Amidst the global pandemic crisis and world-changing events, the festival, with its timely theme, will celebrate transformation – fostering innovation, facilitating quality discourse, supporting professional development and promoting social inclusion.

Craft ACT, the organisation that delivers DESIGN Canberra, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. While the 2020 edition of the event drew over 84,000 visitors, this year’s festival will present more than 200 events, exhibitions, talks, tours, activations, markets, collaborations, artists’ studios and open homes.

Craft ACT is calling for leading architecture, design and craft initiatives aligned with the ‘Transformation’ theme to participate in the annual three-week festival, which will showcase and celebrate Canberra as a global city of design and a living design laboratory.

“Even in the midst of upheaval and disruption during the global pandemic and other confronting experiences of 2020, we are seeing profound transformation taking place all around us,” said Rachael Coghlan, CEO and artistic director of Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre and DESIGN Canberra.

“We have a shared responsibility and extraordinary opportunity to achieve real transformation. The eighth edition of the DESIGN Canberra festival asks: what should we retain and what can we discard from our 2020 experiences to connect more meaningfully as a community, to nurture wellbeing and health, celebrate creativity and reduce our burden on the environment?

“We remain constantly inspired by the ways that artists and designers transform raw materials and ideas into objects, spaces and buildings to creatively express layers of meaning, history and connection from the domestic to the public sphere. Craft ACT is proudly one of Australia’s longest continuous-running membership organisations in the visual arts and in 2021 we will celebrate the many ways our close-knit community has nurtured and transformed artists’ practice for half a century,” Coghlan added.

Submissions are invited for DESIGN Canberra in the following areas:

Architecture: Architects and homeowners are invited to propose recent projects for both contemporary and heritage architecture programs. Architecture programs are always popular with festival audiences and offer a rare opportunity for festival visitors to explore some of Canberra’s finest houses and built design.

Exhibitions: Artists and galleries with exhibitions representing design and/or aligned with the festival theme are invited to submit a proposal for inclusion in the 2021 program. Exhibitions must coincide at least in part with the festival dates (8-28 November 2021).

Engagement: DESIGN Canberra welcomes proposals that speak to festival values and themes for events, tours, workshops, activations, installations, design-related performances, public talks, publication launches, food and drink experiences, wellness, online works or research.

Submissions for participation in DESIGN Canberra must be sent in before 9am Monday 8 March, 2021. The festival will run 8-28 November 2021.

Image: The Teapot Project by Hendrik Forster & Kenny Son. Photo: Youmee Jeon