Speaker Highlights – Design Canberra Festival

CraftACT Gallery. Artist: Tom Skeehan. Photo: Dream Pieces
CraftACT Gallery. Artist: Tom Skeehan. Photo: Dream Pieces

Speaker Highlights


Seetal Solanki

Seetal Solanki is a materials designer, researcher and educator based in London. She is Founder and Director of Ma-tt-er, a materials research design studio, consultancy and school, advising, designing, communicating and educating what materials are and can be in order to implement a more responsible future.

Author of “Why Materials Matter” (2018) and a Visiting Tutor at the Royal College of Art. She was made an Honorary Fellow at Hereford College of the Arts and received her Fellowship at the RSA in 2018 and holds an MA in Textile Futures from Central Saint Martins.

She’s had the privilege to work with NIKE, Selfridges, World Water Day, IKEA/SPACE10, British Council, The Design Museum, Hyundai, Ace & Tate, It’s Nice That and work has been widely featured around the globe. Seetal’s work focuses on creating a positive social, economic, political and environmental impact, which reveals the truth about how we live today and might live tomorrow.

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.

Clare Press

Clare Press is Vogue Australia’s Sustainability Editor-at-Large, the first position of its kind globally, and the presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast. A passionate advocate for responsible fashion, she speaks internationally on the fashion industry and ethics, the circular economy, and the sustainability opportunity for business. Clare’s iTunes chart-topping podcast, Wardrobe Crisis, is in its third series. Each week, she interviews global thought-leaders, academics, creatives and industry insiders, from Cradle to Cradle’s William McDonough and to educator Dilys Willams and designer Roland Mouret. Clare is the author of two books about sustainability: Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion (Nero, 2016) decodes the changing global fashion system and investigates its effects on people and planet. Rise & Resist, How to Change the World (Melbourne University Press, 2018) explores activism and the new social and climate justice movements.

Ms Clare Press appears by arrangement with Saxton Speakers Bureau

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 AO FAHA is a singer, writer, director and public advocate for the arts. She has released twelve albums, the most recent in 2019 being Classic Cabaret Rarities and currently tours four song recital programs Que Reste-t’Il, Dancing on the Volcano and The Fortunes of Exile (both German) and The Other Great American Songbook. She premiered Picaresque (featuring 200 built models from her collection of architectural maquettes) at the 2019 Adelaide Festival. Many remember Robyn for her one-woman shows including A Star is Torn which will celebrate a 40th anniversary in 2020, but also as Artistic Director of the Adelaide and Melbourne International arts festivals and Ten Days on the Island which she created for Tasmania. Robyn began the Artistic Direction stream of her career in Canberra for the National Festival of Australian Theatre in 1993, and returned to direct the 2013 Centenary of Canberra which inspired fresh looks at the city and its historic and contemporary design credentials. Robyn’s lifelong interest in architecture includes Architektin, a play she wrote about Margrete Schutte-Lihotsky. Among her many awards she has been honoured by France, Belgium and the US, holds honorary doctorates from five Australian universities and is an Australian Book Review laureate, read more at www.robynarcher.com or at www.smartartists.com.au


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.

Photos from top to bottom: Campbell Addy, Jennifer Higgie, courtesy of the speaker, courtesy of the speaker, Bea Uhart, Claudio Raschella, 5 Foot Photography.



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.