Semi Permanent Aotearoa 2023

The biggest design festival in the southern hemisphere is back in Wellington. Semi Permanent Aotearoa will return to St James Theatre from 8 to 10 November 2023.

Now in its 21st year, Semi Permanent brings together creative industries from across New Zealand, Australia, and beyond. The three-day festival includes an incredible lineup of keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, and more. Set to welcome thousands of attendees — it will be three days of education and inspiration.

Each festival explores a universal theme, reflecting the challenges and opportunities of the moment. For 2023, Semi Permanent introduces ‘reformation’. “We thought the world would seek to build itself back as it was, but it’s increasingly clear that our collective future cannot—nor should not—look anything like its past,” says Mitchell Oakley Smith, Semi Permanent’s global creative director.

2023 Program

The breadth of the 2023 festival program covers graphic, product, game and motion design, fashion, illustration, publishing, visual art, and innovation.

Filipino-Māori recording artist, creative director and photographer Ta-ku will take to the stage. Following the release of his debut album, ‘Songs to Come Home To’, he will discuss his artistic process and multidisciplinary practice. Also speaking at the festival will be New Zealand-born editor, creative director, writer, and stylist Megha Kapoor. Head of editorial content for Vogue India, Megha has been instrumental in the publication’s rapid expansion, and is a respected voice in the industry.

Among the 18 speakers across the two day festival are illustrator Ruby Jones, and artist and creative director for Silverstripe James Ford, both from Wellington. Other speaker highlights include design director of The New York Times Magazine Ben Grandgenett, and Kiwi founder of her eponymous skincare line, Emma Lewisham.

Spark Lab and Semi Permanent will bring a capsule version of the technology-focused business summit, Future State. With a lens on sustainability, it will offer valuable insights and inspiration for New Zealand businesses.

New for this year’s festival will be the inaugural Semi Permanent Art & Design Fair powered by Squarespace. Following its successful launch at the Sydney event, the Art & Design Fair takes place during the festival (9 to 10 November). Held at St James Theatre, it brings together a range of publishers, artists, and designers. The market environment allows participants to share and sell their books, magazines, posters, and art. The Art & Design Fair will be free to attend, even if you don’t have a ticket to Semi Permanent.