NOVEMBER 17TH - 23RD, 2019

applications now closed for kuching.

our 2020 fellowship will be on Cochabamba, Bolivia!

kuching fellowship November 2019 unschool of disruptive design


The Kuching Fellowship Program will take a cohort of purpose-driven creative rebels and change agents from around the world on a week-long adventure to explore social change, systems thinking, creative interventions and all things sustainability. This program counts for 30 points in our certification tracking system.

Many of our past fellowship participants activated their creativity and their networks to get to the UnSchool by way of crowd-funding and employer sponsorships. When there's a will, there's a way – so don't let the tuition cost deter you from applying.

With our commitment to being accessible, we also offer scholarships to local applicants on a case-by-case basis. The scholarship funds go quickly so make sure to apply quickly! 



Popping up all around the world, our fellowship programs offer unique and intense learning experiences. If you join us as a fellow, you'll embark on a series of unforgettable adventures with a group of like-minded, whip-smart people. Top that off with excellent cerebral stimulation and the discovery of game-changing skills for active participation and social change making.

AND, of course, you'll get to meet and hang out with amazing mentors from a variety of fields as they share their secrets to success. Yep, that's what happens at the UnSchool fellowship, and it's as amazing as it sounds!

Kuching, Malaysia (photo: Wikipedia)

Kuching, Malaysia (photo: Wikipedia)



We start out in a common meeting spot and from there, you will be taken on a whirlwind journey full of discovery and brain-expanding adventures.

We curate each fellowship to highlight the location we have chosen, and seek out the best and brightest examples of like-minded businesses, organizations, fellow change-makers and institutions to expose you new ideas and approaches. In between adventures, mentor sessions and meals, we pack your brain with the Disruptive Design Method for up-skilling your toolset for activating positive social change.



Kuching, Sarawak is the capital of Malaysia, Borneo, an incredibly bio-diverse part of the world seeped in fascinating cultural history and a place brimming with natural beauty. The Guardian calls it “one of Asia’s most alluring cities, with fabulous food and new hotels, but little traffic and few high-rises to spoil the laid-back vibe.”

This fellowship will explore issues affecting the region and explore ways we can all contribute to supporting the movement away from damaging rainforest and land clearing practices, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of this complex issue. We will also be learning from inspiring locals who are using their creative skills to make a positive impact. Our programs are about collaborative change and immersive learning so expect adventure and surprises!

About the program mentors

Jeremy McKane, San Francisco mentor, giving the fellows a hand during the 24hr challenge.

Jeremy McKane, San Francisco mentor, giving the fellows a hand during the 24hr challenge.

During the week, you will engage in mentor sessions led by industry experts, thought leaders and experienced practitioners who are invited to share their knowledge and experiences in creating change with you.

We've had futurists, an astronaut (!), award winning designers, social entrepreneurs, strategists and innovators, all at the top of their fields.

This is an invaluable opportunity to engage with some of the most engaging and exciting humans in the world, all hyper-active in implementing game changing projects.

We select inspiring and active local and international people to join us on the adventure, sharing their knowledge, insights and personal stories of making positive change. Our lead mentor for this fellowship will be UnSchool founder, Leyla Acaroglu.




While working for a grant-making non-profit for communities affected by natural disasters in the mid-noughties, Steve realised that the factors making these communities vulnerable to natural disasters were affecting everyone - poverty, climate change, coastal migration and the other fruits of an exploitative industrial economy were making communities vulnerable everywhere!

Steve’s work in sustainability rests on the conviction that the challenge to build a more secure future offers unprecedented opportunities. He encourages business and community leaders to leave behind the quaint notions of CSR and environmentalism, and to embrace sustainability primarily as a design discipline in order to plant sustainability at the core of their strategies and daily operations.

In a previous life Steve read medicine, music and theology at London and Cambridge, and worked in the business, education and non-profit sectors in the UK, Poland and Malaysia.

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A green activist and landscape architect, Carolyn Joan Lau, turns trash into treasure. Plastic cans into a lampshades, cereal boxes into necklaces. She aims to divert trash from landfills, and hopes to inspire people to think about imaginative ways to reduce or reuse trash.

Carolyn started an umbrella group called Sampah Menyampah (which means Trash, Revolting/Digusting) with group of friends. Their manifesto is to spread awareness on litter and plastic pollutions, reign in peoples habits of consumption, and make them stewards of our environment for a cleaner and healthier Malaysia.

Carolyn does talks, events and craft workshops to get people hands on enjoying, or at least knowing how to make their own alternatives, and empower people to make system changes. 

Watch Carolyn’s TedTalk!

Check out Carolyn’s straw project here.



A Bidayuh, born and raised in Kuching, Sarawak. The motivation to be in academic world is driven by high percentage of uneducated natives in the region.

Dr. Jehom is striving to prove to them that highest education is achievable, despite having limited resources and being a woman, because all one needs is the motivation.

Her research in recent years has focused on problems that hinder development and the progress of the community, and research that deals with the development of the community from within.

Check out the Rumah Gare community engagement project of iban weaving and traditional textiles here.

Watch a video on the exhibition talk for the project here, and this talk on intangible knowledge and oral traditions here.



