CEO's Message: 2023 Annual Review

Applying a critical lens to design and craft, it is extraordinary to look back at the creativity, innovation and pace of what our creative community has achieved over twelve months. While I am proud of our exhibitions, events and many other things that we achieve at Australian Design Centre, I am most proud of the bridge we create between creative and community, a bridge that is continually crossed enabling people to gather and experience craft and design, enriching lives and opening minds to new possibilities.

Australia’s makers and designers are world class, highly skilled, innovative and engaged with the world and its challenges. Community is central to everything we do at Australian Design Centre. Artists, designers, makers, suppliers, writers, filmmakers, editors, producers, partners, supporters and all the other people who work with us and help us to do what we do are part of our community.

We owe an enormous gratitude to all our supporters and donors. The annual fundraising campaign was a huge testament to our supporters. Raising over $50,000 and a further generous philanthropic donation of $200,000, is a huge boost for programming. At year end we landed a substantial grant from Visions Australia to launch a new project with ceramic artist Vipoo Srivilasa in 2024 and the City of Sydney made a project with emerging ceramic artists possible with a creative grant.

The year began with Sydney on fire celebrating WorldPride. A month of celebrations of human diversity with the LBTQIA+ community. It was exciting to be part of this global moment with exhibitions and events that were inclusive and open to all. Later in the year the Sydney Craft Week Festival landed with the 7th annual edition supported in 2023 by The City of Sydney and Create NSW with festivals grants.

Collaboration is inherent in everything that we do and it is in that spirit that we presented a ‘show and tell’ of studio production work from Adelaide’s JamFactory. A cross cultural partnership with Massey University and Creative New Zealand brought together contemporary jewellery artists from Aotearoa and Australia in Deep Material Energy.

Curating a presentation of ten NSW designer makers for Melbourne Design Fair was a four day industry highlight. It was an extraordinary opportunity to meet a huge audience of sector and general community and a wonderful booth collaboration with Australian Tapestry Workshop.

The highlight of the year was launching the inaugural MAKE Award: Biennial Prize for Innovation in Australian Craft and Design. This substantial prize of $45,000 was made possible by a generous philanthropist. With close to 200 entries and 30 finalists selected by an esteemed jury who gave their time so generously, the MAKE Award was a resounding success in its first year.

We announced Australian artist Helen Britton as the tenth Living Treasure: Master of Australian Craft in the series of national touring exhibitions that began in 2004. Developing this project with Helen is a career highlight for me, a great honour and I cannot wait for the big reveal later in 2025. ADC On Tour continued across the country including the sustainable exhibition Good Natured: design art architecture making a big impact with all those who experienced it in Sydney and Port Macquarie.

Publishing new original content continues to be part of what we do with a new book launched Design Isolate: Creative Resilience in a Pandemic containing the work of 60 creative practitioners from our 2020 journal and exhibition project. We also released a third series of the double award nominated podcast Object: stories of design and craft.

Many thanks to those we have worked with throughout the year, from the creative practitioners to our small team and volunteer board and partners and supporters. Special thanks to our First Nations Reference Group who provide excellent guidance about we can continue to make strides together in our work on Gadigal Land and across the many unceded lands that make up our continent.

2024 is the 60th anniversary of Australian Design Centre. We hope everyone will join us to celebrate the achievements of so many over the decades and to look forward to a future where making and design are part of life for all of us as we chart our course through the many challenges ahead.

Lisa Cahill
CEO & Artistic Director

You are all part of the Australian craft and design story

Australian Design Centre's purpose is to support and promote craft and design practice and demonstrate how we can all incorporate creativity into everyday life. With your support, we can continue to do this work with confidence — knowing that, like us, you believe in the power of creativity and design to enrich our lives.

All donations make a difference. 

End of article.