Design Canberra 2021 logo

City Hill. Photo: Martin Ollman.
City Hill. Photo: Martin Ollman.


Canberrans have been in crisis mode since November 2019 – with fires, smoke, hail storms and now the global pandemic. People are understandably feeling fatigued.

The necessary cancellation of many events has prompted a reimagining of how thoughtful, responsible and creative events might be curated. Although gatherings of 100s and 1000s of people are unlikely to proceed in the near future, there is an opportunity for small group, carefully managed, events and experiences.

We have surveyed our community and the overwhelming response was to proceed with DESIGN Canberra, so our hard-hit artists, designers and makers had something to look forward to in an otherwise bleak year of reduced opportunities and decreased income. Our sponsors and partners are eager for the festival to continue, to show the many ways that they care for the community.

We are confident that DESIGN Canberra can help in our city’s economic recovery and promote the many benefits of Canberra as a city of design, whose community has responsibly responded to the virus.

DESIGN Canberra has always strived to be open and accessible to as many people as possible, with up to 90% of our events being free in previous years. In the past, we have found that our free events booked out early, which was great. Unfortunately, many people who had booked the free events didn’t turn up on the day, which was not great.

Due to COVID-19, many of our events will be smaller to meet social restrictions. We will need to manage numbers and bookings more closely. We don’t want people to miss out because someone has booked but not turned up. So this year you’ll notice a couple of new processes. There will be limits on the number of tickets you can book at one time, and more of our events will have a modest fee this year. This will hopefully mitigate the urge to book first and decide whether to go later. Other conditions of booking will be listed on the individual event pages.

Craft ACT is a registered charity so proceeds from the booking fee will go directly to supporting local craft artists and designers.

The health and safety of our audience and presenters is our top priority so we would like to remind you to please stay home if any of the following applies to you:

We are happy to provide a full refund if you are unable to attend an event due to any of the above reasons.

Check In CBR

DESIGN Canberra encourages visitors to download the Check In CBR app for a contactless, secure and convenient way to sign into Canberra venues. The app enables individuals to check in to venues and have this data stored securely with ACT Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community. Use of the app will help the ACT Health contact tracing team quickly identify and assist anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Download the Check-In CBR App from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
  2. Register your details (required for the first time only).
  3. At participating venues, open the app, select ‘Check In Now’ and hover your smartphone over the displayed QR code.
  4. Add in any additional people – those who are with you and without their own device or app.
  5. When the check-in is complete, show venue staff the successful check in app screen.
  6. Enjoy your time out and about in your community knowing you are helping to stop the spread.

DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.