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Semi Permanent Has Unveiled Its Biggest Creativity and Design Program Ever for Its 20th-Anniversary Fest

The design-focused event will take over Carriageworks for three days this autumn, complete with talks, workshops, and a new art and design book fair.
By Sarah Ward
February 17, 2022
By Sarah Ward
February 17, 2022

A huge milestone birthday, a homecoming, and a stacked lineup filled with top talent from the creativity, design and technology fields: that's what's on Semi Permanent's agenda this May. A go-to event for all things design-related, the festival will return to Sydney's Carriageworks for three days between Wednesday, May 25–Friday, May 27 — and while impressive lineups always go with the territory here, this year's bill stands out in plenty of ways. Firstly, it's the event's biggest program ever.

The theme for Semi Permanent's 2022 fest, which also marks its 20th anniversary, is 'perspective'. As founder and executive creative director Murray Bell explains, "2022 is a demarcation in the evolution of both our purpose and our organisation."

Bell continues: "a milestone like this triggers a moment of reflection, imploring us to look back on our achievements and mistakes as the things that helped shape where we are today. It begs us to look forward, too, challenging us to think about where we might be in another 20 years' time. And after two years in which our lives were disrupted by the pandemic, so too have perspectives on the future completely shifted."

Dick Sweeney

To help sort through the theme, more than 25 speakers have been announced — spanning everything from journalism and film through to art and typography. Attendees will be able to hear from the folks behind The Betoota Advocate; learn more female-driven on-screen storytelling from Dollhouse Pictures co-founders Gracie Otto, Krew Boylan and Jessica Carrera; and glean insights from British visual-data journalist Mona Chalabi.

Or, you can also look forward to listening to furniture and textile designer Jonathan Saunders, typographic designers Jazlyn Fung and Tony Wong, and That Sugar Film and 2040 filmmaker Damon Gameau.

The hefty lineup of talent will anchor Semi Permanent's talks program, of course, but the fest is keen to expand its format even further in its big birthday year. That includes the launch of the Permanent Art and Design Book Fair, which'll bring together more than 30 leading publishers, artists and designers showcasing — and, for your reading pile, will showcase hundreds of books, magazines, zines, posters and digital editions, spanning both new and previously unseen works.

Toby Peet

The festival's lineup isn't finished yet, either, with more talent set to be announced in late March when the event's daily schedule is released.

The southern hemisphere's biggest and longest-running creativity and design fest, Semi Permanent certainly has plenty to celebrate — such as hosting 50-plus events in 13 cities with more than 800 speakers so far over its 20-year run, all with more than 300,000 people in attendance.

As usual, it'll unleash its festival-slash-birthday party during Vivid, which makes a comeback in 2022 after a two-year pandemic-enforced hiatus.

Toby Peet

Semi Permanent will run from Wednesday, May 25–Friday, May 27 at Carriageworks. For more information or to buy tickets, head to the Semi Permanent website.

Published on February 17, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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