Discover: Craft + Design Public Art Trail

As part of DESIGN Canberra presents Nurture, Craft ACT is working in partnership with the City Renewal Authority to develop Discover: Craft + Design trail.

Craft ACT members are invited to submit proposals for a temporary craft and design trail designed to activate City West in DESIGN Canberra 2022. The trail will engage audiences in a process of discovery and see the city in new ways. Artworks will be installed to be on display for both Contour 556 (1-29 October) and Design Canberra (2-20 November).

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work with a mentor and will receive a $2000 artist fee to develop their concept and an additional materials fee based on their proposal (Maximum proposed materials fee must not exceed $5000).

Applications close 5pm, Monday 14 February 2022.

Concept brief: 

Create temporary, site specific works of art that respond to the theme of Transformation:

  • Theme: Transformation – Reflection on Canberra’s recent experiences including the bushfires and the pandemic; and possibilities for transformation – what will Canberra’s immediate and long-term future be like?
  • Experiential: Inviting intimacy, close inspection, contemplation, discovery, engagement, interaction, and or sensory engagement.
  • Ephemeral or Temporary: Public art in the form of single works or component parts within a specific space.
  • Materials: Any – but they must be able to last outdoors for 8 weeks
  • Site specific: All proposed sites must be in the City West Precinct and artworks must demonstrate a creative response to their site. View a list of suggested locations via our online Google Map.
  • Security: Must be difficult for people to steal or damage.
  • Safety: Must be safe for public interaction

Applications must respond to the concept brief above and will be assessed by a panel including the mentors on:

  • Strength of concept
  • Quality of proposal in relation to the brief and chosen category
  • Artist /designer practice development potential
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Safety and security
  • Realistic budget.

Categories & Mentors: 

Applicants will select a specific category for their submission. Four of the categories will have a mentoring component working with local experts in their field.

  1. Casting (with mentor Nick Stranks)
  2. Digital fabrication (with mentor Sam Tomkins)
  3. Wood (with mentor Thor Dissendorf)
  4. Textiles (with mentor Valerie Kirk)
  5. Open x2

The aim of the mentors is to work with art, craft and design practitioners to translate their practice into a public art context. Each mentor will be on the selection panel and will spend approximately 10 hours with their chosen mentee to assist the artists with the realisation of their concept.

Information sessions:

An online information session will be held on 11am-12pm, Friday 14 January 2022. Sign up online to receive the link.

The information session will cover the concept brief, mentor arrangements, potential sites in City West, budgets and submission process. The session will be recorded and available on our website.


Tuesday 7 December 2021 Competition launch and call out
11am-12pm, Friday January 14 2022 Online information session. A recorded version will be available on the website after this date
5pm, Monday 14 February 2022 Competition deadline
March 2022 Winners announced
Artists concept development
April 2022 Mentoring
May 2022 Production & Permissions
September 2022 Site preparation & installation
1-29 October 2022 Contour 556
2-20 November 2022 Design Canberra 2022
December 2022 De-installation and evaluation

About the Mentors:

Casting (Mentor Nick Stranks)
Nick Stranks has extensive experience in the construction and installation of public art. He has been a lecturer in sculpture for over 20 years at the Australian National University and since leaving that appointment has managed a casting foundry on a rural property on the outskirts of the ACT. This foundry specialises in working closely with artists, mentoring them and producing a wide range of cast and fabricated sculptural works.

Nick is keen to share this extensive experience with the selected artist. He can offer professional advice on how a project or concept may be developed into a physical outcome. He also has an extensive technical knowledge base specifically in metal fabrication, mould making and casting. He would be happy to meet and work with the artist if they are local or can meet virtually to discuss prospective projects.

Digital fabrication (Mentor Sam Tomkins, University of Canberra)
Sam Tomkins is an Industrial Designer and lecturer at the University of Canberra with expertise in digital design and fabrication. He has extensive experience across a broad range of materials, fabrication techniques and technologies spanning both the traditional and the emergent.

Sam will work with the successful mentee to realise the physical artwork through guidance in digital to physical workflows. To execute the work, the successful mentee will also have the potential to engage with the digital fabrication facilities housed within Workshop7, the Faculty of Arts and Designs state of the art workshop at the University of Canberra. These include 3D printing, laser cutting and other digital processes supplemented by a wide range of manual equipment including lathes and welding.

Wood (Mentor Thor Diesendorf, Thor’s Hammer)
Thor Diesendorf is an expert in design and production of furniture and architectural components using recycled and other timbers. He has experience in old school hand work methods and large-scale production machinery. Thor also has experience fabricating steel components and hardware.

Thor will work with the successful mentee to refine designs and make sure they are suitable for construction in timber. For qualified or experienced woodworkers there will be potential to use the Thor’s Hammer workshop & machinery.

Textiles (Mentor, Valerie Kirk) sponsored by Meredith Hinchcliffe
Valerie Kirk is an artist and tapestry weaver who has worked on public and private commissions, community art and curatorial projects. From 1991-2017 she was Senior Lecturer and Head of Textiles at the Australian National University, School of Art and Design and is now an Emeritus Professor. Since then, she has continued to work in her studio in O’Connor towards solo and group exhibitions, produced commissioned tapestries and held public Open Studio days.

She can share her experience and knowledge of collaboration and teamwork, verbal and visual communication, working to a brief and meeting a deadline. Valerie is happy to set up a schedule of meetings with the artist in person locally or online.

Open Category
This category does not have a mentor but allows the artist to respond to the concept brief and work up their idea independently and in a medium of their own choice.

How to apply:

Applications must be submitted online through Submittable. The full terms and conditions can be viewed on the online application form.

Apply now via the online form.


Please contact Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre on or (02) 6262 9333 for any enquires.

Information booklet:


This project has been developed in partnership with City Renewal Authority.

Sponsored by Graham Humphries and Meredith Hinchliffe.

Supported by Contour 556.