013 – Object Subject 2017

June 2018


Craig Bremner (Charles Sturt University)


The Object Subject inaugural national design writing conference was a flagship event for the 2017 DESIGN Canberra festival, the primary outreach program for Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. The theme of the 2017 festival was “where do we go from here?” We sought to co-design with our audience, the future of the annual DESIGN Canberra festival. These words were taken from John Eccles’ 1959 opening speech of Roy Grounds’ iconic Shine Dome building (which hosted Object Subject): “Let us now look into the future, where do we go from here?”

This conference came about because I felt a bridge was needed between academic writing and popular design blogs. I thought there was a bigger and more nuanced story to write about the past, present and future of design. While more people than ever are reading design blogs, I wondered if there had been an increased understanding and appreciation for the importance of design, its potential value and its evolution. The Object Subject conference was born and a fruitful discussion ensued from some of the leading design writers across academic, curatorial, practitioner and commercial perspectives.

The most important discussion which arose from the conference related to the responsibility of design and its potential to create a better world. For example, as designers, writers or consumers we have a responsibility to know where the materials used to make objects come from and we must encourage ethical and inclusive design. Our keynote speaker, Alice Rawsthorn, argued compellingly that the responsibility of the design writer is to point out what is responsible and irresponsible about design. In response to the Object Subject conference, and as a result of our invitation to audiences and participants to co-design the festival, we have heeded the call to take seriously design’s responsibility as an agent for positive change in society. The 2018 DESIGN Canberra festival program now includes a public dialogue about the role and impact of design on the community, and how design can make life better.

Rachael Coghlan
CEO+ Artistic Director
Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre
DESIGN Canberra Festival


Download the complete issue | Issue 13 – Object Subject


Editorial: Object Subject
Craig Bremner


Design Rewritten
Alice Rawsthorn

Reviewed Articles

Embodying betweenness: Designing artefacts through imperfection, impermanence and incompleteness
Gyungju Chyon

Design practice, things and language: An iterative collaboration
Thomas Lee and Berto Pandolfo

Pride of place: Co-design, community engagement, and the Victorian Pride Centre
Gene Bawden and Alli Edwards

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