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#Cocreate Design Festival to be held in September

The fourth annual #Cocreate Design Festival, a local public event that gathers a diverse range of people to have conversations about South Africa's biggest challenges, will run from 20-23 September.
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The festival aims to support South African innovators and entrepreneurs to action solutions to these issues. This year’s festival also aims to take participants on a deep dive into the major fault lines in South Africa, which have been exposed by the impact of Covid-19.


Private sector businesses, communities, designers, thinkers, do-ers, visionaries and policymakers from across the country and beyond are invited to participate in this collaborative public event. The ‘unconference’ style of this year’s festival allows for small physical gatherings and site visits, online conversations, and facilitated design thinking sprints, all aimed at supporting local innovators to start to bed down their ideas.

The event’s sessions will be streamed live, and most are free - running alongside small group participation located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River, Cape Town. Seating in the venue is limited, with strict Covid-19 protocols.

About #Cocreate Design Festival


The annual festival is an initiative of the Mission Network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, in collaboration with the Craft and Design Institute (CDI). With a broad theme of “Designing a brave post-Covid world”, the underpinning question of the programme is: “How might we design solutions for increased inclusivity and access?”

Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, consul general at the Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town, said, “We aim to explore these pressing challenges experienced by South Africans, but also, and importantly, showcase the application of innovation and design-led approaches to serve as inspiration. This, we hope, will spark many more new ideas. Connecting it all is design; we want to stimulate the design of better systems, products and services.”


The 2021 festival draws on a range of experts and innovators who have provided guidance and input into form and content. The programme for this year’s festival has been in development since March 2021, through the CDI’s monthly Creative Exchange programme. These exchanges have served to start the conversation and exploration of very complex issues and have thrown up the need for more detailed, focused discussions over the four days of the festival.

The programme is structured against four key topic pillars: Our economy, our healthcare system, our food system, and our water and sanitation systems. Particular focus is on inclusive digital innovation and creative solutions.


The last #Cocreate Design Festival was held in February 2020, just as the Covid-19 crisis was unfolding. Pre-pandemic, the 2020 festival’s discussions revolved around a context of a global climate emergency, rising nationalism and the deepening divide between rich and poor alongside South Africa’s own emergencies of a stagnant economy, youth unemployment and rampant corruption.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare so many of our challenges as a country. If we can start with understanding and processing, we can find new ways of designing solutions together that will lead to better access and real change,” said Erica Elk, Group CEO of CDI.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to non-profit organisations working to solve the festival’s four-pillar challenges in South Africa.

Book here to secure your place at the online event, or book for an in-venue seat.
Read more: design, Erica Elk, CDI

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