Sri Lanka’s First Ever Virtual Design Festival – SLDF 2021 Unveils Its Inspiring Programme Line-Up


The eagerly awaited milestone event presented by the creative industries in the country that all have been looking forward to – The Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) 2021 – unveiled its inspiring programme. Participants can now register on to any of these virtual events, choosing from an array to suit their interest. All events are free and open to all.  The line-up of events covers Design, Craft, Architecture, Dance, Art, Music, Gems & Jewellery plus exciting stories of change-makers and creative legends featured at the festival. 

Participants who register, will experience a walk-through art gallery, a virtual fashion show, inspiring talks, dance documentary, discussion panels, interviews, movies and many more, presented through collaborations and partnerships with over 50 eminent speakers, trailblazers and responsible brands at a national and international level! What is most unique is that participants can select to register for each segment of their interest or register for as many as they wish to and be engaged for 3 full days of exciting events.

The spectacular event is organized and conceptualized by the Academy of Design (AOD), Sri Lanka’s pioneering design educator.  The event marks an exceptional milestone in the history of Sri Lanka’s Design and Creative industry by introducing the country’s first ever full-on virtual platform for people to engage, experience and soak in the creative talent, that Sri Lanka has to offer, by creating ‘one platform’ to bring them altogether. Most importantly, it is offered free of charge!

The Sri Lanka Design Festival has been celebrating the novel work and people in the Design and Creative industry for a decade.  It is now taking the concept to the next level to create and concede the real ‘impACT’ in 2021. AOD has been shaping the lives of students, design-makers, and artisans playing an important role in their lives and livelihoods to create an impACT at both individual and community level. Witness the programme kick off with the ‘Launch Movie’ on 15th January at 9.45 a.m. to which as many as 25 friends of SLDF from around the world including thought leaders, designers, industry influencers will share and inspire.

Overall, the programme caters to interests of creative people in all walks of life. If you are a parent, you can sign-up for the SLDF Kids programme or an Art n’ Craft initiative for children between 5-7 years to engage in activities where they can use their imagination. If you are a student looking for inspiration come and be part of the ‘Changemakers’ segment – a three-part discussion at SLDF among positive change-makers that looks at solving problems in a practical way, in varied sectors such as education, health, wellbeing and technology. It also provides opportunity to witness young emerging design talent of AOD to progressive businesses and companies.

Those with passion and love for history and design can sign-up for segments such as Creative Legends featuring Ena De Silva in a short film that will inspire you to reminisce about the histories and the country’s design development in the past or Chitrasena featuring one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most prestigious traditional dance school’s talents. If you are a music lover, sign-up for the ‘Press Play’ segment – a series of playlists conceived by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary (MMCA) Art Sri Lanka in collaboration with artists, designers, curators, art historians and arts organisations. The full playlist will bring together songs that will be released during the course of the Sri Lanka Design Festival from 15th to 17th January 2021 and all will be online during the three days of the conference.

As knowledge and discussion has the power to inspire, knowledge-sharing sessions have been included in the segment of ‘Design Katha’ – especially on Gem and Jewellery legacy;Port City Future City – Creative View Point; Crafts and Architecture, Modern Sri Lanka Furniture; Impact of Public Art and Impact of Design in Advertising.

Additional Discussion panels include topics such as Creative Economy for Sustainable Development Forum Presented by the British Council, Sri Lanka; DesignTech Colombo Conference by AOD & SLASSCOM Women Technopreneurs forum focusing on the importance and need for equal gender representation in this field; Designed Experiential Tourism & Sustainability Conference to include ideas, methodologies and trends from international and local experts, thought leaders and innovators from sectors on how designed experiences & sustainability makes perfect business sense and will be the only way forward with a keynote speech by H. E Tshering Tobgay, former PM Bhutan who is a global icon and advocate of sustainable tourism.

Dr. (HCL) Linda Speldewinde Founder of SLDF and Chairperson of AOD explained “We believe in creating real impact.  More importantly, we walk the talk. That’s why we are able to create this powerful collaboration and partnership with many likeminded personalities and responsible businesses in transforming Sri Lankan ‘Design and Creative’ industry. A fine example is how we have impacted the local artisans at a grass-root level by empowering and enriching their livelihoods and at the same time contributing to preserving the local heritage of Craft industry through Design. This year, there is an exclusive segment of ‘Craft Week’ showcased across the three days of SLDF 2021, where participants can witness the work and interesting conversations among some of the pioneers and sustainable businesses on how it has shaped the industry and the communities in it.”

Register now on, its free and open to all. Watch the full programme line-up as it unveils on the 15th, 16th and 17th of January (Friday to Sunday). The programmes will also be made available online through on SLDF website post-event for a short-period of time to enjoy the experience.



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Author: Isma Izzath
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