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The first AU International event of 2015 is done and it was a huge success. AU Johannesburg took place on June 18 and was attended by nearly 400 design and engineering professionals who came to explore The Future of Making Things.

Jonathan Knowles, Autodesk’s director of strategic initiatives and senior advisor to the CEO and CTO, as well as a respected voice on future trends (his business card says “Explorer”—we love this guy) kicked off the event with a keynote in which he announced that Autodesk is making its software free for African students, teachers, and startups with a turnover of less than $100,000 last year. “Makers, students, startups—you have the same tools as the big guys,” Knowles said. It’s another way Autodesk is supporting education and the growth of generative design and digital fabrication techniques worldwide. To again quote Jonathan Knowles, “The better everyone is doing, the better we all do.” Well put, sir.

Johannesburg attendees chose from sessions in the following tracks: manufacturing, architecture, engineering, construction, and general sessions which included a little of everything; and hands-on labs. Notable speakers included renowned trend analyst Dion Chang, who explored what design for a new world order means for the current socioeconomic climate. Chris Combrink spoke about the new 3ds Max tools for technical artists, and Marek Suchocki talked about global BIM adoption. The event also featured a Future of Making Things graffiti wall—because everyone loves a can of spray paint—and a Lego Man photo wall and competition. And of course cocktails and networking to end the day.

Thanks to everyone who came out for AU Johannesburg and congratulations to the team behind this event for making it a huge success. Next stop for AU International: Mumbai on August 7. 

To see more from AU Johannesburg, check out #AUxJHB2015. Read more about Autodesk’s free software for education initiative in this great interview with Jonathan Knowles

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