Joanna van der Zanden works as an independent curator and creative director on cross-disciplinary (social) design projects. She is particularly interested in the exploration of cultural formats where the public at large gets involved in the curatorial process of research, questioning and making. It is her view that contemporary cultural centres should— at the best— function as catalysts to stimulate critical and creative thinking and making and enlarge time and space for experimentation. Till January 2010 she was Artistic Director of Platform21, the incubator of a new design centre in Amsterdam.
For 2011 and 2013 she was appointed artistic director of the Rotterdam Design Prize, a bi-annual Dutch design award that aims to stimulate debate on the role of design in a cultural and social context. An exhibition in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam is part of this award, as well as a Public Prize. An international jury appoints the winner.