When is it not time for a festival in Sydney?!  This month we have both Sydney Design Festival and Art Month Sydney.  Australian Design Centre is featured in both festivals. ADC CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Cahill is a Sydney Design Festival Advisor.  In no particular order these are Lisa’s five picks for the Sydney Design Festival.

Happy 21st Birthday Sydney Design Festival! Kicking off on 1 March the festival is a credit to the Festival Team at MAAS. There are so many events and exhibitions to choose from it is hard to single any out but I think at the very least I’m going to

1. My number one pick (no bias of course) has to be Australian Design Centre’s Makers Market. I can hardly believe this is our seventh outdoor market alongside the Centre in Palmer Street Darlinghurst! This will be a huge festival edition with 27 makers stalls and I am    reliably informed the best coffee and crepe caravan in town! Find out more

2. Exhibitions are on my list too and aside from our own STEEL: art, design, architecture, I’m also looking forward to seeing The Black Box at UNSW Art and Design. The project centres on the creation of a digital exhibition that explores a single project within the practice of a number of individual designers. Through visually documenting each practitioner’s processes and design methods for a selected project, the exhibition will illuminate, and make tangible, the moments in creative practice when seemingly disparate ideas intersect. Find out more.  

3. I’ve booked my tickets for and really looking forward to the talk at Superlocalstudio Level Up: How open source design is enabling us to be the creator vs the consumer. Over half the global population has access to the internet and the internet of things provides us with a platform to share, to connect and to create. Open source technology has given us the ability to share socially and environmentally progressive ideas and designs in the aim of enabling individuals with the ability to become the creator vs the consumer. Find out more.

4. I’m also checking out Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst’s new show MOTELRoad trips without air conditioning, collapsing folding beds, Paddle pop sticks stuffed down the back seat of the car, minor injuries from tripping over a guy rope, variety packs of cereal, sunburn on sunburn, a banana lounge for a bed in an annexe, Chinese restaurants in country town, a room key and a carton of milk. This sounds like my childhood! Find out more. 

5. And this one looks really interesting FEMUFACTURE Panel Discussion: Women and Digital Fabrication in Australia and Japan a panel discussion moderated by our former head of programs Kathryn Hunyor at The Japan Foundation. Find out more. And one more! Don’t miss this three day design event presented by the AUTHENTIC DESIGN ALLIANCE® at Mungo Scott, a century old former flour mill. Find out more.


Celebrating its 21st year, Sydney Design Festival 2019 presents events that respond to the theme ACCESSING DESIGN.

Through a diverse program of events, Sydney Design Festival champions local, national and international design, and promotes a critical understanding of the impact of design on everyday life and culture.


ACCESSING DESIGN seeks to promote responsive design that gives voice to diverse Sydney communities, and asks designers to broaden the definition of design and expand the dialogue between creative practice, access and inclusivity. ACCESSING DESIGN looks at various concerns including geography, race, gender, and socioeconomic issues. The Festival continues its commitment to Sydney-wide growth, looking beyond the central and established design districts, bringing visibility to new and emerging design areas across greater Sydney.

With an emphasis on the democratisation of design, the Sydney Design Festival is seeking a broad representation and involvement from both established and emerging design practitioners and interdisciplinary creative practices. ACCESSING DESIGN asks the design community to question and contemplate their creative practice:

Who are they designing for and how can audiences access this?
What is the role of design in creating a more accessible world?
How can we all be more open and inclusive with our approach to design?

The 2019 Sydney Design Festival takes place from March 1-10. The Festival provides visitors with an opportunity to unpack design in all its forms. To understand and explore the processes, functions and narratives within design enterprise and to be inspired by the exhibitions and people involved in creating our futures.

The festival aims to:

make design accessible and engaging to new audiences 

  • showcase work of designers, both emerging and established
  • tackle design challenges and the future of design
  • be inclusive, representative and cross-disciplinary champion process and experimentation
  • exploring the in-between and collaborative nature of design.

More about Sydney Design 2019 here.

Image: STEEL: art design architecture installed at ADC, 2019. Photo Rhiannon Hopley

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