Ellie Schneider with the Mayor, Cr Bruce Harwood
Ellie Schneider with the Mayor, Cr Bruce Harwood

Geelong’s City of Design status launched

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Geelong’s designation as Australia’s first and only UNESCO City of Design will be formally launched this Wednesday 16 May at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.

One of only 31 cities worldwide recognised as a City of Design, Geelong’s designation is a recognition that our city has been historically, and will continue to be, shaped and influenced by design.

The designation and acceptance as a City of Design follows a formal application process undertaken by the City of Greater Geelong with direct input and financial support from Creative Victoria, Deakin University, Creative Futures and the Australian Centre for Innovation and Design and with support and collaboration from key local stakeholders including the Committee for Geelong, G21 and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce. 

Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) aims to make creativity an essential driver for sustainable urban renewal and development.

Geelong has been filled with many Australian and world design firsts and some Geelong inventions or designs have changed the world. The UNESCO designation acknowledges our region's rich history, from its indigenous heritage, textiles and wool production, auto design and manufacturing and surf culture to the innovations currently being made in advanced manufacturing and the provision of public art.

Geelong is the home of the first designed commercial refrigeration (James Harrison 1851), the Ford 'ute', forerunner to the modern SUV (designed by Lew Bandt and built here in 1934), and the Hills Hoist (patented by Geelong’s Gilbert Toyne).

Geelong is also the birth place and home of a number of significant world renowned design practitioners, including goldsmith and jeweller Stuart Devlin, AO, CMG, who designed most of Australia’s decimal currency coins more than 50 years ago, and acclaimed furniture designer Grant Featherston.

Architecturally, Geelong exhibits a wonderful mix of classic 'Boom Time' civic and industrial buildings, many of which have been maintained, but repurposed for modern usages.  These sit comfortably beside the stunning, contemporary designed Waterfront precinct, which has been created to provide the perfect intersection between the human, land and maritime influences of this wonderful coastal asset.

Design remains a driver of the Geelong economic and creative sectors, with Ford Motor Company committing its resources to the Geelong based Hi-Tech Design, Innovation and Research Centre.  Deakin University's Carbon Nexus and the Australian Future Fibres Research Innovation Centre, providing world leading materials based around applied design. 

Keynote speaker at the launch of Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design designation, Ellie Schneider, will talk about the process of applying for Detroit to become a City of Design in 2015 and how she and others are now building on the City of Design designation and creating "a more equitable and sustainable future for Detroit".

Councillor Bruce Harwood - Mayor

This recognition of Geelong’s achievements in design by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is a tremendous honour.
We are now part of an esteemed list of amazing cities including Bilbao, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Istanbul and Singapore.

I would like to thank all of the agencies involved in the application process including (but not limited to) Creative Victoria, Deakin University, Creative Futures and the Australian Centre for Innovation and Design, the Committee for Geelong, G21 and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce.
This achievement is an example of Geelong at its best – great collaboration between multiple stakeholders and a fantastic result for the city, our residents and our visitors.