DESIGN Canberra festival guide: The eco warrior – Design Canberra Festival

DESIGN Canberra festival guide: The eco warrior

DESIGN Canberra festival guide: The eco warrior

Are you a person who is passionate about preventing damage and harm to the environment? Do you find yourself making conscious changes to the way you live in order to make a positive impact on the planet?

Then the 2020 DESIGN Canberra Festival is your chance to really immerse yourself in the world of environmentally friendly and ethical craft, design and architecture.

We don’t want our fellow eco warriors to miss out, so here is our pick of what you’ll love on this year’s program:

Annie Parnell. Photo: Lean Timms


  Week 01 means go time. This week is a great time to familiarise yourself with DESIGN Canberra festival hub in the Monaro Mall on City Walk. Here you can explore engaging exhibitions like A Common Thread, which is a contemporary and multidisciplinary collaboration between emerging makers Sam Gold and Harriet McKay, or see the works of Canberra’s artists of the future at Emerging Contemporaries, featuring local early-career artists. It will also be home to talks, workshops, events and wellbeing sessions throughout the whole festival.

Ever think about how you could change the world (or your little piece of it)? Of course you do. Head to Dickson Village from 10am for a pop-up morning workshops and talk with inspirational locals and career coaches. It will get you inspired, and maybe a little bit motivated.

On Saturday, you’ll want to take a trip to Stromlo Cottage in Coombs for the Cottage Eco Market, where you can browse and shop up-cycled or sustainable fashion, homewares and other goods. You can also check out the launch of the new recycled sculpture commissioned by Molonglo Conservation Group as part of a Molonglo River clean up activity.

  Then on Saturday evening at 7.30pm, it’s time to relax and join artist Hannah Quinlivan as she speaks about her signature DESIGN Canberra installation, Desiderium, followed by an intimate performance where acclaimed classical vocalists respond to the sculptural elements as they move through the space, materialising the atmosphere of Desiderium into sound and movement.

Still from Nyayuku Papa, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, 2018


  One week down, two more to go.

Wondering where to from here when it comes to Australia’s cultural terrain? Running every afternoon from Monday to Friday this week, you can tune into At the Crossroad?, a series of free online webinars exploring what transformations are needed to secure our cultural and creative future.

On Saturday or Sunday, pay a visit to Australian Catholic University in Watson to explore the ACU Re-birth Project by Koitoya. This project focussed on using campus trees which had to be cut down to make way for the new campus building in 2016 and transforming them into unique furniture.

Feel like catching a crafty flick? On Saturday afternoon, Real to Reel is a short film festival that celebrates craft and making in all its facets: traditional, contemporary, subversive and diverse, with an eclectic program of shorts.

Then on Sunday afternoon, get your hands dirty at the Ceramic Salon. Squeeze some earth and feel grounded as you get in touch with your creative side and enjoy some clay therapy, guided by two local artists.

Ephemeral pots. Photo: Courtesy of Canberra Potters.


  It’s the final week but still plenty of time to cram in some eco-friendly design goodness.

On Thursday, take some time out of your day and pause for a while with a restful and grounding lunchtime pinchpot meditation session, led by local ceramicist Fran Romano. You’ll leave feeling centred and calm.

Saturday is a great opportunity to visit a lineup of amazing local and socially conscious designers and makers during Week Three of Open Studios. Between 10am and 4pm, you can swing by studios including FINK Design, Atelier 818: Lisa Cahill, Storybird Studio, Pure Pod, Thor’s Hammer and plenty more.

And round out the festival on Saturday by learning how to create a bold floral arrangement for your home in a hands-on workshop run by Brave Botanics. Inspired by the landscape and mother nature, Brave Botanics specialises in sustainable practices, like using locally sourced and grown flowers, foraged plant materials, and creating without floral foam or excessive waste.

  Looking for more to do? There’s plenty more to see, do and experience during DESIGN Canberra 2020. Head to for the full program.

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.