DesignTO Festival is Canada’s leading (and largest) annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week each January. Since 2011, we have welcomed over 600,000 visitors, worked with over 5,000 artists and designers and reached over 475 million users through print and digital media.

Here are three ways you can participate in the Festival:

1. Independent Projects

Independent Projects are exhibitions, events (e.g. tours, talks, workshops), and window installations that are wholly created and executed by an individual or organization during the DesignTO Festival at a venue of their choice (in-person or online).

This is for you if:
You are a designer, organization or venue that has an online or in-person event, exhibition, or window installation you want to self-produce and register with the Festival.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival provides a promotional platform for Independent Projects as part of Festival Week. Independent Projects are listed online, included in general festival marketing, and provided with Festival-specific signage (e.g. window cling). Additional marketing may also be provided based on merit and media interest.

Fees:
There is a registration fee, based on the size of your organization. Apply by August 31 to receive $25 off your registration fee.

Call Opens:
May 17, 2021

Deadline:
October 8, 2021

2. Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program

This program pairs designers with a venue to host their project. Projects include exhibitions, events (e.g. tours, talks, workshops), and window installations that are wholly created and executed by an individual or organization during the DesignTO Festival at the host venue. Host venues provide their spaces free-of-charge and pay the registration fee.

This is for you if:
You run a shop, gallery, studio, café, school, cinema or other venue in Toronto that you would like to see activated with design during the Festival.

– OR –

You are a designer that wants to present an exhibition, event or window installation during the Festival, but you don’t have a venue.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival acts as a matchmaker to pair host venues and guest designers. The process starts by the Festival seeking host venues through an open call for submissions. A list of confirmed venues is shared through an open call for guest designers. Designers submit their proposals and select their top three venue choices. Based on characteristics and fit of the project with the venue, the Festival makes matches.

(Successful matches become Independent Projects, with the designer as the main contact. See above for details.)

Fees:
Host Venues: There is a registration fee, based on the size of your organization. You can also opt to provide the designer with additional support.
Guest Designers: You are responsible for all costs associated with the creation and execution of your project.

Calls Open:
Host Venue: May 17, 2021
Guest Designer: July 19, 2021

Deadlines:
Host Venue: July 9, 2021
Guest Designer: Rolling deadline, with final applications due September 13, 2021

***Matchmaking will take place on a rolling basis. Guest designers should apply early to increase the likelihood that they will be matched with their preferred host venue.***

3. DesignTO Projects
DesignTO Projects are exhibitions and events curated and executed by the Festival. Participation in these projects is through a combination of open calls for submission and by invitation.

For 2022, we have four calls for submission:
– Symposium – ‘No Such Thing as Normal’
– Group Exhibition – ‘Shared Terrain’
– Prototype Exhibition – ‘Purpose & Play’
– Residency – ‘6ft (a)part’

This is for you if:
You are a designer, artist, architect, curator, educator, or researcher whose work is relevant to the themes outlined in each call for submission.

The Festival’s role:
The Festival curates and executes these exhibitions and events in their entirety, sometimes in partnership with other organizations.

Fees:
There is no fee to submit to the open calls for submission. DesignTO pays exhibition and speaking fees to successful applicants.

Group Exhibition Deadline:
September 1, 2021

Symposium, Prototype Exhibition, and Residency Deadline:
September 24, 2021

 
Key Dates
2021

Monday, May 10

  • DesignTO Group Exhibition – Call for Submissions Opens

Monday, May 17

  • Call for Independent Projects Opens
  • Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program – Call for Host Venues Opens

Monday, June 7

  • DesignTO Prototype Exhibition – Call for Submissions Opens
  • DesignTO Symposium – Call for Submissions Opens
  • FLDWRK x DesignTO Residency – Call for Submissions Opens

Friday, July 9

  • DEADLINE: Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program – Call for Host Venues Closes

Monday, July 19

  • Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program – Call for Guest Designers Opens, Rolling Submissions

Tuesday, August 31

  • DEADLINE: Independent Projects – Early bird rate ends

Wednesday, September 1

  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Group Exhibition – Call for Submissions Closes

Monday, September 13

  • DEADLINE: Venue-Designer Matchmaking Program – Call for Guest Designers Closes

Friday, September 24

  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Prototype Exhibition – Call for Submissions Closes
  • DEADLINE: DesignTO Symposium – Call for Submissions Closes
  • DEADLINE: FLDWRK x DesignTO Residency – Call for Submissions Closes

Friday, October 8

  • DEADLINE: Call for Independent Projects Closes

Friday, October 22

  • DEADLINE: All Projects – Content Due
2022

Wednesday, January 12 – DATE TBC

  • Exhibitor Meet-up

Friday, January 21 – Sunday, January 30

  • DesignTO Festival