Geelong Launch

On Wednesday 16 May, Geelong was officially launched as a UNESCO City of Design.

A moving opening ceremony performed by Aboriginal elders, was a powerful reminder of the region’s original design history.

Guest speaker Ellie Schneider from Design Core Detroit – UCCN City of Design was a key highlight of the launch.

Ellie spoke about how Detroit rolled out their designation as a City of Design. With the collapse of Detroit’s automotive industry leaving the city unsure of its future, a transformation was needed.  The UNESCO designation has enabled the city to re-emerge and provide opportunities for a range of people from varying socioeconomic backgrounds and situations.

Ellie spoke of the ways Detroit gathered its leaders and design thinkers across the city to ensure design is inclusive and has participation by all. Design Core Detroit achieved this by:

  • Identifying and building a design ecosystem
  • Engaging with design leaders and thinkers
  • Developing a vision and strategy for design growth.

Detroit has enabled design to permeate across all cultures and economies in the City. The focus on inclusive and sustainable design is something Geelong can embrace and learn from given the similarities between the two cities.

Christine Couzens, Member for Geelong and Cr Bruce Harwood spoke of Geelong’s past, from strength in our history as designers, to the capability of the region to forge ahead as thinkers and makers.


To celebrate the launch, the City partnered with local organisations to host a series of design showcases highlighting the achievements Geelong has already attained in this field.

Included in the showcase was a rare opportunity to visit ManuFutures – an advanced manufacturing accelerator organisation. Part of this facility includes Carbon Nexus, the only combined research and commercial-scale carbon fibre production plant in the southern hemisphere.  Visitors went behind the scenes to look at how engineering, manufacturing and technology design are transforming and raising the profile of the Geelong manufacturing industry.

Other showcases included a tour of The Gordon TAFE Design Hub, with examples from the world of fashion design, patternmaking, graphic design, visual arts, interior design, makeup and floristry; a tour of Deakin University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment; a presentation on the design and function of the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, and a special screening of Oddlands – a short feature film from Geelong’s critically acclaimed Back to Back Theatre.

The showcase series ran from Tuesday 15 May to Thursday 17 May 2018.

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