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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Erickson explores Australian design

The Alastair Swayn Foundation and the National Museum of Australia in August announced the appointment of Ms Adrienne Erickson as the inaugural Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design.

In an appointment that will showcase Australian design in all its forms, Ms Erickson will lead the creation of a new National Museum curatorial centre: the Swayn Centre for Australian Design.

Developed over the next two years, the new centre will focus on all aspects of design, including architecture, landscape architecture, fashion, graphic design, furniture, as well as product and digital design.

The goal of the new centre will be to increase public connection to and appreciation of Australian design, through collections, collaborations, exhibitions, events and research.

Erickson told Canberra Weekly she was excited to take on the position, having spent the past 15 years teaching design at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing amongst other roles.

“Leading the development of the Swayn Centre for Australian Design is an incredible opportunity to stimulate creativity, promote dialogue and support the development of Australian design.”

Erickson said she will spend the next two years establishing connections and collaborating with Canberra’s – and more broadly, Australia’s – design community.

“I’m also talking to many institutions and designers … they have an interest in collaborating to work on different aspects on design that we think are critical in Australian life at the moment.

“I’ve been here for two months, which is not a huge amount of time … it’s a case of just working through to find what areas we will really focus on, what matters the most to the most people,” she said.

With a background in landscape architecture, Erickson is fascinated by how our multicultural society informs defines Australian design.

“There doesn’t necessarily have to be a definitive Australian design, because we have such a multicultural and diverse society that brings so many different influences into what I see going on,” she said. The Senior Fellow appointment was made possible with the financial support of the Alastair Swayn Foundation – the legacy of eminent Canberra architect, the late Alastair Swayn AO.

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