The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

Craft and Design

NCI feature image

National Craft Initiative

The now completed National Craft Initiative (NCI), a three-year partnership between the Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) and NAVA, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts has generated events, discussions, ideas and strategies to ensure a vibrant and resilient future for craft and design.

The National Craft Initiative was designed to strengthen the Australian craft and design sector through identifying strategies which would deliver greater career development support and opportunities to craft and design practitioners, encourage innovation and excellence in their practice, build capacity, collaboration and unity of purpose of the support infrastructure bodies and foster wide appreciation and participation by communities both nationally and internationally. This initiative was launched in March 2013 and concluded in March 2016.

The network of Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) is a group of peak organisations from all states and territories in Australia that represent the professional craft and design sector. The organisations engage with the sector at a local, national and international level and offer services and programs that support sustainable practice. The current member organisations of the ACDC network are: Artisan, Australian Tapestry Workshop, Canberra Glassworks, Central Craft, Craft ACT, Craft Victoria, Design Centre Tasmania, Form, Guildhouse, JamFactory, Object, Sturt Contemporary Australia Craft, tactileArts.

This project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.


Image of camp workshop designs by Shun Hariki, Japan, John Wardle's property, 'Waterview', Bruny Island Tasmania. Partnership between NGV & Design Tasmania. Parallels Design Camp 2015. Photo: Chris Crerar.

NCI Supporters

Agenda for Australian Craft and Design

This agenda for the future of Australian making was produced by the National Craft Initiative over a three-year period of engagement with the professional craft and design community. It is informed by the existing research and knowledge embedded within the key program partners ACDC and NAVA, from direct consultations with leaders of the Australian craft and design community and from the ideas and opportunities identified by makers themselves.

This benchmark publication states four key goals for the sector and direct strategies to shape a vibrant future of making in Australia. The publication was launched in March 2016.

Key recommendations include to:

  • Establish a hybrid government and industry managed body for international engagement to support exhibitions, exchanges, event participation with multiple year engagement, and to assist practitioners to build export capacity and skill
  • Support the continuation of maker spaces and multidisciplinary creative hubs and precincts through subsidised rent programs, and embedded project spaces in larger institutions, organisations and businesses
  • Connect Australian Craft and Design (ACDC) organisations through a unified digital strategy including online representation and communication pathways
  • Research, review and campaign for the visibility and development of pathways between secondary, tertiary and in-practice studio based education and training.

Mapping Report

The first major NCI project, the National Craft Research Project was a major new report on Australian craft and design published in June 2014. Mapping the Australian Craft Sector was commissioned by the NCI, a partnership between ACDC and NAVA and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.


Download this report below.

Parallels: Journeys into Contemporary Making

17th– 18th September 2015, National Gallery of Victoria

Parallels 2015

In partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria, NCI presented Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Makingan international event exploring the future of contemporary craft and design. Parallels asked world-leading speakers to share their stories, articulate new mindsets, and reveal the priorities and opportunities they see emerging for craft and design.


Download full Parallels program here.


Image: World view panel at Parallels, 2015 including Antonia Syme (Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne), Melanie Katsalidis (Pieces of Eight, Melbourne), Brodie Neill (Made in Ratio, London), Wava Carpenter (l’ArcoBaleno, Miami) and Cyril Zammit (Design Days, Dubai) and host Helen O’Neil (British Council, Australia). Photo: NGV Photographic Services

View Parallels presentations online

View online presentations from Parallels on our vodcasts page here.

Parallels feature 1

Image: Gijs Bakker speaking at Parallels, 2015

Photo: NGV Photographic Services

Australian Design Alliance

The Australian Design Alliance [AdA] is the alliance of peak professional organisations that represent designers across all aspects of Australia's design industry. The [AdA] is a not for profit industry group. Their goal is to promote the use of design as strategy to boost Australia’s productivity, sustainability and innovation. The [AdA] emerged from a series of consultations about how design should be an integral element of Australia’s national innovation system at a time of rapidly changing business models and processes. Australia’s design professionals are internationally renowned for their creative skills, project management and teamwork. These are crucial capabilities for a more productive Australian economy. NAVA was the initiator of the [AdA] and provided a Sydney base for the work of Australian Design Alliance and its Executive Director between 2010 and 2015.

AdA logo

Australian Craft and Design Centres

ACDC Logo

The network of Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) is a group of peak organisations from all states and territories in Australia that represent the professional craft and design sector. The organisations engage with the sector at a local, national and international level and offer services and programs that support sustainable practice. You can read more about each of the craft and design centres below as well as other craft and design organisations around Australia.