CEO’s Message - Lisa Cahill

If 2016 was about settling in to our new home and learning to do more with less by forging collaborative partnerships, in 2017 Australian Design Centre became a destination for people looking to engage with creative ideas.

We presented 10 exhibitions, over 100 events including our popular curated outdoor markets, created a new festival and supported close to 100 makers in Object Shop. We opened a new window gallery on William Street, Object Space, and participated in many offsite events including DENFAIR, WORKSHOPPED17, Sydney Living Museums Christmas Fare, Design Tasmania’s Women in Design, Design Canberra and Design Made. Our national touring program ADC ON TOUR had five exhibitions making 11 stops around the country, taking design across Australia.

From the expertly and beautifully handcrafted to cross disciplinary design, we presented a program that sought to engage the community in the possibility of design to ignite creative ideas in their own lives. Starting the year with an unapologetically fun exhibition of crocheted food that you wear on your head, we loved working with Instagram star Chili Philly and the Sydney Mardi Gras. A bold colourful statement about craft as a vehicle for self expression and creating community, enticing many people to pick up a crochet hook and make for the first time. In a collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, we also played with the colourful enamel jewellery of Annie Gobel. Object Therapy (now on tour as part of our national touring program ADC on Tour) followed in the Autumn. This exhibition was an eye opening look at the possibilities of design to transform and honour the meaning inherent in the objects in our lives. Closely following this was LOCAL MILAN, the work of 11 designers returning from a showcase at Milan Design Week.

Digital design and architectural photography (Fracture Differences) and textile installation (Green Asylum) were fascinating glimpses into diverse and innovative practice. Bio engineering and weaving (Biotextilology) collided with the Indigenous jewellery practice of 40 Yolgnu jewellers from Yirrikala. The final exhibition of the year was the second iteration of Designing Bright Futures, the work of selected graduating design students from UNSW Art and Design.

In October, with the encouragement, support and involvement of the entire Sydney craft community, we produced the inaugural Sydney Craft Week, a ten day festival of contemporary craft with over 100 events, exhibitions, workshops and markets across the Greater Sydney region. We were delighted with the success of the festival with big plans for 2018.

It is so gratifying to see our work recognised with over $700,000 in project grants enabling; ADC ON TOUR to tour exhibitions to regional areas; two new touring exhibitions; and a development grant for the next Living Treasure Master of Australian Craft. With the support of Create NSW, we engaged Lucy Simpson as Australian First Nations Creative Producer, a 12 month part time role that I am confident will deliver some interesting projects and connections with community as the year progresses. The NSW Government also awarded us a Community Building Partnership grant to make some much needed access and amenity improvements to the Centre.

My sincere thanks go to the many collaborators, the artists and arts organisations, funding partners, donors, audiences and all those who helped us to make 2017 such a fantastic year for craft and design. The ADC team is small but grows with commitment and with the strength of collaboration. The skill and creativity they bring to implementing ideas, and often taking that leap of faith on new opportunities, are what makes them an exceptional group of people to work with. I also sincerely thank the ADC Chair and Board members for volunteering their time and expertise to guide us through the year.

It is with pride that I present this annual report of our activities in 2017 and a preview of what’s in store for 2018.

Read the ADC Annual Report 2017 here. 

Image: Subhadra’s Puzzle. Repaired by Daniel Emma. Photo: Lee Grant. Image copyright Hotel Hotel.

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