to their current knowledge. Hope that helps, Emer

  2. Dear Emer,
    Bout your post: “Why you SHOULD use Design thinking approaches in education!” – I would like to know if, in your opinion we could also include: Experience Design and Relational Design (Blauvelt)* into the list you suggest, about terms with similar processes?
    Thank you very much.

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