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14 March 2023

Alastair Swayn Foundation and National Museum partner on Australian design

Addressing the issue of climate change through the lens of contemporary and sustainable Australian design is one of the aims of the new Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The Alastair Swayn Foundation and the National Museum have jointly appointed Dr Lyndon Anderson to the role for 2022–25. The Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design is a collaboration between the National Museum, the Swayn Gallery of Design and the Alastair Swayn Foundation – both of which are the legacy of eminent Canberra architect, the late Alastair Swayn AO.

The program aims to increase public awareness and connection to Australian design, through collections, collaborations with industry, exhibitions, events and research.

During his fellowship, Dr Anderson will focus on the theme of Australian design, with a particular emphasis on sustainable manufacturing and construction, and how architects and designers are responding within their practice to assist in creating an environmentally friendly world in the face of climate change challenges.

Dr Anderson will also explore the ethical use of new technologies and materials and the changing nature of viable production and consumption.

Throughout his tenure, Dr Anderson will implement several projects and programs including, exploring the significance of biomimicry in supporting sustainable engineering and design, developing a new exhibition at the National Museum showcasing the materials used in ecologically friendly design, and hosting a range of talks to discuss the importance of contemporary Australian design.

The Alastair Swayn Foundation Grants and Engagement Manager, Susannah Britt, welcomed the appointment, saying the charity’s aim is to reward talented and deserving Australians with further opportunities to enrich knowledge in architecture and all design disciplines in Australia.

‘This is a significant step for the foundation as custodian of the legacy of Alastair Swayn. Increasing public awareness and appreciation of every aspect of Australian design through funding exhibitions, events and research is the core objective of the foundation,’ Ms Britt said.

Chair of the Alastair Swayn Foundation, Graham Humphries, expressed the Foundation’s immense support for the appointment and thanked the National Museum for its continued support of the Fellowship.

‘The Foundation is thrilled with the appointment of Dr Anderson to the role. As the second Swayn Senior Fellow of Design, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in design education and curation to the Fellowship. Architecture and design are reflections of who we are, and it’s by exploring the objects and approaches to design in our lives, that we can explore and define ourselves. The Swayn Centre for Australian Design, led by Dr Anderson will seek to awaken curiosity and understanding about the inherent value of design,’ Mr Humphries said.

National Museum Director Dr Mathew Trinca said Australian design deserves to be elevated in the public consciousness.

‘Australian design continues to have a global impact across many facets, including architecture, industrial design, fashion and the virtual design world. These disciplines will help us address modern issues such as climate change, the ethical use of new technologies and viable consumption. I am delighted to appoint Lyndon Anderson as the Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design,’ Dr Trinca said.

‘I’d like to thank the Alastair Swayn Foundation for their ongoing support. This partnership allows the Museum to continue to foster important research and implement insightful public programs’.

Dr Anderson says he hopes to highlight the work of important Australian designers of the past and the present, and help the next generation of designers to find their voice.

‘I’m really looking forward to sharing stories behind icons of Australian design and architecture, and highlighting the work of renowned Australian designers. The program will give people the opportunity to learn about the place of design in our past, present and future, and explore how design contributes to culture and informs our lives,’ Dr Anderson said.

‘In the face of contemporary challenges like climate change, the program will also explore the positive impacts sustainable architecture and design can have on the world, and the role it will play in creating a better future for generations to come’.

Dr Anderson was selected from an exceptional field of applicants. An expert in design education, research and advocacy, Dr Anderson has extensive experience and networks with professional design industry peak bodies and the Australian university sector. He was the Executive Dean of a large multidisciplinary Faculty of Arts and Design and Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching. He holds a PhD in Design and Fellowships with the Royal Society (NSW), the Design Institute of Australia and an Adjunct Professorship with the University of Canberra.

Alastair Swayn AO was a committed member of the Canberra design community for more than 40 years and was a founding partner of Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn (DJAS), a renowned architecture firm in Canberra. In 2010, he was appointed as a Professorial Fellow at the University of Canberra and as the first ACT Government Architect.

The Swayn Centre for Australian Design focuses on all aspects of design, including architecture, landscape architecture, fashion, graphic design, furniture as well as product and digital design.

Media contact: Matthew Heap 02 6208 5006 | 0459 949 172 or

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