Why Creative States?

Thought leaders and visionaries from diverse backgrounds and fields are calling into question our ability to sustain our way of life. They push us forward with new conversations and ideas that refashion capitalism as it is practiced today into socially responsible products, services, materials and systems. Yet despite our best intentions to shape a more sustainable future, we increasingly find ourselves feeling anxious, exhausted and unfulfilled by society’s notions of wealth and happiness. And with every news cycle we feel even more unsettled and uncertain in our fractured common life. As we chart our way forward, we believe the practice of sustainability must address both our inner and outer landscapes with intention and imagination. We explore how we might be present differently within ourselves and with one another.

Creative States is devoted to catalyzing a movement that:


Promotes creative inquiry as a powerful tool to help us reflect critically and imaginatively about who we might become.


Explores present day challenges from a place of expansive possibility of what could be.


Starts with how we want our future to feel, stirring our senses to move us emotionally and viscerally into action.


Works collaboratively and/or cross-disciplinarily to chart pathways forward from inquiry into implementation.

Who We Are

Creative States is a platform for a community of artists, designers and thought leaders fielding futures we want to live into. We envision a future that harnesses the six states of being outlined below as essential and creative ground for societal transformation.

  • Joyous

    Uplifting us with expansive moments of warmth, beauty, love and delight

  • Thoughtful

    Entrusting one another with the collective care, strength, and resilience of the spaces we inhabit

  • Wondrous

    Cultivating deep reverence and curiosity for our wild, imperfect and precious existence

  • Playful

    Inviting us to explore in a light-hearted, open, child-spirited and generative manner

  • Authentic

    Moving beyond conformity, pretense to embrace each other’s uniqueness

  • Human

    Asking us to connect with one another in more gracious, dignified and meaningful ways

What would our future feel like if we valued joyous, thoughtful, wondrous, playful, authentic and human experiences as central ingredients to a truly sustainable world? Through the Future Field Prize and related media, Creative States champion creators in all disciplines who stir our senses and expand our capacity for change. We explore how these states can shape our approach to the environment, food, economy, education, politics, urbanism, infrastructure, spirituality, wellness and culture, and infuse our world with a greater sense of poetry, beauty and dignity.

The Founders

Maren Maier and Kimberlie Birks

Maren Maier is a design strategist, consultant and writer working to bring our future creative voice. She serves as the Human Insight Lead at CoCreative Consulting and professor in the Design Management and Arts & Cultural Management Graduate Programs of Pratt Institute of Art, where she also heads the editorial team of CATALYST Review. She has worked on systems change initiatives with organizations such as The Democracy Collaborative, The California Endowment, Autodesk Foundation, Garfield Foundation and ABC Home among others. She holds a BA with honors in Anthropology and a concentration in History of Art from Columbia University, as well as a Masters in Design Management from Pratt Institute School of Art.

Kimberlie Birks is an art and design writer whose work can be found in publications such as Domus, Dwell, Metropolis, Azure and Architect’s Newspaper. She recently authored Design for Children a comprehensive survey of children’s products and furniture design from Bauhaus to today, published by Phaidon. She holds a BA with honors in the History of Art from Brown University, an MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts, and a certificate in art curation from the Sotheby’s Institute.

Want to collaborate? Whether for an exhibition, event, lecture, panel discussion or publication, we love to combine forces and can’t wait to hear from you.

© 2019 Creative States. All rights reserved.
Site design by Erik Mace. Illustrations by Mark Fischer.