Melbourne Design Week: 2021 expressions of interest now open

NGV-AURUM-2020Australia’s premier event showcasing local and international design, Melbourne Design Week 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.

“Melbourne Design Week has earned its reputation as an internationally renowned platform for Australian design and innovation,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director NGV. “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.”

Highlights from the 2021 Melbourne Design Week program 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.

“As we emerge together from the COVID–19 lockdown, one of the most significant global events of a generation, there is much discussion within the design community, locally and internationally about what we might ‘take away’ from this situation,” said Ewan McEoin, Hugh D T Williamson Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV.

“We have to remember in Australia that this scenario comes straight on the back of the worst bush fires we have ever seen and of course a simultaneous global movement for racial justice. Together these overlapping and intertwined scenarios of health, ecology and social justice should be seen as the framing contexts in which all design now takes place.”

“Melbourne Design Week is a platform, and an opportunity for us to think together, act together, to address these challenges, perhaps embracing them as the stimulus we need to create a better future together,” said Mr McEoin.

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.

2021 Melbourne Design Week will run Victoria-wide from Friday 26 March – Monday 5 April. Expressions of Interest to participate in the 2021 program are now open and close Friday 9 October 2020. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: AURUM 2020 – presented by Georgia Nowak and Eugene Perepletchikov – courtesy of NASA/Chris Gunn