It’s not exactly an inexpensive exercise for any university design department to host its annual graduate exhibition.

In the past, RMIT’s Furniture Design students have cobbled together the funds out of their own pockets, with a little bit of extra help from corporate sponsors.

This year, they’ve decided to do things differently – hosting a fundraising auction night at Zenith Interiors’ Flinders Lane showroom on February 24 that will give collectors a chance to snap up an array of artwork, jewellery, ceramics, furniture pieces and homewares from the likes of Copper Design, Ghost Ceramic, Pop & Scott, Corky St Clair and Geoffrey Hatty.

“We created this event not only to raise financial aid for our graduation exhibition in November, but also to raise awareness for local artists, creators and respected designers in the industry,” says RMIT Furniture Design student Liz Zotti.

“Many of the designers who have contributed to this auction started out in the same way as our graduating students. Without the local support it would be very hard to establish their brands, so it’s important to collaborate as an industry and support the growth of an Australian design culture.”

Zotti says the auction will be a fun way to introduce design enthusiasts to emerging brands and artists, as well as creating industry network opportunities.

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“I think we have an incredible breadth of creative diversity here in Australia and the design industry is experiencing rapid change driven by creativity," Zotti says. She believes technical innovation is a result of the public’s interest in good design.

“It’s really important to build early connections with established practitioners, so that pathways to advice, work experience, collaborations and employment are already forged by the time we graduate.”

RMIT Furniture Design Auction Night will take place at Zenith Interiors Showroom, 179 Flinders Lane, on February 24 from 6pm to 10pm.

Tickets to this event have sold out.

This article was updated on February 21, 2017.