Annual Report 2016

Director’s Message - Lisa Cahill

In 2015, we celebrated 50 years of nurturing and supporting contemporary craft and design.

2016 was the year for consolidating in our new home in William Street and planning our next phase. In February, at the end of a three-year national tour, we brought back some highlights from CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade, an exhibition that demonstrated the power of design to address perplexing future scenarios. We followed this with an equally future focused exhibition Shapeshifters: 3D Printing the Future at the beginning of its national tour. April saw former director Steve Pozel leave us to embark on his new chapter. I want to pay tribute to Steve’s leadership over 16 years and his legacy. It is a privilege for me to carry his legacy forward and build on it into the future.

The news of reductions in government funding was difficult and disappointing for us as it was for many other small to medium organisations. After years of investment in ADC and sustained support for craft and design, the ramifications of these decisions are yet to be fully realised. We had to make some big changes for ADC to continue to thrive in the face of a shrinking pool of support. Many people gave generously of their time and their experience to talk with me about possible future directions for ADC. This feedback gave us the impetus to take stock and pivot our programming.

In July we presented Clay Intersections, a beautiful exhibition that enabled us to connect with the clay community and create experiences for our audiences to get their hands muddy and make stuff. We also held our first outdoor makers market which was a great success activating an otherwise unused pocket of inner city Darlo.

We were very proud to present Indigenous Design in September, a project that had seen my team work closely with two young emerging designers towards a beautiful and meaningful outcome. Similarly, our partnership with UNSW Art & Design saw the inaugural graduate presentation of Designing Bright Futures that resulted in two graduates selected for 2017 Milan Design Week.

Our commitment over decades to tour excellent contemporary craft and design exhibitions to regional Australia was acknowledged with a $100,000 Australia Council project grant for ADC On Tour. We were also successful in receiving Visions Australia funding of $137,000 for a new touring exhibition from 2017, Object Therapy.

Behind the scenes our small team has worked very hard to get the best results and forge new partnerships and collaborations that will help us to continue to produce great work. I thank them for a magnificent effort.

The Board, led by Diana D’Ambra, has shown an extraordinary level of commitment and belief in ADC and I thank current and former board members for their volunteer time and valuable input.

2016, while not without its difficulties, has seen ADC emerge as a vibrant, agile organisation committed to engaging audiences with the very best craft and design. Our work provides opportunities for makers and designers to further their careers and contribute to an Australia made better by their innovative, thoughtful, beautiful and heartfelt work. My thanks to them all.

We look forward to collaborating and making great things happen in 2017 and beyond.

It’s my pleasure to present this report of our annual activities for 2016 including a preview of what we have planned for 2017.

Read ADC Annual Report 2016 here


Image: Lucy Simpson, Necklace for a Boy, 2016. Photo: Boaz Nothman