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Girl Nomad Ceramics. Photo: Five Foot Photography
Girl Nomad Ceramics. Photo: Five Foot Photography


DESIGN Canberra 2020: Care

9-29 November

With humanity facing unprecedented challenges including climate change and a global health pandemic, DESIGN Canberra’s 2020 theme of ‘Care’ is intensely relevant.

“In 2020, the value of care is more important than ever: for our community, for our environment, for architecture and for our world. The festival will become a collaborative forum for contemporary, experimental and authentic design to celebrate and explore the ways that care and caring is valuable and vital,” explained CEO of Craft ACT: Craft & Design, and Artistic Director of DESIGN Canberra, Rachael Coghlan.

At a time when many of us feel an urgency to commit to personal transformation to address the climate crisis, it is important to remember that care not only for the environment but for each other has never been more critical. Scientist Susan Moser explains that looking after one another will be vital to our future: “We keep talking about the three Fs: fight, flight, or freeze, but there is a fourth one, and that’s the one that actually helped us survive…. The forming of bonds, or the be-friending. That’s the piece that got us to cooperate as a species and recognize that we have greater advantage when we work together as opposed to everyone for themselves.’

For the craft sector, care underpins a maker’s commitments: to forge new relationships to materials; to invest time to learn and develop techniques, skill and practice; and pay respect to craft’s tradition of exchange, mentoring and collaboration. As Kevin Murray (independent craft writer and curator) acknowledges, ‘The entry requirement for craft is a universal human capacity —care. This care for the world in using the gifts of nature to sustain and give meaning to our shared existence is an ideal to be found in all cultures.’

DESIGN Canberra is the primary outreach program for Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, one of the longest continuously running visual arts membership organisations in Australia, supporting artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers.

DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal People, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and work, and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

[1] Despairing about the Climate Crisis? Read This. Earth Island Journal article by Laurie Mazur 22 July 2019

[2] Australian Design Centre interview by Lisa Cahill