Alice Rawsthorn OBE, courtesy of author. Photography: Michael Leckie

Design as an Attitude with Alice Rawsthorn

Thu 23 May, 6pm–7pm

Alice Rawsthorn OBE, courtesy of author. Photography: Michael Leckie
Past program

NGV International

Clemenger BBDO Auditorium
(enter via Arts Centre forecourt), Ground Level

Hearing loops and accessible seating are available.

Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives – and we urgently need its power at this intensely turbulent time.

Celebrating the release of NGV’s latest book, Observations: Moments in Design History, award-winning design critic and author of Design as an Attitude, Alice Rawsthorn OBE joins us in Melbourne to share her vision of how digitally empowered, politically engaged designers are addressing the complex challenges facing us now, and in the future.

This special event will open the 2024 Melbourne Art Book Fair and Melbourne Design Week, and launch the second volume of NGV’s Observations series. In this new book, writers, scholars and curators from around the world explore almost 400 years of design innovation across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. The book explores the ways in which design is intrinsically linked to culture, considering key historical moments, materials, manufacturers and design movements.

Pre-purchase a copy of the book with your program ticket, or buy a copy on the night.

The first volume, Observations: Women in Art and Design History, is also available for purchase from the NGV design store

This program will be held in person and livestreamed. When booking, you can choose to purchase an in-person ticket or a virtual ticket to access the livestream.


Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and author, whose books include Design as an Attitude, Hello World: Where Design Meets Life and, most recently, Design Emergency: Building a Better Future, co-written with Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Design at MoMA, New York. Alice’s weekly design column for The New York Times was syndicated worldwide for over a decade. In all her work, Alice champions design’s potential as a social, political and ecological tool that can help to foster positive change.


Sarah Teasley is Professor of Design at RMIT University. Her teaching and research combine approaches from design research, history of technology, social history and gender studies to explore how intersectional identity and lived experience shape access to power, how social and participatory design interventions can support equity, particularly in Asia-Pacific, and what the materiality of emergent technologies and materials demands of designers and makers in everyday practice. Publications include Designing Modern Japan (2022), Global Design History (2011), and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in journals including The Journal of Design History and Design Issues.

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