Countdown to UC 2020 —

What’s New


Unexpected Connections is back for 2020 and this time with an emphasis on supporting creatives deeply impacted by COVID-19. This year will bring back the familiar spirit of exchanging ideas and bringing people together, but will take place virtually and act as a fundraiser for relief efforts.

What’s Been Done Before?

Unexpected Connections was first held in 2017 as a day-long event realized through a partnership between Intertrend and MAEKAN. 2018 was held in 2018 in Long Beach. The day-long event featured a star-studded cast of speakers from across the diverse landscape that is the creative community. Many of these talks offered personal insights and guidance from industry leaders while others served as organic exchanges of ideas from seemingly disparate backgrounds. All of these talks are available to view on

  1. Julia Huang & John Maeda

  2. John C Jay

  3. Jason Mayden & Jun Cha

  4. David Choe

  5. Yimmy Yayo & Charis Poon

  6. Karen Okonkwo & Jeff Staple

  7. Jennifer Ferro & Lindsay Jang

  8. Helen Zia & Madeleine Brand

  9. Kenya Hara

Not exclusive to conferences and large events, the spirit of Unexpected Connections carried into a smaller gathering in 2019 at Namu Stonepot in San Francisco, themed around“Re-examining Truths.”

What’s New This Year?

This year, recent events have made large gathering understandably difficult but by no means impossible! Unexpected Connections 2020 is still happening and it’s coming up soon at that.

Together with Intertrend, we’re looking forward to hosting another selection of outstanding guests who have honed their craft, been deliberate in their direction and shaped their industries and are excited to share all of that with an online audience. Look forward to talks from familiar faces we’ve featured on before like Decatur Dan, Karen Rosenkranz and Jasper Wong, but also some who are hosting their first UC talks ever like Kristen KishCarmen Chan and James Whitner.

But aside from sharing ideas, this years talks will be drumming up support for various causes chosen by the speakers including those that serve creatives deeply impacted by COVID-19.

Why this Matters

“The smallest act in the most limited circumstances bears the seed of… boundlessness, because one deed, and sometimes one word, suffices to change every constellation.” – Hannah Arendt

The theme of this year’s even is “It All Adds Up.” It recognizes the power of small changes and decisions, that seem although appearing insignificant at first, can produce unexpected positive results down the line.

The world is more volatile and the future more uncertain than usual. We’re being asked to physically stay in place, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take action. Despite the constraints we feel, powerful change can be made incrementally. We can still make decisions on how we spend our time, attention, energy, and resources. No matter how inconsequential a choice may seem, our consistent movement towards the things we value matters. It all adds up.

So save the date and join us online on Saturday, June 6, 2020! For more information, check out the event’s website and follow Unexpected Connections on Instagram.

We are excited to announce that Unexpected Connections is happening virtually on June 6th.