'Future Matters', the 2024 DesignTO Thematic Exhibition. Photo by Christine Lim.

Submission Deadline
Friday, September 27, 2024 by 11:59pm ET

Thematic Exhibition

In the midst of rapid technological advancement, relentless globalization, and the forces of colonization and capitalism, we are at a critical juncture where certain artistic and material practices face the threat of extinction. Throughout history, these practices have held profound significance, shaping communities and narratives. This exhibition explores endangered creative practices and materials.

Preservation goes beyond maintaining the past. Preservation is a commitment to honouring the cultural identities and histories that these practices and materials embody. ‘REVIVE’ is a call to action to preserve and celebrate sacred and vulnerable creative practices and materials, as it is crucial that we recognize and safeguard them, ensuring they continue to thrive and inspire future generations.


Endangered Practices and Techniques:
Does your creative practice involve techniques that are at risk of disappearing? How are these practices significant to your work? What challenges do you face in practicing these skills?

Sacred and Vulnerable Materials:
Does your creative process involve sustainable sourcing practices? Are alternative materials or substitutes explored? How is this significant to your work?

Investigation of the cultural and historical significance of practices and materials:
Does your creative practice explore your cultural identity and history? In what way are cultural conservation efforts being integrated into your creative practice? Do you incorporate education and awareness within your creative process?

Environmental Impact:
Does your practice mitigate the environmental impact, particularly in relation to endangered materials? Does your work speak on sustainable practices within the wider artistic process? How is this significant to your practice?

Technological Advancement:
Has technology influenced your creative process? Do you incorporate new technologies to preserve or revitalize endangered practices? Does your work explore the benefits and drawbacks of integrating technology with traditional art forms?

Intersections of Tradition and Modernity:
Is there tension between preserving tradition and embracing modernity in your artistic practice? If so, how do you balance the purity of traditional art forms with the necessity of evolution? How do you envision the evolution of endangered practices in the context of rapidly changing cultural and ecological landscapes?

Revitalization through Innovation:
In what ways does innovation influence your work in revitalizing endangered practices and techniques? Can you share any novel approaches or technologies you use to breathe new life into your work? How do you find a balance between innovative and traditional methods in your practice?

Advocacy and Awareness:
Does your work advocate for the preservation of endangered practices and materials within your work? If so, how does this materialize? Do you comment on the ways that institutions and policymakers harm the preservation of endangered art practices and materials?

Ethical Dilemmas in Preservation:
Do you navigate ethical dilemmas within your work? Does your work consider cultural appropriation versus cultural preservation? Do you engage with communities to ensure ethical approaches to preservation efforts within your creative process?

Documentation and Archiving:
Do you document and archive your creative process/practice? If so, what methodologies and technologies are utilized to capture the intricacies of endangered practices and materials? How does the documentation process contribute to the understanding and appreciation of endangered practices and materials?

Transmission of Endangered Practices:
Do you facilitate the transmission of endangered art practices within your artistic process? In what ways does mentorship or education play a role within your creative process/practice?

Call for submissions

We invite submissions from artists and designers working in all mediums and formats.

Submissions of existing work or realized projects are preferred; however, we will consider submissions of new work and speculative projects.

The exhibition runs January 24 – March 30, 2025, as part of the DesignTO Festival, January 24 – February 2, 2025, and is co-presented with Harbourfront Centre.

All submissions must include the following:

  • A description of the project or work (max. 150 words) — please be sure to include the following details: title, materials/format, dimensions, year;
  • A description of how your object or work connects to the exhibition theme (max 300 words);
  • A short bio on you and/or your creative practice (max. 150 words);
  • 1-3 images of the project or work (max. 1MB per image); and
  • Your contact info (name, email, phone number, mailing address), CV, and website URL (if available).


Submissions are due Friday, September 27, 2024 by 11:59pm ET.


There is no fee for this submission or for participating in the exhibition. However, if selected, you will be responsible for arranging drop-off and pick-up of your work to Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. Artist fees will be paid to artists selected for the exhibition.

The exhibition will open Friday, January 24, 2025 and run until Sunday, March 30, 2025. An opening reception will be held during Festival Week (if permitted, date to be announced). The exhibition and reception will be held at Gallery 235, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. We reserve the right to modify dates and delivery methods if required.

Going into its eleventh year, the thematic exhibition is a signature program of DesignTO, a non-profit arts organization that produces Canada’s largest and leading annual design festival. This exhibition is co-presented with Harbourfront Centre.

Successful submissions will be notified by email by mid-October 2024.

Email questions to Kikki Guerard, Programs Assistant, at [email protected] with this subject line: Thematic Exhibition + your name.