Buvette Masthead

Kids are covered at DESIGN Canberra Festival

Laura Peppas

Canberra’s largest annual design festival has kids covered.

Street art workshops, glass works design and interactive lighting displays are just a few of the activities that will unleash their creative side at the 2015 DESIGN Canberra Festival.

Back bigger and better than ever, this year’s festival is on from 21 to 29 November and covers two weekends; rolling out 70 activities involving more than 750 participants. Most events and activities are free.

Managed by Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, this year’s lineup includes the Canberra Glassworks Kids’ Glass Design Competition 2015, which challenges kids to design a glass works that considers what the Kingston Power House means to them during its 100th birthday year.  Shortlisted winners will be invited to work with a professional artist in a special workshop session during DESIGN Canberra to develop their designs.

General Manager of Canberra Glassworks Beverly Growden says the competition, and the festival itself, will help children learn about design and its important influence on everyday life.

“From the bowl that kids eat their cereal from in the morning, to the seats in their school bus, to the landscaping of their school garden and the illustrations in their e-books – there’s so much design in all that we see and do,” Beverly says.

“[For this competition] we wanted to once again provide a chance for kids to learn about the Canberra Glassworks, the artists who work here and contemporary glass and design. We also hope that this competition may prompt kids to think about a career as a professional glass artist.  There’s no better place to become one than in Canberra, given we have this amazing facility here.”

art 3

A previous entry for the Canberra Glassworks.

Another festival highlight is ‘Drawing our city’, a workshop for children aged eight -12 years which will open up new, exciting visual journeys into the world of design drawing.

Run by industrial designer Tom Skeehan, the workshop will explore, through drawing, some of Canberra’s most exciting architectural elements.

“[Children] will also have the chance to extend their sketches by building simple objects with paper,” Craft ACT’s curator of public programs Gwyneth Macnamara says.

“This program celebrates the design within our great city and in doing so contributes to the strength of Canberra’s creative soul.”

Kids are also bound to get a kick out of becoming a street artist in a workshop at the Embassy of Spain, with the opportunity to work on a large-scale mural based on Manga character Samurai Flamenco.

Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain in Canberra Cesar Espada Sanchez says the workshop is a way of bringing art closer to kids and families.

“We usually tend to think of art as something that is hidden and preserved inside a museum or an art gallery, which in a way always puts a certain distance between the public and the art works,” Cesar says.

“By exposing people to urban art and by offering the possibility to the youngest public to get involved in the creation of an art work, art suddenly loses that untouchable aura and becomes part of their daily life.”


A previous entry for Canberra Glassworks.

Other highlights for children and families include pop up spaces throughout the city, sneak peeks into artist’s open studios and the chance to jump on pushbikes as part of the electrical generating display at Pedal Power, hosted by Affinity Electrical Technologies.

It’s not just kids who are covered by the festival program. There’s something for everyone with DESIGN Canberra divided into five streams.

ACTivate features pop-up exhibitions, installations, studios and shops; Capital of CULTURE are exclusive guided design and architectural tours; DESIGN Buzz offers a series of conversations and talks; and Living Artists is a series of open studios hosted by local artist and design firms, and Exhibitions will be held in premier galleries.

For the full DESIGN Canberra Festival program, click here.

the essentials
What: DESIGN Canberra Festival
Where: Various locations around Canberra
Cost: Free for most activities
When: 21 to 29 November
Web: designcanberrafestival.com.au

Feature image: Street art, Embassy of Spain


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author