How can design shape the future?

Melbourne Design Week is Australia’s leading annual international design event.

We link creativity with business and community, providing a platform for the Australian design industry to express, question, propose and test ideas.

In 2019 the theme Design Experiments asks Melbourne Design Week participants to experiment with ideas, materials, places, and processes to respond to the central question ‘How can design shape the future?’.

At its best design imagines and creates new and better futures. But at times, design creates problems. It can celebrate newness over knowledge, aesthetics over ethics, and image over substance. This raises the question – if design is shaping the future, is it the best possible future, and for whom?

As society enters an unprecedented period of urbanisation, digitisation, population growth and ecological transformation, many believe that design and architecture hold great potential for positive transformation, offering disruptive ideas as it intersects with industry, politics, history, science, ecology, psychology and more.

Embracing the past, present and future, we encourage participants to demonstrate cultural and historical awareness – to delve into social and cultural history, peel back the layers of design and articulate that the future is informed by the past.

Through this idealistic agenda, Melbourne Design Week 2019 is an opportunity for designers to reflect on what they do, to imagine new and better ways of doing things, and share these ideas and insights with a broad audience.

  • Melbourne Design Week is Australia’s leading international public design event, delivered each year by the teams at Creative Victoria and NGV working in close collaboration with a broad network of institutions, media, and industry partners.
  • Our objective is to provide a compelling annual platform, backed by the expertise and reach of the NGV, for participants to engage a broad audience with their work and ideas.
  • It is free to present an event during Melbourne Design Week. No registration fees apply.
  • All Melbourne Design Week events – spanning Melbourne metro and across Victoria – receive dedicated marketing, media and curatorial support from the NGV.
  • Marketing and media activity reaches an extensive audience through a printed program, dedicated social media, eDMs, digital and print coverage as well as targeted media outputs in the lead up to, and during, Melbourne Design Week.
  • Through application, a selection of Melbourne Design Week events receive venue support to present at the NGV, with other projects hosted at satellite venues across the city and regional Victoria.
  • In total, over 200 events were presented over eleven days in 2018. Now entering its third year, Melbourne Design Week 2019 builds on the success of previous years, engaging with diverse industry sectors and an active design community to offer an ever-expanding program of exhibitions, launches, talks, tours, workshops and more.
  • If you have a story to tell, an idea to discuss, an issue to debate, new work to unveil – Melbourne Design Week is made for you.


Melbourne Design Week embraces a strong mix of events to engage a broad audience with design culture and practice. In 2019, programs and events will respond to the theme Design Experiments and address a range of topics, ideas and concerns related to the central question ‘How can design shape the future?’

Key dates

EOI open 25 September 2018
Submissions due 30 November 2018
Participants notified 15 December 2018


Priority for acceptance into the Melbourne Design Week program will be given to submissions that:

  • Align with the 2019 theme – Design Experiments
  • Align with the goals of Melbourne Design Week (stated above)
  • Support and build on/collaborate with existing programs or are unique

Eligible events/programs must:

  • Be held during, or run through, the official Melbourne Design Week dates: 14 – 24 March 2019
  • Occur within the state of Victoria, Australia

The NGV reserves the right to reject an event where:

  • There is a conflict with Melbourne Design Week creative direction, objectives, partners or sponsors
  • There is inadequate supporting evidence the application will be delivered to a high standard

Successful applicants must agree to:

  • Promote your own event to your professional network and database/mailing list
  • Deliver your event autonomously, and to a high quality standard
  • Ensure your event is safe and ethical
  • Supply text and images to the organising team by the deadline provided
  • Acknowledge Melbourne Design Week, Creative Victoria and NGV as requested on all event collateral
  • Use Melbourne Design Week social media details when promoting your event
  • Be available to discuss your proposed event/installation/project where appropriate
  • Report on promotion, event bookings and attendance
  • Participate in official event research as requested

Timothy Moore
Satellite Program Curator

Featuring diverse emerging and established local and international publishers, artists and writers, Melbourne Art Book Fair 2019 presents a four-day program of ideas, discussions and book launches at the National Gallery of Victoria. The 2019 program explores ideas around experimental and discursive publishing, challenging how we think about the publishing field.

Find out more

The Victorian Design Challenge invites design professionals and students to use their creativity to tackle one of the great challenges of our time – waste.

The Challenge aims to inspire impactful and implementable solutions that demonstrate the value of design and creativity to the creation of a better future.

Enter the Challenge and propose how you can help drive meaningful change to reduce, recover or eliminate waste.

Find out more

Previous Years