Australian Design Centre is a centre for contemporary craft and design. We ignite creative ideas building cultural vibrancy across a vast array of disciplines. We take a lead role developing and supporting Australia’s craftspeople and designers to build audiences for their work locally, nationally and globally.

From the expertly handcrafted to the latest advances in technology, from cross-disciplinary practice to the incredible knowledge, culture and traditions of continuing First Nations culture, our program engages the community in the possibility of making and design to creatively transform the lived experience. Our programs and activities offer a space for designers and makers to experiment, test new ideas and push the boundaries of innovation.

Presenting our programs across the country gives us the opportunity to connect with audiences in cities and regional centres. Through ADC On Tour, our national exhibition touring program and associated events and education program, and our research and digital content shared globally, Australian Design Centre is focused on ethical practice and making a positive impact.

In 2021, we present the work of over 700+ artists in 13 exhibitions, and 100+ events, 14 ADC On Tour openings and 150+ citywide festival events for Sydney Craft Week.

We enter a new year and a new decade determined in all that we do to celebrate our creativity that helps us to make sense of the world and to care for it, to support creative practice and to seek to bring only those objects that hold value into our lives. Things (objects, buildings, gardens, experiences) designed and made by hand with time, effort, skill and heart hold stories of makers, materials and places that only become richer when we cherish them, experience them and make them our own.

Exhibition Highlights

Design/Isolate presents how creative thought can help lead the way for change. Over 60 designers/creative thinkers have captured their thoughts in sketches, diagrams, drawings, text or collage on COVID-19, the isolation experience, what ‘a new normal’ in Australia might look like and how design might contribute to recovery post-pandemic. This exhibition of the 60 journals is on now and is accompanied by a rich digital archive containing further insights into the individual contributions.

Isolate Make: Creative Resilience in a Pandemic, the arts and creative industries have been hit hard this year with opportunities to exhibit and sell work limited by closures and restrictions. This exhibition and series of Sydney Festival events show how nine creative practitioners have responded. The physical exhibition on now showcases the completed work with a digital experience of the journey.

In February, we present Anita Johnson Larkin: Come to me without a Word. The exhibition explores human brokenness through gestures of repair. Abandoned and collected objects are combined with felt, beeswax, honey and lead in Larkin’s artworks offering themselves up as intimate poetry of love, longing and loss.

In March, Signatures: the mark as the embodiment of identity and intent presents the work of 21 fibre and textile artists from Untethered Fibre Artists Inc. Each artist investigates the making of a mark – a distinctive pattern, notion or characteristic by which someone or something may be identified.

In May we present the Sydney launch (delayed due to Covid-19) of ADC On Tour exhibition Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery. Made/Worn includes the outstanding work of 22 contemporary jewellery artists explores the act of making and the creation of meaning for the wearer. Featured artists: Anna Davern, Bin Dixon-Ward, Blanche Tilden, Bridget Kennedy, Catherine Truman, Claire McArdle, Emma Fielden, Grace Lillian Lee, Helena Bogucki, Inari Kiuru, Jess Dare, Julie Blyfield, Liam Bensen, Lola Greeno, Manon van Kouswijk, Maree Clarke, Pennie Jagiello, Sian Edwards, Tiffany Parbs, Vicki Mason, Zoe Brand, Zoe Veness.

Natalie Rosin: Endangered + Extinct: features architectural ceramic sculptures depicting lost city buildings that have been demolished or are under threat of demolition.

In July, Australian Design Centre partners with WORKSHOPPED for the fourth year to present WORKSHOPPED21 outstanding prototypes from emerging and established designers in furniture, lighting and objects. WORKSHOPPED, now in its third decade, is Australia’s top awards program mentoring industrial designers and championing the manufacturing of Australian design.

In August a touring exhibition from Brisbane’s Artisan asks visual arts, craft and design practitioners to respond to speculative fiction as stimulus for new works in Dystopia/ Utopia 2070. Speculative fiction explores the future of humanity and its social and political structures through imaginary worlds. Examples include 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. Featured artists: Clare Poppi, Charlotte Haywood, Susan Lincoln, Christine Atkins, Russel Anderson and Rebecca Ward.

In October we present PROFILE 2021: Contemporary Jewellery and Object Award, this biennial award exhibition in partnership with the Jewellery and Metalsmiths Group of Australia (JMGA-NSW). This exhibition presents a diverse and comprehensive cross-section of national and international contemporary jewellers and object designers. Profile is a significant curated award for both emerging and established artists.

Also in October is Studio Woodworkers, an exhibition featuring exceptional Australian woodwork made by Australia’s finest designer-makers and artists working in wood. Presented in partnership with Studio Woodworkers Association (SWA).

Ending the year on an optimistic note, we present Happy Objects. Happy objects bring us joy. Joy can be celebrated for its complexity – drawing on memory, fulfilling ideology, embracing practicality. Joy, like patina, is nuanced – sometimes seamless, but often chipped and imperfect.

In Object Space, our window gallery on William Street, we will present a further six exhibitions throughout the year.


We are delighted to be partnering with Sydney Festival from 4 to 27 January to present a range of workshops, talks and events at the Centre.

Sydney’s only festival dedicated to the handmade, Sydney Craft Week returns from 8 to17 October. For its fifth year, Sydney Craft Week returns with ‘Craft Values’, a theme exploring what we value about craft and what we value as craftspeople.

ADC On Tour

ADC On Tour, our national exhibition touring program, opens four exhibitions at 14 venues in 2021. These include:

  • Made / Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery
  • Seed Stitch Contemporary Textile Awards 2020
  • Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft \ Prue Venables
  • Obsessed: Compelled to make

Find out more about ADC On Tour here.

Makers Markets

Our curated outdoor markets are on again 23 January and 16 October 2021.

Read the program brochure here

The support we receive to present this program comes from our government and corporate funding partners, philanthropic trusts and individual donors, adding to our own streams of self-generated revenue. If you would like to make a contribution to help us to deliver our programs across 2021 and beyond please click here.

Image: Melinda Young, studio view Isolate | Make 2020. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

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