Nurture – Design Canberra Festival

Daniel Leone, clay building workshops, DESIGN Canberra 2020. Photo: 5 Foot Photography
Daniel Leone, clay building workshops, DESIGN Canberra 2020. Photo: 5 Foot Photography


Design Canberra presents ‘Nurture’, draws on the well documented benefits of creativity to support wellbeing and is aimed at supporting our artists and the Canberra community during this difficult time. The program is tailored to focus on the well-being aspects of creativity, making and crafting as tools for health and recovery; and as an antidote to the stresses brought about by the pandemic.

Highlights of the Nurture program include:

  1. Creative Journaling Month Challenge.
    Enjoy a month of creative journaling with DESIGN Canberra Nurture and experience first hand the wellbeing benefits of a daily creative practice. Participants will receive a sketchbook in the post, a daily prompt related to the theme of ‘Transformation’ in their email inbox and have the opportunity to send in their completed journal to be digitised for the online exhibition, with a chance to win a $2000 cash prize for the most innovate response. Participants are encouraged to think laterally about the kinds of journaling they can do that involve craft and design practices including, mark making, mixed media, photography, collage, stitching, found objects and clay. All levels of experience are welcome.
  2. Creative Journaling Online Workshops.
    Participants in the Creative Journaling Month Challenge can also sign up for these workshops with Melinda Young, Jeweller and Craft ACT member; and Caitlin Marshall, from Makeshift, a support and education agency connecting creativity and mental health, for social change. Caitlin and Melinda will discuss the benefits that a creative daily practice can have for personal wellbeing and growth. Over two sessions, Melinda will cover a range of techniques and different approaches to journaling, setting you up with skills for your November Sketchbook Challenge journey. Materials required: You will be sent a kit when you book into the sketchbook challenge but you might like to also have extra: paper, pencils/pens, scissors, glue.
  3. Online Craft and Design Auction.
    The auction is an opportunity to celebrate experimental, small scale or one-off pieces from leading crafts makers and designers. All artworks have been handmade by Craft ACT members with all the proceeds going directly to the artists. Craft ACT has removed the usual 30% commission on sales to ensure artists receive the maximum possible benefit.
  4. Mindful Making Workshops.
    Join local makers and learn creative techniques to enhance your wellbeing. Activities include sensory impressions with Mariana del Castillo, stitching with Clare Mazitelli, weaving with Spinners & Weavers, reflective clay with Fran Romano, watercolor painting with Naomi Zouwer, spoon carving with Hiroshi Yamaguchi and more.
  5. Studio Stories.
    Discover the work of designers and makers from Canberra, Australia’s design capital in these fascinating virtual studio tours and interviews. Videos will be available for viewing each week of Nurture via our DESIGN Anytime tab on the DESIGN Canberra website.
  6. Thrive.
    Join Michael Oefi, Business and marketing expert, for a series of professional development workshops specifically designed for makers. Sessions include: Make your Mark by branding your business, Grow your Audience and Make an Online Website Shop.
  7. Discover.
    Craft ACT members are invited to submit proposals for a small-scale ephemeral sculpture trail designed to activate City West in Design Canberra 2022, developed in partnership with the City Renewal Authority to engage audiences in a process of discovery and engage in the city in new ways. Successful artists will have the opportunity to work with mentors to realise their concept and will receive an artist’s fee of $3000 for concept and a materials fee based on their proposal. Applications will open on Nov 8 and entries will be due by 9 December 2021.
  8. Crafter-noon’s.
    From 4-6pm every Friday in November, join us in the Craft ACT gallery for an informal gathering with your Craft ACT community. Bring along your favourite craft, art or design activity: make, drink, and catch up with old friends and new. At 5pm each Friday a selected group of artists will give a floor talk about their work in the Craft ACT annual members exhibition, ‘Transformation’.
  9. New Membership Category: Craft + Design Lover Membership.
    Craft ACT has also just launched a new category for their membership program. The new category is aimed at supporters of the arts. The support will directly support Craft ACT to create greater opportunities for our community of craftspeople and designers, and for the growing audience who admire and appreciate the skill and excellence of their work.
  10. Exhibitions.
    The Nurture program presents exhibitions featuring over 70 artists showcasing leading contemporary craft and design. Highlights include two signature exhibitions by Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre: CO:LAB, a culmination of a year-long Craft ACT pilot professional development and exchange program that forged new directions in the creative industries featuring works by Alison Jackson, Dan Lorrimer and Cathy Franzi; and Transformation Craft ACT: 2021 Annual Members exhibition which showcases current trends in contemporary craft and design, illustrating how care underpins a maker’s commitments.

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.