#cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL 2021

Posted on: 29. October 2021

The annual #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL is a public event hosted in Cape Town that gathers together a diverse range of people, who may not often or easily come together, to have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations about South Africa’s biggest challenges. Secondly, the Festival aims to support South African innovators and entrepreneurs to action their solutions to these issues.

This year’s #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL was hosted from 20 – 23 September 2021, and looked at the major fault lines in South Africa – brutally exposed by the impact COVID-19 – in order to stimulate ideas and action that result in inclusion and change.

Private sector businesses, communities, designers, thinkers, do-ers, visionaries and policy makers from across the country and beyond were invited to participate. The “unconference” style of this year’s Festival allowed 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 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 focused on: “How might we design solutions for increased inclusivity and access?”

“We aimed to explore the pressing challenges experienced by South Africans, but also, and importantly, showcase the application of innovation and design-led approaches to serve as inspiration.“ – Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, Consul General at the Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town

The programme had four key topic pillars: the economy, the healthcare system, food security, and water and sanitation.

This year, the Festival also saw the launch of the RE:SOLVE Challenge. The RE:SOLVE Challenge is an eight-month programme funded by the City of Cape Town to fast-track innovation, including grant funding to kickstart selected ideas.

The sessions from each day are available to watch online here:


Further information:
The CDI is a craft and design sector development agency with a mission to develop capable people and build responsible creative enterprises trading within local and international markets. The CDI is a non-profit company with over 20 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large in South Africa. The CDI is a catalytic agent of change in the sector, and passionate about developing appropriately skilled, resourced and digitally proficient practitioners who can successfully leverage opportunities for growth and development.

Photo-Credits: © The CDI