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Tom Skeehan, Thought Process. Photo: Dream Pieces
Tom Skeehan, Thought Process. Photo: Dream Pieces

Object Subject 2019

Call for speaker proposals

Calling designers, writers, bloggers, publishers, researchers, collectors and design lovers.  Object Subject: 2019 National Design Writing Conference is an international platform for writers to address design as a positive change agent in society.

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.

Presented as part of the popular DESIGN Canberra festival, Object Subject: 2019 National Design Writing Conference will build on the successful inaugural event, which inspired new conversations, connections and ideas, questioned the very role and responsibility of design, and resulted in the publication of a special issue of the international scholarly journal, Fusion.

You are invited to submit your proposals for the conference sessions by 5 August 2019.

Stay tuned for announcements about keynote speakers and other featured guests. Join our mailing list here.

Presentation types

We welcome proposals for presentations in a range of accessible and more formal formats. The below are suggestions only, if you have other ideas we would love to hear from you.

This is a 20-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of questions and answers.
We recommend against reading entire papers, and suggest you use visual supports such as PowerPoint. Multiple-authored presentations are welcome.

Visual presentation/show and tell
Alternative format proposals are welcomed.

Public conversation
This is a 30-minute conversation between two participants on a proposed topic.

Panel discussion
This involves the panel chair introducing the session followed by 40 minutes of discussion among the panel followed by 5-10 minutes of questions and answers.
Proposed panel discussion topics:Sustainability by design – how can design writing address global environmental crises?

Submission Guidelines

All proposals must be submitted through the Craft ACT submittable page, and must include:

Presenters must obtain all necessary authorisations and clearances from their organisation(s), prior to the start of the conference. Presentations shall be unclassified and cleared for release to the public. Presenters and panel chairs must register for the conference and pay the applicable registration fee.

Full papers will be submitted after abstracts have been accepted.

Key Dates

5 August: Deadline for speaker proposals (including papers, panels and presentations)
16 August: Notification of accepted proposals
1 September: Early bird registration closes
7 October: Deadline for full papers (where applicable)
3 November: Registration closes
8-9 November: Conference

Registration & Fees

Early bird: $190.00 (save $100 off full price registration until Sunday 1 September 2019)
Speakers: $190.00
Full registration: $290.00
Student: $120.00

The registration fee includes:

Register now


Bursaries will be available for students (at any level), as well as emerging practitioners and emerging arts workers in their first 5 years of practice. Bursaries are awarded by application (released closer to the date – watch this space).

Bursary recipients receive free conference registration and are required help out with a few tasks at the conference – checking tickets, social media, set up etc. The work is shared by the bursary recipients and we ask nothing onerous, in fact it is a nice way to support the event and get to know people.

If you receive a bursary and have already paid your registration (e.g. to ensure you get the early bird rate) then we will refund the payment.


All papers submitted to Object Subject will undergo a peer-review process. Selected papers from the conference will be published in an online edition of Fusion journal (established by Charles Sturt University and the University of Lincoln, UK). This publication will investigate the contribution that contemporary craft and design makes to society, and establish a dialogue between craft and design practice and cultural, social and environmental concerns. Read the 2017 Object Subject Special Edition of Fusion Journal here.


All questions about submissions should be emailed to