Semi Permanent 2022 at Carriageworks

Wed 25th May, 2022 – Fri 27th May, 2022
245 Wilson Strret, Eveleigh
Price: From $150
For its 20th anniversary, the festival celebrates every aspect of design: guests range from a visual-data journalist who wants to change how we read and perceive data, to musician Ta-ku, furniture designer Jonathan Saunders and even the Betoota Advocate team.

When it launched in 2002, Semi Permanent started out as an idea – “an excuse to connect with new and old friends. A way to manifest the excitement I had for creativity internally, externally", according to founder and executive creative director Murray Bell. Since then it has evolved into a brand studio – that’s worked with Heaps Normal, Slack, Google and more – and hosted more than 50 events in 13 cities. Last year, it did a full-building takeover of Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills, and past events have included international guests such as skater Tony Hawk and street artist Mr Brainwash, and locals Reg Mombassa and Del Kathryn Barton.

This year, to celebrate the creativity and design festival’s 20th anniversary, it’s launching its largest program ever, with workshops, panel discussions, performances and installations. More than 25 speakers have been announced today, with more to be confirmed between now and when the festival kicks off on May 25. And with borders set to reopen, talent is once more coming from around the world.

There’s Mona Chalabi, a British visual-data journalist, who has more than 400,000 followers on Instagram – where she maps everything from how many times actors have appeared in Wes Anderson films to the price of potential Covid-19 treatments onto colourful, cartoon-like graphs – and wants to change how we read and understand data.

Other guests include Perth-based musician and artist Ta-ku, famed furniture and textile designer Jonathan Saunders, typographic designers Jazlyn Fung and Tony Wong, and even the Betoota Advocate team.

Balarinji is an Indigenous-owned design agency working with brands to showcase Indigenous culture and arts in corporate environments and the public realm in a respectful, collaborative way; Sam Elsom is a fashion designer and founder of Sea Forest, which grows seaweed in Tasmania to help solve the climate crisis; female-led production house Dollhouse Pictures fosters female storytelling in a traditionally male industry; and Aussie-born Richard Christiansen applies his two decades of experience at the top of the American advertising industry to his lifestyle project, Flamingo Estate.

This year’s theme is “perspectives”, which Bell says was partly inspired by the introspection and nostalgia triggered by reaching two decades of Semi Permanent, and partly by how the pandemic has led so many of us to interrogate our lives. It also means a greater diversity of talent, creative forms and thinking – in other words, a broader array of perspectives within the festival itself.

A new component of the festival is also launching this year: the Permanent Art Book Fair, which will gather more than 30 of the region’s top publishers, artists and designers to showcase their wares – from zines and posters through to large-scale monographs and artist series.

Half-day, full day and multi-day tickets are available now.