In 1976 Gary Cleveland presented a vision: “to establish in the minds of a large proportion of the world’s population that the word ‘Tasmania’ is synonymous with good design and reliable craftsmanship.” Forty years on, Design Tasmania remains committed to that vision by supporting, promoting and guiding designers and master artisans on a local, national and international platform.
When I first arrived at Design Tasmania the founder Gary Cleveland casually handed me a book that he wrote titled A Vision for Design. On reading the book I was pleased to find a resonance of thinking and a shared set of values of the importance of design for creating a sense of community and the betterment of social good.
There is no greater time in our history for a re-evaluation of the role of Design and the value of craftsmanship. What does the process of making concrete things reveal to us about ourselves and our sense of belonging to a particular place. Learning from things requires us to care about the qualities of materials, the source of where things come from and what they will become. Beautiful workmanship and craft like art enables us to imagine an inspired future where ideas are realised and individuals are empowered.
Design Tasmania proudly celebrates the history and heritage of Tasmanian designers and looks to the future optimistically. We pay homage to Gary Cleveland who founded Design Tasmania, formerly known as The Design Centre, and aspire to his vision and understanding of the unique context for design in Tasmania. Ten years ago he wrote:
The Design Centre is now recognised as one of the country’s most respected outlets for products from designer makers…. A spirit peculiar to Tasmania—I believe it is fostered by our environment—took form and has proven itself capable of continuing innovation at a level that permits a viable living for many.
We are charged with ensuring that we build on, enhance and expand what has been achieved. We are mandated to ensuring that Design Tasmania and Tasmanian design will increase in esteem in Tasmania, Australia and internationally. With the belief and support of our community of designers and supporters the next 40 years is bright.
Melanie Kerrison, Acting Chair Design Tasmania
See our 2017 Annual Report
See our 2016 Annual Report
See our 2015 Annual Report
Board of Directors
Melanie Kerrison – Acting Chair
Director since 2014
Mel Kerrison, is the Managing Partner of Launceston based law firm Rae & Partners. She is well known in Tasmania for her experience in Commercial and Property law. Mel heads Rae & Partners Property Division and in addition to her work as a lawyer, Mel was named the Telstra Young Business Women of the Year for Tasmania (2006). Mel is the former Chair of a large State- wide childcare provider and has previously served on the Board of Tasdance.
Naomi Walsh – Treasurer
Director since 2014
Naomi Walsh has over 25 years’ experience in business advisory and commercial roles including senior management. She brings to the Board expertise in finance, risk management, corporate governance and strategy. Her qualifications include Chartered Accountant, Master of Business, graduate of Australian Institute Company Directors and graduate of the Tasmanian Leaders Program. In addition to her Corporate Management role, Naomi currently acts as director and adviser to industry bodies, sporting and art sector organisations and is a commissioner for Legal Aid Tasmania. Pursuing her interest in art and design, she completed design qualifications whilst living in the UK. She is an active participant in community and cultural activities throughout Tasmania.
Dr Pippa Dickson
Director since 2013
Pippa Dickson has a PhD in Fine Arts, Furniture Design, and a BA in Political Science. She has worked as a project manager and consultant in the private and public sectors for more than 15 years and has designs held in private and public collections including the Tasmanian Design Centre, Henry Jones Art Hotel, and MONA. Pippa is also Co-Chair of the National Craft Initiative and Director of the National Association for Visual Artists (NAVA).
Director since 2009
Chris Tassell has extensive experience in arts and cultural heritage management including former Director of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston and Managing Director of the National Trust Tasmania. He has served on a wide range of arts and heritage Boards at regional, state and national level including the Australia Council. During his time as Museum Director he oversaw the Museum’s redevelopment of the former Tasmanian Railways Workshops at Inveresk which entailed the insertion of contemporary museum facilities into one of the state’s most significant industrial heritage sites.
Director since 2017
Bianca Welsh is a co-owner of three Launceston award-winning businesses; Stillwater Restaurant and Providore, Black Cow Bistro and is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness in the workplace among many things. In 2015, she jointly won the title Electrolux Appetite for Excellence’s Young Restaurateur of the Year, and was a state finalist in the 2015 Young Australian of the Year category having been recognised for her contribution to youth issues. Bianca was the winner of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce Professional of the Year in 2017.
Director since 2018
Geoffrey Cameron Marshall is a furniture and lighting designer based in Launceston. Geoffrey has been recognised nationally and internationally for his work, including the 2017 Dangerous Design Award and the 2017 Australian Timber Design Award. Geoffrey’s current practice focuses on combining new technologies with traditional techniques. The resulting products are hand finished and assembled, ensuring quality and artistic integrity.
Director since 2018
Andrea has a business background, with over 20 years in the hospitality industry. Her last (and best) business was the social enterprise, Fresh on Charles (1999-2013). There she honed her skills in grassroots advocacy for social justice, environmentalism, the arts and animal welfare. After a stint as the manager of Harvest Community Farmers’ Market, Andrea was elected to City of Launceston Council, followed by three years in state parliament. She returns to council, an experienced elected representative to tackle issues of waste management and food security. Andrea is the Chair of the newly formed RANT Arts organisation's advisory board.
Claire Beale - Executive Director
Miriam Carter - Program and Communications Manager
Miwa Worrall - Events and Development Coordinator