The Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas, Sydney launches SCCI x the Design Museum Fashion and Architecture Hubs

26 October 2022

At the invitation of the British and Australian governments’ UK/Australia Season 2021-22, Dr Gene Sherman, one of Australia’s foremost cultural philanthropists and advocates for contemporary design, presents SCCI x the Design Museum Fashion and Architecture Hubs, a series of talks and keynotes taking place from 28-30 October and 4-6 November respectively.

SCCI x the Design Museum takes the form of high impact, deliberately intimate speaking events presented by 40 leading Australian thinkers from the worlds of fashion, architecture, applied arts, culture and business. The conversations will explore the relationship of these areas of design to art, activism, film, philanthropy, publishing, diplomacy, commerce, speculative futures and more, enabling and catalysing the exchange of ideas between the two nations.

The result of Dr Sherman’s five-year vision to reshape the received understanding of fashion and architecture as forms of cultural expression, the Hubs mark the culmination of a storied career spanning more than 35 years of organising initiatives in the areas of art, architecture, fashion, film and design in Australia and internationally.

Image: Atong Atem, Fashion Hub

For SCCI x the Design Museum Fashion Hub (28-30 October), Australian makers and designers in fashion and wearable applied arts explore the nation’s unique fashion landscape in a rapidly evolving global context. “The programme headlines the country’s First Nations and multicultural community of designers,” says Dr Sherman. “Future trends in textile innovation, raw materials and garment construction – impacting art, politics, international diplomacy, commerce, education and speculative futures – are explored.”

Speakers include futurist and ‘body architect’ Lucy McRae, artist and La Prairie Art Gallery of New South Wales awardee Atong Atem, First Nations fashion leader Grace Lillian Lee, and visionary Australian fashion designers Romance Was Born.

Image: Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, Architecture Hub

SCCI x the Design Museum Architecture Hub (4-6 November) presents 20 leading figures in the nation’s built environment community. “These leaders,” says Dr Sherman, “share Australia’s forward-thinking approach to addressing urban, rural and regional architectural needs with a focus on climate and housing crises, homelessness, historic structures and their contemporary reimaginings, bold large-scale infrastructure visions, and compassionate small-scale architectural interventions.”

Speakers include the founders of Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, who specialise in socially responsible, culturally sensitive design with a focus on post-disaster reconstruction in the developing world; Isabelle Tolland of Aileen Sage Architects, a practice that is committed to the integration of cultural narratives in architecture, and Ninotschka Titchkosky, who is leading the completion of the world’s tallest hybrid timber skyscraper as co-CEO of prominent Australian architecture practice, BVN.

Designed to consolidate and expand the best and most innovative current thinking in the areas of Australian fashion and architecture, and to share it in real time with the UK audience in London’s foremost design location, the SCCI x the Design Museum Hubs will bring people from across both hemispheres together to explore, celebrate and be inspired.

“Design arguably sits at the beating heart of visual practice disciplines including art, film, fashion and architecture”, says SCCI Founder Dr Gene Sherman, “all of which, through my personal prism, are seen as forms of cultural expression. My applied arts collections, focussed on fashion, jewellery, furniture and commissioned architectural pavilions, built, enjoyed and in some cases exhibited over four decades are documented in The Spoken Object (Images Publishing 2022) – a new publication launching internationally to coincide with the SCCI x the Design Museum Hubs. These carefully crafted collections speak to my longstanding interest in individualised creative approaches to the functional arts. Shining a spotlight on the work of extraordinary Australian talent at the Design Museum as part of the UK/Australia Season of Culture has been an honour and a privilege. I warmly thank Michael Napthali and Helen Salmon, co-Directors of the Season who, together with Season Patrons David Gonski AC and Sir Lloyd Dorfman CVO CBE, have encouraged and assisted SCCI in bringing the 8th iteration of our 2017-2022 Hub Project to the London stage.”

The Design Museum Director and Chief Executive Tim Marlow said: “The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum of contemporary design, and so we are delighted to be able to spotlight Australia’s important role in this global story. These Hubs are going to provide fascinating and thought-provoking insights for UK audiences across a wide variety of events. We are hugely grateful to be a part of Dr Gene Sherman’s visionary leadership, and we’re thrilled to have been able to collaborate with the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas to bring this programme to London.”

UK/Australia Season 2021-22 Director Michael Napthali said: “It with great pride that Dr Gene Sherman’s SCCI Fashion and Architecture Hubs form a central part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22. Over many decades, Gene has been one of Australia’s foremost cultural philanthropists, cultural impresarios and advocates for contemporary design – a passionate and dedicated voice leading many cultural conversations in Australia. We look forward to seeing the dialogue, debate and conversations stimulated between our UK and Australian colleagues at these special events hosted at the Design Museum. We invite attendees to reflect on the theme of the Season: Who Are We Now? – exploring our shared history, current relationship, and imagined future.”

A message from Dr Gene Sherman AM:

“This programme of cultural events is dedicated to my beloved husband Brian Sherman AM, who passed away on 11 September 2022. Our decades-long journey together took us from Johannesburg to seventies London then, via South Africa, to our long term home in Sydney. Brian brought an irreplaceable grace, intellect and dedication to our union, and a deep-seated generosity when interacting with the cultural and charitable causes he espoused. He was the love of my life. May his soul rest in peace.”

About SCCI

The Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI), established by Sydney philanthropist Dr Gene Sherman AM (Member of the Order) as a not-for-profit foundation, is principally funded by the Sherman family. SCCI’s Hub programming aims to positively impact fashion and architecture, extending the typical reach of these topics by linking them with other forms of cultural expression.

The Hub series evolved from the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (2008-2017) and Sherman Galleries (1986-2007).

SCCI launched its inaugural Fashion and Architecture Hubs in 2018, returning with sought-after programmes in 2019. In 2020, the SCCI Cinéphile Hub produced 20 digital documentary films in place of the traditional live events. In 2021, the Foundation launched SCCI Stepping Stones, a fashion and architecture focussed youth programme for school and tertiary students.

In 2022, SCCI brings Dr Sherman’s five-year vision to a close. These final public projects see the Foundation forge new partnerships – in Australia, with the National Art School, and in the United Kingdom, with the Design Museum, and the Australian and British governments.

About the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over seven million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams.

On 24 November 2016, the Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. John Pawson has converted the interior of a 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programme. Since opening in Kensington in 2016, the Design Museum has hosted major exhibitions including Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, Moving to Mars, Amy: Beyond the Stage, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers, Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life and California: Designing Freedom.