CO:LAB Call out


Applications open for 2022 CO:LAB Professional Development Program 

Apply HERE

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre invites contemporary craft practitioners to apply for CO:LAB, as a professional development program aimed at upskilling makers in a commercial context; encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration and support of creative industries.  

The program includes mentoring, sustainability advice, and professional photography; culminating in an exhibition at Craft ACT. Two artists will be selected for this opportunity, receiving a $5000 Artists fee each. We encourage applications from artists who embrace a spirit of collaboration and wish to work across disciplines and gain exposure to commercial environments with other designers and clients.  

This program is generously supported by the Craft ACT Circle of Hands donor program.

The opportunity  

The Craft ACT CO:LAB is open to practicing craft practitioners and designer-makers who have a demonstrated history of excellence in their practice.  

Applications are open to current Craft ACT members. Are you a member? If not, Click here to join us today at our website.  

Two opportunities will be offered for craft practitioners to work with an architect and their clients to develop lighting (fixture, fitting, or pendant, for instance) for a residential project in Canberra.  

This is an opportunity to learn about design collaboration in a real-life application. The selected artists will work closely with architects and their clients to create work for a building, responding to the site and client needs; and developing an understanding of the residential architecture design process. 

As part of this process the selected Artist will: 

  • meet with the architects and client
  • receive a written project brief
  • tour the site for which the works are to be designed
  • receive advice from lighting engineers and interior designers
  • visit a finished project by the Architect and design retailers for inspiration.
  • produce a reverse brief for the client.
  • develop work for exhibition (which may include prototypes and finished products)
  • Install the exhibition at Craft ACT from October 27 to December 10.

The artists can work in any medium and be at any stage of practice. The key requirement is that this opportunity will enhance or transform the artist’s practice.  

The client may decide to purchase work for installation in the new building. 

To support the exhibition, Craft ACT will provide: 

  • professional photography of the design process, finished work, and installation
  • installation, demount and staffing for the duration of the exhibition
  • insurance and public liability at Craft ACT
  • an opening function (depending on COVID19 social distancing measures)
  • publicity, media engagement, social media, and digital marketing including a video gallery tour
  • a commissioned essay to foster deeper critical engagement with contemporary craft practice
  • design and production of an e-catalogue which is shared on social media and the Craft ACT website
  • printed copies of the catalogue will be provided free of charge to the participating artists, architects, homeowners, and Circle of Hands donors.


Submissions close: Monday 4th of April 2022

April 2022: 

  • Proposals are reviewed by a selection panel of Circle of Hands members and peers (Craft ACT Accredited Professional members)

April -August 2022: 

  • Successful artists advised
  • Contracts signed
  • Briefing meeting: artists and design collaborator
  • Develop concept, seek feedback/input from the client (attend approximately 6 meetings on dates to be agreed by all parties)
  • Studio tours – Canberra and Sydney (TBC)

September 2022: 

  • Work finalised, professionally photographed, installed in situ

October/ November 2022: 

  • CO:LAB 22 exhibition - From 27 October to 10th of December 
  • Program Evaluation 

Background information 

Circle of Hands  

Members of the Craft ACT donors circle ‘Circle of Hands’ agree that for Australia to have a healthy visual arts ecosystem, it needs a sustainable craft sector and a thriving independent studio practice. Circle of Hands members support our vibrant community of contemporary jewellers, furniture-makers, ceramic and textiles artists, glassmakers, and designers. Their engagement and donations help Craft ACT to forge new international collaborations and residencies, invest in artist development and mentoring, and sustain Australia’s high-quality studio practice. Most importantly, their support will ensure more artists, more audiences and more venues can be part of the Craft ACT story for many more years.  

The architect  

Light House Architecture and Science is a unique architectural practice based in Canberra founded on a philosophy of simplifying the sustainable design process to create comfortable, clever, energy-efficient homes that are light-filled and light-footed. Through excellent design and scientific testing, they create homes that feel spacious and comfortable, and function beautifully, on a smaller than average floor area. Many of the homes they design achieve an energy efficiency rating of 8+ stars (6 stars being the current minimum standard). These houses require half as much energy per year to heat and cool them to comfortable temperatures compared to a 6 star home. Light House has been recognised in multiple awards, including the HIA Australian GreenSmart Energy Efficiency awards in 2020. They are true collaborators, providing an integrated service with an experienced team of architects, scientists, and cost estimators, and Director Jenny Edwards is a keen collector of contemporary craft made in Canberra.  


