Image 1: Lucy Irvine, DESIGN Canberra 2021/2022 signature artwork, The Stills. Photo: Lean Timms

CRAFT ACT announced today (October 5) its decision to cancel its signature 2021 DESIGN Canberra festival, which was scheduled to premiere in November.

The full 2021 program, on the theme “Transformation”, will be postponed to November 2022.

CEO Jodie Cunningham

Instead of the November festival, the organization will present a program, “Nurture,” to support artists affected by covid cancellations.

Recently appointed Craft ACT CEO Jodie Cunningham said she believes moving to next year will ensure the festival reaches its full potential in 2022.

The replacement program, she said, would encourage the public to continue to engage with the more than 520 local artists affected by the cancellation and support them by purchasing their work on

“Nurture” will run throughout November and will feature online and in-person creative workshops, online studio tours and interviews, an online art auction, a sketchbook challenge, professional development workshops for artists, a musical event that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Craft ACT and public artistic commissions.

Highlights of the “Nurture” program will include:

  • Nurture: online craft and design auction. Craft ACT will give design enthusiasts the chance to own their own piece of contemporary design at an auction of works by members of Craft ACT.
  • Nurture: Conscious Crafting Workshops. Live, face-to-face workshops with Craft ACT artists on a variety of mediums.
  • Feed: Studio Stories. Artist video interviews with works by these artists becoming available for purchase through the Craft ACT online store.
  • Nurture: November Sketchbook Challenge. Participants will receive a sketchbook in the mail and a daily creative challenge in their inbox to answer in a sketchbook. The creator of the most innovative sketchbook will receive a cash prize of $ 2,000.
  • Nourish: flourish. Professional development workshops for makers.
  • Nourish: Discover. Craft ACT will partner with the City Renewal Authority to task several artists to develop concepts during the lockdown and artwork in 2022 for small ephemeral public art interventions to activate City West which will launch in 2022.
  • Feed: Play. Solid Gold Craft ACT 50th Birthday Party: A paid music event that celebrates Crafts ACT’s Golden 50th Birthday. Hosted by Chris Endrey, the lineup includes performances by Michael Simic (Mikelangelo) and Lucy Sugerman, a gold costume contest, a craft, design and music quiz; and a golden martini mix tutorial.
  • New membership category: Craft + Design Lover membership. Craft ACT has also just launched a new category for its membership program. The new category is aimed at supporters of the arts. The support will directly support Craft ACT to create greater opportunities for our community of craftspeople and designers, and for the growing audience who admire and appreciate the skill and excellence of their work.

“Nurture”, from November 5 to 28. The full program will launch on Tuesday, October 19. Registrations of interest to participate here

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Ian Meikle, editor