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2019 Object Subject speaker, Jefa Greenaway
2019 Object Subject speaker, Jefa Greenaway

Object Subject 2019 Key Speakers Announced



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Key Dates

The DESIGN Canberra festival has announced leading writers who will explore, debate and address design responsibilities – past, present and future – at the 2019 Object Subject national design writing conference.

At the inaugural national design writing conference, Object Subject (2017), keynote speaker and NY Times design critic Alice Rawsthorn called on the design sector to take seriously their responsibilities – social, environmental and ethical. This clarion call, teamed with multiple requests from national and international design writers to repeat the event, is a catalyst for the second design writing conference in Canberra on 8-9 November 2019.

International and national speakers include: experimental materials research designer Seetal Solanki (London), arts editor Jennifer Higgie (London), Indigenous architect, lecturer and advocate Jefa Greenaway (Melbourne), urban design researcher and editor of Assemble Papers, Jana Perković, and awarded Australian singer, writer, director, and advocate Robyn Archer.

Registration is now open to attend this important conversation. Early bird registration rates are available until 23 September 2019. Speaker proposals are open until 2 September 2019 and the final conference program and full speaker list will be released in mid-September.

Seetal Solanki

Seetal Solanki is a London-based Founder and Director of materials research design studio Ma-t-ter and a Visiting Tutor on the Interior Design programme at the Royal College of Art. Her work explores alternative methods of employing and implementing materials more responsibly across industry (including IKEA, Selfridges, Unilever) and education. She is the author of Why Materials Matter: Responsible Design for a Better World, a stimulating catalogue of possibilities and a timely manifesto on how to consume, manufacture, and design for a better future. Through the lens of intriguing projects by designers, artists, makers, and scientists, it presents a colourful panoply of ideas, technologies, and creative efforts that focus on the earth’s most basic elements, while also showing how these elements can be transformed into entirely new materials. It explores, for example, how ancient practices such as dyeing fabric and making glue may hold the secret to renewable and earth-friendly consumer products, as well as how recycling plastics can tackle food waste, and how a type of light metal being developed may one day make air travel less fuel-reliant.

Jennifer Higgie

Jennifer Higgie is a staff writer and Editor at Large of Frieze based in London. She is the author of the novel, Bedlam (Sternberg); editor of The Artist’s Joke (Whitechapel / MIT Press); and the author and illustrator of the children’s book There’s Not One (Scribe). She is also working on various screenplays, writing a book on women’s self-portraits since 1548 titled The Mirror & the Palette and is the presenter of the Frieze podcast Bow Down, which highlights women in art history. Earlier this year, she contributed an essay to Angelica Mesiti’s catalogue for her representation of Australia in the Venice Biennale.

Jefa Greenaway

Jefa Greenaway is the Director of Greenaway Architects, with more than two decades exploring the intersection of engagement, Indigeneity and the built environment across private, commercial and educational projects. Jefa is also a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, focussing on Indigenous curriculum development. His project Ngarara Place was exhibited in the Australian pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale and he is the founding chair of the not-for-profit advocacy group Indigenous Architecture + Design Victoria, and co-author of the award winning International Indigenous Design Charter.

Jana Perković

Jana Perković is the editor of Assemble Papers, Melbourne-based magazine for small footprint living across art, architecture, design, environment, urbanism and financial affairs. She is also a widely published theatre and dance critic, specialising in the intersections between human movement and urban space, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Connected Cities Lab at The University of Melbourne. She moonlights as the contemporary dance critic with The Age.

Robyn Archer

Robyn Archer is an Australian singer, writer, stage director, artistic director, and public advocate of the arts. Robyn has published numerous books and writes for the Griffith Review and the Australian Book Review. Former Artistic Director of the Adelaide and Melbourne International Arts Festivals and creator of Ten Days on the Island for Tasmania, Robyn continues to combine advisory and mentoring roles with her own creative output. Former Deputy Chair of The Australia Council, Robyn currently chairs the Board of HOTA: Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast, and the Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership) at NIDA.

Kevin Murray

Kevin Murray is a leading voice in Australia’s craft and design community and an independent writer and curator. He is Managing Editor of Garland Magazine and the Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in the Asia Pacific Region. He is currently a Senior Vice-President of the World Craft Council Asia Pacific Region, coordinator of Southern Perspectives and Sangam: A Platform for Craft-Design Partnerships. He teaches at RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University and University of New South Wales.