Festival call out


7–26 November 2017

DESIGN Canberra is calling for projects that celebrate and promote Canberra as a living design laboratory, a global city of design.

Submit your proposals by 24 April 2017.

Design is in Canberra’s DNA.

From the time of Walter and Marion Griffin’s visionary design a century ago, to iconic experimental modernist architecture of the 1950s and 60s, through to contemporary and sustainable design developments today, Canberra has been — and will always be — a living design laboratory.

Throughout November 2017, over 100 events, exhibitions, talks, tours, activations, markets, collaborations, artist studios and open homes will be showcased as DESIGN Canberra, transforming the nation’s capital into a new platform for the best in design. The festival, now in its 4th year, is for all interests and ages.

In calling for proposals from across all design disciplines, we encourage a spirit of collaboration where Canberra’s creative community works together to showcase the best in contemporary design. We welcome proposals which align with the festival values, ambitions and aspirations including: contemporary, relevant, exploratory and authentic.

Whether you are an individual maker, a collective, a cultural or educational institution, a business, a researcher or a government agency, the festival provides a platform for a multi-faceted exploration of design arts and creative industries. DESIGN Canberra is attracting more, and new, audiences each year.

Proposals are welcome for:

Note that exhibitions can include dates before or after 8–26 November, but must have some overlap with DESIGN Canberra dates to be included in the 2017 program.

DESIGN Canberra encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers to submit proposals for the festival program.

What will DESIGN Canberra do to support my event?

DESIGN Canberra is the major outreach activity of Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. Last year, we attracted 69,000 people to the festival.

We curate the festival program: we present opening and keynote events and exhibitions that form the backbone of the festival and provide a context for the events, exhibitions and activities of other presenters. We work with a network of stakeholders to present the festival, including University of Canberra, ANU, Australian Institute of Architects (ACT Chapter), Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Australian Graphic Design Association and others. We are generously supported and inspired by our design-focused corporate sponsors including Rolfe Classic BMW, home.by holly, Vibe hotel and Cre8ive. Events ACT provide ACT Government funding to underpin the presentation of the festival. In the lead up to the 2016 ACT election, the ACT Government committed to fund the festival every year from 2017-2020. This is a time for growth and long-term ambition.

Craft ACT has overall management responsibility for DESIGN Canberra, including governance, fundraising and high level marketing and publicity. We are the central repository and contact point for a diverse range of presenters who engage with the festival. We manage a festival website on which all events will be listed and coordinate Design Canberra social media. These are the main channels to access the program for most attendees. In 2016 DESIGN Canberra social media had 190,000 post reaches and there were 70,000 Design Canberra web page views. In 2017 we will have a new website with increased functionality for event details and the capacity for attendees to construct a festival planner.

We produce and distribute a hard-copy festival flyer for high-level promotion and featured events and exhibitions. We send EDM’s to 24,500 DESIGN Canberra followers who have signed up since 2014. We will engage with selected proposals on cross-promotion and DESIGN Canberra branding requirements.

How do I submit my proposal?

You can submit a proposal through Submittable.

I’ve submitted my proposal. What next?

Thanks for submitting a proposal to DESIGN Canberra. We can’t wait to hear what you have in mind and hope to work with you to present an inspiring and creative festival in 2017.

You will know by 8 MAY 2023 if your proposal will be included in the 2017 festival program.

A curatorial panel will review the proposals and determine which ideas make a good fit with the 2017 festival program. The panel will include the Artistic Director and Creative Producer of DESIGN Canberra as well as two members of the Design Canberra committee of cross-disciplinary experts and collaborators.

What if my proposal is accepted?

Once we advise that your proposal has been accepted, we will ask you for additional information for marketing and promotional purposes. This will include text and images, with credits, that we can use on the new DESIGN Canberra website.

We will ask for evidence of your public liability insurance (PLI) coverage. If you are a Craft ACT member, your membership also buys you PLI coverage.

We will gather that additional information by sending you a link to a Submittable form.

And we will provide you with DESIGN Canberra key promotional dates and information about how we can best promote your project and how you can best promote your participation in DESIGN Canberra.

The festival has a growing, but still limited, budget for marketing. Increasing public and interstate recognition of the festival is where the bulk of that money goes and that is in the interest of all participants. Running a successful project or event in DESIGN Canberra is a collaborative endeavour. We require you to bring your audiences to DESIGN Canberra and in turn we will do what we can to bring awareness of the DESIGN Canberra audience to your project. In our experience, projects in the festival are successful when all parties actively promote their participation to their own networks and communities, and we share in each other’s hard work.


You will be responsible for:

What happens if my proposal is not successful?

We will let you know if your proposal is not accepted. Please don’t be discouraged or disheartened if your proposal is unsuccessful. It simply is not possible to include all proposals in the program. If you’d like to be involved in the festival, we welcome volunteers and interns to help on a range of programs. We hope to see you at the festival.

Key dates

For more information contact Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre on (02) 6262 9333 or [email protected]