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Media Release • 4 Sep 20


Melbourne Design Week, Australia’s premier event showcasing local and international design, returns in 2021 and expressions of interest are now open to participate in the Victoria-wide 11-day program of talks, tours, workshops, launches and exhibitions.

In 2021, Melbourne Design Week explores the theme ‘Design the world you want’. Participants will consider how the design community can work together to create a better, healthier future for the planet and its inhabitants. In line with the program’s multi-disciplinary and diverse approach, expressions of interest for the 2021 program are open to a wide range of practitioners, including designers, galleries, educators, innovators and industry.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: “Melbourne Design Week has earned its reputation as an internationally renowned platform for Australian design and innovation. This initiative is a celebration of our thriving industry, but also an opportunity for practitioners and visitors alike to encounter and discuss work at the vanguard of design practice world-wide.”

An initiative of the Victorian Government and delivered by the National Gallery of Victoria, the inaugural Melbourne Design Week was launched in 2017. The Victorian Government has also renewed its presenting partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria for a further four years, cementing Melbourne Design Week as key event on the cultural calendar for years to come.

Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP said: “As we look ahead to a post-COVID world, design and creativity will play an important role not just in our recovery but in rethinking the status quo to build a better reality. Melbourne Design Week, the largest event of its kind in Australia, this year invites the design community to ‘design the world you want’ – an important and timely provocation.”

Highlights from the 2021 Melbourne Design Week include:

  • The Victorian Design Challenge returns, offering a share of over $25,000 in prizes for student and professional designers to develop inventive solutions to the 2021 brief of making more age-friendly communities.
  • Working alongside Open House Melbourne the Melbourne Design Week team will expand their focus beyond metropolitan Melbourne with an expanded satellite program in regional Victoria, building on the previous success of the regional program in Geelong, which catalysed Geelong Design Week.
  • The Melbourne Design Week Film Festival, curated by Richard Sawada, returns to Melbourne’s cinemas and public screens.
  • Melbourne’s leading galleries, including Tolarno and Sophie Gannon Gallery, will host exhibitions of some of Australia’s most innovative designers.
  • Hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria and running alongside Melbourne Design Week, the seventh annual Melbourne Art Book Fair will run from Friday 26 – Sunday 28 March 2021 and feature local and international publishers and a range of free programming.
  • During the NGV Triennial, a major celebration of contemporary art and design practice presented by the National Gallery of Victoria, international guests, including some of the world’s leading architects, designers and thinkers will present keynote talks and conversations.

In 2021, Melbourne Design Week also expands its digital presence with online exhibition tours, talks and video.

Melbourne Design Week will run Victoria-wide from Friday 26 March – Monday 5 April 2021. Expressions of Interest to participate in the 2021 program will be open from Friday 4 September – Friday 9 October 2020. For further information please visit the NGV website:

Melbourne Design Week is proudly supported by Major Partners Mercedes-Benz and Telstra, and Design Partner RMIT University


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