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13 ways you can help the design community now

Mar 31, 2020
  • Article by Elisa Scarton

From outlets to support Australian artists to creative-led webinars and face mask tutorials, here are 13 ways local architects and designers can help the design community during the coronavirus outbreak.

Image: Aziz Hazara, Bow Echo, 2019 (video still), 5-channel digital video, colour, sound, 4:17 mins. Produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation

Support the Biennale of Sydney

From 6 April, the international contemporary art festival will be held daily over 10 weeks on the Biennale of Sydney’s website and social channels. Further details about how you can experience the 700 artworks featured in the 22nd iteration of the festival through Google’s Arts & Culture platform will be announced in the coming weeks.

Buy Australian art on Creamtown

Started just last week by Melburnian artists Isaebella Doherty and Bronte Pleasance, the Creamtown community platform is a digital art shop for local artists who have lost their jobs to the pandemic. The platform has an open-door submission policy, meaning a wide variety of diverse, emerging art is represented and each piece is sold at a flat price of $100.

Participate in this hand sanitiser design competition

British studio Bompas and Parr recently launched Fountain of Hygiene, a competition for designers to rethink hand sanitisers. Winning proposals will be shown at the Design Museum in London. Christie’s will then auction off the top 10 submissions and donate all proceeds to the British Red Cross. Entries close 5 April.

Watch the Creative Connections webinar series

The Australian Council for the Arts has launched Creative Connections, a free biweekly webinar series for the cultural and arts sectors that will offer practical, accessible and useful content delivered by industry experts. The series is focused around the theme of adaptation, and sessions will explore digital adaptation, leadership adaptation and arts practice adaptation. Topics include contract law during COVID-19, finance and strategy, and communication in times of crisis. The series begins on 1 April and recordings will be published online after each session.

Image courtesy of the New York Sewing Center

Learn how to make face masks

Architects and designers all over the world have been putting their 3D printers to use making masks for their local hospitals. While Australian hospitals are yet to put the call out for community assistance (local manufacturers are helping though), you can still apply your design talents to the cause. Inside Weather has free PDF instructions for making masks, face shields and containment units. The New York Sewing Center also has online video mask making sessions on its Facebook page.

Shop small businesses

Our local businesses need our support now more than ever. A lot of restaurants, cafes and bars across the country are offering takeaway services, but some are also selling their stock, homemade products like bread and pasta, and vegetables and fruit from their kitchen gardens in gourmet boxes for people to take home. Seville Estates, for example, has started gourmet meal packs that Melbournians can order and have delivered for free.

Alexander & CO.’s Instagram Stories series Look Inside

Follow Alexander & CO.’s Instagram Stories series

ADR spoke to Alexander & CO.’s principal Jeremy Bull on how his practice is coping and evolving with the coronavirus outbreak. Bull has since launched #LookInside with Alexander &CO. on its Instagram Stories. Last week, he hosted a Q&A, and is now sharing ideas and tips from peers and collaborators including our very own ADR and inside editor Elisa Scarton.

Join Matthew Burrows’ artist support pledge

British painter Matthew Burrows launched the Artist Support Pledge on Instagram as a global initiative that encourages artists and designers to post a work that’s for sale for no more than $400 using the hashtag #artistssupportpledge. Each time sales reach $2000, participants promise to buy another artist’s work for $400. Browse the nearly 10,000 posts to date.

Support #spreadartnotviruses

Shanghai-born, Melbourne-based architect, art collector and curator Charlie Xiao is behind the #spreadartnotviruses campaign, which he launched to showcase what people are making, as well as to express solidarity and support for those affected by the coronavirus. Thousands of painters, jewellers, potters, puppeteers, collage makers, photographers and ceramicists from around the world have posted their work on Instagram and the campaign website.

Get tips from the Association of Consulting Architects Australia

The industry body launched its second ‘Pulse Check’ survey yesterday, a nation’-wide initiative to help build a clear understanding of the experiences of Australian architectural practices so far, and identify the assistance needed. You can take the survey and access the ACA’s growing wealth of free COVID-19 online tools and resources on its website.

Installation view of KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness at NGV International, Melbourne © KAWS. Photo: Tom Ross 

Tour Australia’s museums

Galleries like the National Gallery of Victoria, National Museum of Australia, Design Tasmania, the Art Gallery of NSW and Newcastle Art Gallery are offering free virtual tours of their top exhibitions. The NGV in particular is committed to celebrating VCE Art and VCE Studio Arts students following the closure of its annual Top Arts exhibition. You can view work from tomorrow’s artists, as well as listen to insights from them online.

The National Portrait Gallery is doing things a little differently, conducting online tours with a live guide who answers your questions with two-way cameras and microphones.

Join the Australian Arts amidst COVID-19 Facebook group

With more than 17,000 members, this is a place for Australian artists, designers and creatives to ask questions and share ideas about how to work with COVID-19. It’s a dedicated group for sharing ways for innovating and surviving, as well as an outlet to stay connected in the era of self-isolation.

Australian and New Zealand freelancers can also join Freelance Jungle, another Facebook group launched as a virtual catch-up outlet for stress reduction and networking, and a resource of podcasts, blogs and online learning.

Sign the petition to support the Australian arts

The government’s recent decision to close galleries, libraries, museums, concert halls and other event venues has left thousands of people out of work. The industry is characterised by a high proportion of casual and contract employees who are on the economic margins and could be pushed into poverty. You can add your signature to this petition that calls on the Australian government to support both the industry at large and those employees left without work from cancelled events. 

Keep up with developments by following ADR‘s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

Lead photo courtesy of Bompas and Parr.

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