Design Exchange to deaccession collection and pivot to programming

Toronto’s Design Exchange is keeping its building, but deaccessioning its collection in order to focus on its biannual EDIT Festival and other programming.

Following the success of the inaugural edition of EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology (EDIT) in 2017, the focus of Design Exchange (DX) pivoted and the Board of Directors and Senior Management at DX unanimously decided to pursue a festival strategy, making EDIT the cornerstone of the organization’s programming, alongside relevant annual education and public programs. The next edition of EDIT will take place in Toronto in June 2020.

As such, DX will deaccession the Collection, a survey of Canada’s industrial design history from 1945 to the present featuring more than 300 works by Canadian designers including furniture, housewares, textiles, electronics, and lighting.

In order to ensure that Collection receives the much-deserved attention and care, DX is working with Dr. Rachel Gotlieb, the organization’s founding curator who has exceptional knowledge and expertise in Canadian design history. Dr. Gotlieb is also the co-author of Design In Canada with Cora Golden.

Under Dr. Gotlieb’s stewardship, DX has made every effort to gift the Collection to institutions in Canada, where improved care can be provided and the works are maintained in the public domain. Dr. Gotlieb led a thoughtful and considered process, following Canadian Museum Association guidelines and consulting with staff, donors, external funders, and stakeholders.

DX is pleased to report that the majority of the Collection will be gifted to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. Dr. Gotlieb continues to be in touch with donors and collecting institutions. “I am delighted that so much of the collection of Canadian design and archives since 1945 will be transferred to two major Canadian museums, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Canadian Museum of History,” said Dr. Gotlieb.

“As the founding curator of DX, I am grateful to all the donors and granting agencies who have helped to build such a rich and expansive collection. The important legacy and heritage of Canadian design will continue to be documented, preserved, and displayed at these provincial and national institutions.”

Demonstrative of the new focus, DX is thrilled to announce it was approved for a $62,100 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) earlier this year to buy equipment for specialized design and technology workshops for children and youth between 6-14 and 15-24 who will be involved with DX’s workshops. The items purchased will range from computers and 3D printers to specialized tables and chairs as well as other much-needed equipment.

“By supporting the purchase of the specialized equipment needed for design and technology workshops, this $62,100 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will help to enrich the lives of so many young people in Spadina-Fort York. I commend Design Exchange on their work to provide these much-needed programs to our youth, which will have a positive impact on our community for many years to come” says Chris Glover, MPP.

“DX is very fortunate and proud to have been the founding steward and home of Canada’s industrial design history. We are grateful to Dr. Gotlieb for managing this critically important process and ensuring that the works are gifted to respected Canadian institutions,” said Christopher Wein, Chair of the DX Board of Directors.

“DX is eager to improve its programming infrastructure and enhance its education offerings in Toronto and the GTA to align with the objectives of EDIT. Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Fund for making this possible.”