Craft ACT will arrange an exhibition of the work in the Craft ACT Gallery from 27 October to 10 December 2022. A contract and schedule of required deadlines including delivery of works, professional photography, and artist statements will be provided to selected artists.  

Application process  

All applications must be submitted via  Submittable  and will be considered by a committee. Please click  here  to submit your application.

The opportunity is open to practicing craft practitioners and designer-makers who have a demonstrated history of excellence in their practice. The craft practitioners can work in any craft medium (wood, glass, ceramics, metal, and textiles) and be at any stage of practice. We do not require a detailed plan or proposal for works in the application process. During the design process, the craft practitioner will receive professional support including, sustainability advice, mentoring, sales, marketing, and technical support (e.g. electrical advice). We also hope to deliver some professional workshop visits to studios that are already designing lights for inspiration and advice. Craft ACT works in partnership with a peer review panel of leading craft practitioners and designers to review proposals for artistic rigour, diversity, a reflection of current trends in Australian craft and design practice, innovation, and experimentation. Members of the Craft ACT Circle of Hands will be part of the review process. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.  

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:  

Your application: Value of this development program to extending the artist’s practice. 

Your images: Artistic excellence (eg. Demonstrating technical expertise). 

Your CV 

  • External recognition ( formal qualifications, representation in collections, completed residencies and exhibitions)
  • Connection to contemporary design and craft practice, and mediums (wood, glass, ceramics, metal, and textiles).
  • Develop concept, seek feedback/input from the client (attend approximately 6 meetings on dates to be agreed by all parties) the expiry date is displayed as mm/dd/yyyy Applicants will be notified by April 2022. 


Craft ACT: The craft + Design Centre requires each artist to enter into a standard short-term contract with the Centre for the duration of the professional development program and the exhibition in 2022. The contract must be signed by both parties before the program commences. The contract will be provided on confirmation of the successful applicants. At all times, the artist retains intellectual property on the designs developed in this program.  

Fees, Costs, and Subsidies  

  • The CO: LAB program is supported by Craft ACT thanks to donations from the Circle of Hands. The artists (contemporary craft practitioners) selected for the 2021 Craft ACT CO: LAB will receive:
  • $5,000 (inc GST) artist fee
  • Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre will provide a materials subsidy to each artist of up to $2,000 AUD once the proposed works for the project are approved by Craft ACT.

Artists will cover all living and transport expenses in Canberra for the duration of the program. If the Sydney professional development trip proceeds, it is likely that Craft ACT will carpool and/or reimburse petrol costs to attend. The homeowners will make the final decision about whether the proposed work/s will be purchased and installed in their home. If they choose to install the work, a purchase price will be agreed upon by the artist, homeowner, and Craft ACT. Craft ACT will take the standard 35% commission on the agreed sale price.  

The artist will agree to: 

  • Undertake the professional development program for the purpose of creating new craft and design work in response to the client and architect’s brief
  • Comply with all occupational, health, and safety requirements when participating in the program
  • Participate in community engagement activities during the exhibition (including a floor talk and media interviews)
  • Make work (craft and design based) for the exhibition
  • Transportation of and transit insurance for exhibition work
  • Installation assistance, if applicable
  • Supplying the work with suitable display accessories including stands, hanging materials, or other aids necessary, by the installation date
  • Punctual delivery of promotional information - a current curriculum vitae, artist statement
  • Supply information about the exhibition works to the gallery prior to the exhibition commencing.

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre is responsible for: 

  • Organising the development program, providing development opportunities, and supporting the exhibition installation and demount
  • Insurance and public liability for the exhibition in 2022
  • Publicity, promotion, and advertising of the program.

Sale of works during the exhibition  

The artist will make all work produced during the program available for sale unless prior approval to the contrary has been given in writing by Craft ACT. Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre applies a standard 35% commission on the selling price of all works sold during the exhibition period. If Australian, the artist will supply an ABN or Statement by a Supplier and GST status before the exhibition commences.  

For further information, please contact: 

Moraig McKenna Public Programs Manager Craft ACT: Craft + Design 

Jodie Cunningham CEO + Artistic Director Craft ACT: Craft + Design