Sustainability provocateur Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As an award winning designer, sociologist, and entrepreneur, she developed the Disruptive Design Method and designs cerebrally activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help people make the status quo obsolete.

Her mainstage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a 1.2 million times, and she leads presentations around the world on activating positive social change through creative interventions.  

As a designer, her works such as Design Play Cards, Game Changer Game, Secret Life of Things, Designercise, and the AIGA Gender Equity Toolkit, are at the forefront of activated experience design. She has authored several handbooks for change makers and continues to agitate for new ways of solving complex social problems through beautifully designed interventions. Leyla’s creative work is highly acclaimed, being featured in a permanent exhibition in the Leonardo di Vinci museum in Milan and earning commissions from the National Gallery of Victoria.  Leyla was named Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program in 2016. 

Follow her on Instagram

Photo by Julia Chan

Photo by Julia Chan


Pangrok Sulap (translates roughly to punk rock hut) is an arts collective. They teach workshops in the field of wood carvings and use the art to tell the uniqueness, culture in the local community. The work affirms and affects the preservation of the environment through art to maintain a culture and heritage with a form of awareness.

They start by gathering information about the history of a community and its village. Through this information, they produce a visual art work as a reference for future generations. They do this through visual arts other than writing because the communities outside the city sometimes do not like or do not know to read.

Through this visual arts, they are able to pursue knowledge to be passed down to the next generation and change the perception in society of how to keep stories in history.

Read about their controversial woodcuts here.

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Chris previously worked in the US as a designer and design director for notable brands like Levis and Perry Ellis. He returned home to Malaysia in 2010 and started Johor Green, to encourage sustainable lifestyles from an aspirational angle with green markets, garden parties, talks and gatherings. The central idea for this initiative was to weave emerging ideas in urban sustainability like farmers markets, eating local, native plants and zero waste with our own rich culture and green heritage of landscapes, ingredients and food systems. 

In 2016 he began work designing and developing Medini Green Parks as a platform to scale these ideas. In 2018 Edible Park a 5 acre edible landscape with farm and gardens was launched and now provides regular green markets, festivals, sustainable living workshops, a plant based cafe and organic farmstand. Later in 2019 Heritage Forest will launch with a wild landscape showcasing native and regional plants to encourage, exercise, nature literacy, wellness and arts and craft in this 7 acre urban forest. 

See more here: Edible Park 2018 and Edible Festival



Our hosts for this fellowship are the team behind Ecocentric Transitions. Run by UnSchool alumni Loo Lymun and Nisha Muhammad Faizal, together they have over 10 years of experience in design, implementation and coaching sustainable living based projects. They are also the creators of RIMBA The Card Game which you can see on Instagram and FB.

Influenced by the Transition Towns movement, Permaculture and the Sustainable Development Goals, Ecocentric Transitions has a strong interest in skill building to empower and mobilize communities and they run workshops and community engagement activities to help empower positive change.




With the UnSchool focus on sustainability and brain-building, all our programs are plant-based and strive to be as waste free as possible.

Three beautiful, brain-feeding, delicious and bountiful meals a day are provided, and we are big on in-between snacks.

Constant, regular, delicious snacks to keep you fuelled up and energetic! And, there is also always a pancake breakfast, because... pancakes.


Developed with an organisation local to the host city, we run a 24hr real-world design challenge for our fellows to apply the Disruptive Design Method to a social or environmental issue. 

Mentors and lead educators are on hand to help throughout, and when the 24 hours are up, the teams pitch their ideas to a panel of mentor and client representative judges. This high pressure environment challenges the fellows to collaboratively apply what they have learned in solving a common quest.

Want to learn more about the UnSchool Fellowships? Check the link below for all the details!

The fellowship in Christchurch, New Zealand

The fellowship in Christchurch, New Zealand


The fellowship program is relevant for any industry and professional background.

Our growing community of 100+ people comes from 28 countries. The only requirement is that you have a burning passion and desire to actively participate in leading positive change!

What's on the menu?

  • A 7 day immersive learning adventure jam-packed with activities, classes, events, workshops and tours

  • Pre-fellowship preparation courses at our online school so you arrive ready to go!

  • Each day is a full 12 hours of activation oriented experiences (put all your emails on hold!)

  • Group and one on one mentorship with industry leaders (we've had astronauts and futurists in previous programs!)

  • Meet a super diverse group of people who want to change the world just as much as you

  • 3 sustainable, colourful, delicious plant based meals a day (most days, 2 are free nights to explore!)

  • After the fellowship, you become part of our growing alumni group of activated change agents from 20 countries around the world. This gives you access to our mentors, and alumni only opportunities such as hosting programs, apprenticeships and many other exciting leadership opportunities

scholarships and payment plans

As part of our effort to make our programs equitable, we offer both scholarships and payment plans. Once our selection is made, we offer a limited number of scholarships, which are awarded based on demonstrated need.

Since we started our immersive programs in 2015, we have given +40 recipients over $120K of scholarships to our programs. Fill in the appropriate spot on the application to register your interest.

Tuition is $2500USD, available in payment plans to all fellows granted a place in the program.


Take our courses in Systems Thinking, Sustainable Design, Circular Economy and much more at our online school to get ready for the next level!