A screenshot of the online exhibition featuring the first Design Award winners.

Brunei’s inaugural Design Week will host over 20 talks, masterclasses and workshops virtually with leading academics, professionals and business people from the creative industries until September 26.

Design Week 2021 (DW21), organised by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), was launched on Thursday with the unveiling of the recipients of the first Design Awards in eight categories featuring the application of Brunei-based design projects in different commercial and civic fields over the past five years.

Darussalam Enterprise’s CEO Javed Ahmad, whose organisation is the key partner for DW21, said the nurturing of the creative industries would help the growth of wider business community through better product design enabling better access to markets.

“It is indeed very encouraging to see how in Brunei’s creative industries have evolved over the years. In Brunei we recognise creative industries becoming an increasingly important contributor to the country’s economic growth and provider of quality employment,” said Javed in his address as guest of honour.

Creative professionals will also help form Brunei’s aspirations of shifting towards a more diversified, knowledge-based economy under the national vision Wawasan 2035, he added.

DARe is also looking to collaborate with UBD to further develop the business acumen of creative professionals to improve their marketability and growth.

Executive Director of DW21 and the UBD Design and Creative Industries programme Dr Rui Lopes said designers have helped play a key role in communication design in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through app development, public health messaging and e-commerce.

“Mobile applications have been allowing the authorities to manage these health crises more successfully. Designers have been developing new products to protect themselves and others,” he said.

To enable the public to view the award-winning entries, DW21 has organised a virtual exhibition for the recipients of the Design Awards. Included are Luxe Development’s real estate projects, Progresif’s magazine by its creative lead Liyana Hanif and Tapih Rancung’s instant singjang.

As part of the launch on Thursday, award-winning design critic Alice Rawsthorn delivered a keynote on how a new generation of digitally empowered designers are using affordable digital tools to generate significant cultural and commercial impact.

Upcoming talks include masterclasses by internationally acclaimed professionals including Nanyang Technological University associate professor Jesvin Yeo and University of Lisbon fine arts lecturer Jorge dos Reis. There are also design talks by emerging local designers such as Edy Awandi, creator of the Ministry of Health’s popular pandemic public service announcement mascot Oyen.

Registration for all sessions are free, except for the two workshops on branding and e-commerce. Registration can be made through DW21’s website, where you also view the full programme.