The participation and visibility of women across the fields of craft and design varies enormously. Textile artists are usually women. So are the majority of interior designers. And industrial designers are usually men. In some fields, such as architecture, there is very good representation of women in the profession, but this tends to be at a more junior level. As careers progress into senior roles – leading design teams, leading studios – there are less women, and those women are less visible. The same thing happens in graphic design, with art directors of major agencies being predominantly men.

While gender roles across the creative arts are increasingly relaxed, there is still work to be done in supporting and recognising the contribution of women in certain fields. It is a lot easier for a man to pick up the knitting needles than for a woman to become the CEO of a major architecture studio. Thankfully, at least in the field of architecture, there is some focus on redressing the balance. The Gender Equity Taskforce of the NSW Australian Institute of Architects has done some excellent work in offering support to women in the field – and in encouraging men in power to support them too. Research into the issue also continues to progress thanks to organisations like Parlour.

Likewise, across the design industry, events like Hack the Canon: Women in Design Wikipedia-edit-a-thon at Sydney Design offer an opportunity to highlight the work of women in design – too often made unrecognised due to factors such as invisible bias, lack of women authors and negative feedback for women who talk “too much”.

Design Tasmania’s successful conference program Women in Design offers the opportunity for everyone to gain knowledge and insight into the excellent design and architecture work being done right now by women across Australia – and the good news is the event is happening again this year from 8 to 10 June. See our review of last year’s event here.

Here at Australian Design Centre, we are committed to gender balance in our programs, exhibitions and promotion of designers and craft practitioners. This can be seen in a snapshot through our Australian Design Honours program which highlights and celebrates the work of a range of designers and design industry innovators across the country. Included in this list are incredible women like gallerists Anna Grigson and Maria Grimaldi, design business innovator Catherine Livingstone, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, journalist Fenella Kernebone, craft curator Grace Cochrane, artist Janet Lawrence, jeweller Julie Blyfield, textile artist Julie Paterson, weaver Liz Williamson, jeweller Lola Greeno, architect Rachel Neeson, designer and curator Simon LeAmon, academic Dr Suzie Attiwill and plenty more. For a full list see here.

ADC also supports the work of women in design, craft and the arts through its exhibition program, including Obsessed: Compelled to make artists Gabriella Bisetto, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Honor Freeman, Kath Inglis, Laura McCusker, Elliat Rich, Kate Rohde, Tjunkaya Tapaya, Louise Weaver and Liz Williamson. 

The following upcoming ADC events and programs include a fantastic range of women (and some men) in design also.

Meet the Maker: Margot Designs
Object Shop maker Margot of Margot Designs will present her talk "Stories": How to create a textile story and collection. She will discuss the idea behind, the process, finding inspiration, patterns, ethical production and the creation of artwork for production. Following, there will be opportunity to talk to Margot about her designs and ask questions. 
When: Saturday 3 March, 1-3pm
Where: Australian Design Centre, corner William and Palmer St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Free event. Follow the Facebook event for more information here.

Obsessed: In the Making Panel discussion
Come along and hear some of the designers involved in the making of the exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to Make discuss their creative input to this project. Hear from designers Stephen Goddard, Michael Donohue and filmmaker Angus Lee Forbes along with curators Lisa Cahill and Penny Craswell.  They will discuss how each element of the project was conceived to build a compelling portrait of making in Australia today. This will be an illuminating conversation for everyone interested in the behind-the-scenes of designing for exhibitions, films and books. We’ll also be joined by Brian Parkes, CEO of Adelaide’s JamFactory, who will grill the team with some hard questions about making this exhibition.
When: Wednesday 7 March, 6-8pm
Where: Australian Design Centre, corner William and Palmer St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Free event, RSVP essential. Book here

ADC Makers Market
Australian Design Centre's boutique outdoor Makers Market is back for the first time in 2018! With a distinctly Darlinghurst vibe this is a friendly local street market that emerges in the morning and is gone by nightfall returning the streets to local people. Alongside the blockbuster exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to make, the Makers Market features more than 20 local Sydney artists that have been selected for their exceptional work. Handmade, designed and collectible pieces including textiles, jewellery, ceramics and homewares will be for sale by the makers. Come and enjoy the market atmosphere under the big marquee as we close off Palmer Street and invite Sydney's most talented creators to showcase their work.
When: Saturday 10 March, 10am - 4pm
Where: Australian Design Centre, corner William and Palmer St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Free entry. Follow the Facebook event for more information here

Meet the Maker: studio MAAIKE
Meet the Maker behind studio MAAIKE! Making Object Shop her studio home for the morning, designer/ maker Maaike will be experimenting with soft sculpture, upholstery and tufting, developing techniques to form her new furniture line, Desert Flowers. She’ll be folding, pleating and straining a variety of textiles and stuffings, as well as exploring assembly techniques for sculptural tufts. Maaike is always happy to talk about process, exploration and making, so we hope you’ll feel free to drop in with questions, comments and curiosity.
When: Saturday, 17 March, 11am - 1pm
Free event. Follow the Facebook event for more information here


 Image: Gabriella Bisetto, 2017. Photo: Angus Lee Forbes

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