City of Geelong aerial photo

Geelong is set to host 26 delegates from 17 cities across the globe for the UNESCO City of Design Subnetwork Meeting 2023 from 27 to 31 March.

Geelong was designated a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as a City of Design in 2017, reflecting its history as a creative city and leader in design. It is the only Australian city to be a City of Design and one of 43 in the world.

UCCN countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Belgium, USA, China, Scotland, Lithuania, and Canada will be represented at the international event.

Greater Geelong Mayor, Trent Sullivan, said Geelong was thrilled to welcome delegates to the region and showcase its design credentials to the UNESCO Cities of Design.

“The reach of the subnetwork meeting extends further than the 19 countries being represented in person, with an online component livestreamed to all UNESCO Cities of Design,” Mayor Sullivan said.

“This is an exciting opportunity for communities from these design cities to participate in and learn about the range of projects taking place across the network.

“The gathering is set to provide our local economy with a welcome boost through the support of local businesses.”

Delegates are set to be immersed in everything Greater Geelong has to offer, gain a feel for its heritage and design-driven future, and meet, network, and identify opportunities to collaborate with one another. 

The five-day meeting will explore design across a range of domains including education, creative industries, business and industry, policy, urban design, sustainability, innovation and social design.

The program will see attendees participate in a range of walks, talks, presentations and cultural tours showcasing Geelong. 

Community members from Geelong and across Australia interested in hearing from local experts and international delegates on their experiences and latest design projects can livestream three public panel sessions for free.

The Lunch and Learn Series will be livestreamed between 12-1pm AEST on 28, 29 and 30 March and covers topics including:

  • Future agents of change: designing creative industries and cultural organisations through youth participation
  • Urban Design initiatives across the UNESCO Creative Cities
  • Manufacturing for sustainable outcomes: enablers and mechanisms

Chair of the Economic Development portfolio, Councillor Peter Murrihy, said Geelong’s UNESCO Creative City of Design designation was an honour and continued to inspire the region to embed smart design principles into every project and initiative.

“We have a lot to be proud of in terms of our long history of innovation and ongoing clever and creative efforts, and showcasing this on the international stage will no doubt strengthen our reputation as a leader in design,” Cr Murrihy said.

“I encourage community members to register for the free Lunch and Learn Series, as they’ll offer valuable insights and ideas into how we can design a better future through creative industries, urban design and design and manufacturing.”

Director & CEO of Geelong Gallery, Jason Smith, said, “Our city and region is rich in creative industries practitioners and organisations working in various exciting ways at the interdisciplinary juncture of art and design, cultural production and design thinking.

“We welcome an opportunity to introduce international Cities of Design colleagues to the vibrancy of design in Geelong and the region.”

For more information about the subnetwork meeting, visit


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