Design Canberra Festival Design Canberra Festival

Namako, by Kengo Kuma. Photo: Five Foot Photography
Namako, by Kengo Kuma. Photo: Five Foot Photography

Results are in!

The DESIGN Canberra team are delighted to announce that the 2018 festival was a resounding success across all measures.

A record of 112,844 people attended the 20-day festival in 2018, a 19% increase on the 2017 record of 94,455. 51% of audiences were experiencing the festival for the first time, a great result for audience development and over 85% of events were free, ensuring accessibility amongst a diverse audience. Check out the 2018 festival report here.

“Depth of programming was a priority this year and I am happy to report this was achieved, particularly through our dedicated Taglietti programs and our exciting collaboration with renowned Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma.

Interestingly, while the festival attracted increased visitor numbers and received significantly more interstate media coverage, we chose to present fewer but more curated events in this year’s program.”– Rachael Coghlan, CEO of Craft ACT and Artistic Director of DESIGN Canberra.

The festival is maturing to become a calendar fixture for contemporary, relevant, experimental and authentic design. A high profile and ephemeral project was at the heart of the expanded vision and fostered international collaboration and design education. Scholarly and popular engagement with the significant contribution of architect Enrico Taglietti was another. New hands-on making workshops promoted the work of Canberra’s designer-makers and brought the delight of making to new audiences.

A new series of forums deepened the festival’s engagement with current debates in design including urban renewal and a partnership with Helsinki Design Week resulted in Design Diplomacy public conversations to build vital international links.

A curated city program of events, talks and tours, artist installations and a people’s choice competition brought the festival’s city programs to a new level of quality, visibility, creativity and impact. Festival favourites – Living Rooms and Open Studios – celebrated the best in contemporary craft, architecture and design and supported emerging makers.

Over $177,842 of income was generated for artists and designers as a result of the DESIGN Canberra Festival this year. This marks a 25% increase in the artist income generated compared to 2017 and is an outstanding effort to help artists make a living from their practice.

The DESIGN Canberra team were also thrilled to be able to get to know the audiences better this year. They are tenacious, with 80% attending multiple events and 37% attending 4 or more. They love architecture, with 25% noting that as a field of interest, but close behind that was craft and making on 22%. 81% come from the ACT and region, with the next biggest audience coming from Sydney and NSW.

Organisers were touched by the overwhelming support from the community, especially the volunteers, with a record 90 people putting their hands up to help. Over 64 partners and supporters from the business, government, retail, education, cultural and tourism sectors also helped make DESIGN Canberra a success and selected programs were generously supported by the ACT Government under the City Renewal Authority’s City Grants program and the ACT Heritage Grants.

Due to popular demand, the DESIGN Canberra team have opened the call out for proposals for the 2019 festival earlier this year and are excited to announce that the theme of the 2019 DESIGN Canberra festival will be “Utopia”.

“Design is a powerful tool to build a better world and imagine a perfect future. Utopia is an opportunity to reimagine the past, build a more creative and inclusive present, and boldly experiment with the future of design,” says Coghlan.

Coinciding with the anniversary of the Bauhaus, which brought together craft, skill and innovation and had a distinct impact on Canberra’s built environment and creative community, the theme will encourage participants to take seriously design’s responsibility as an agent for positive change in society, challenge ideals of perfection and make visible design and designers to new audiences.

Find out more about the 2019 program here.