Nairobi Design Week 2021: A Celebration of Creativity and Collaboration

Nairobi Design Week 2021 marked a significant milestone as the first fully online festival, featuring stories from over 30 creatives and involving the participation of more than 50 others. The event, which ran from April 3rd to April 10th, showcased a diverse range of projects, workshops, and collaborations under the theme ‘Design Is for Everyone!’


  1. Art Journeys in Corona Times: A global art project group of women collaborated digitally on a single physical art piece, which will travel across all continents to an exhibition at the NotQuite Gallery in Sweden in July 2021. The project featured Naitiemu from the Nairobi Design Week team, along with creatives from Kenya such as Rosemary Wangari, Wakianda, and Mbithe Mutavi.
  2. No Waste Challenge: A collaboration with What Design Can Do, the challenge called on creatives, hackers, and dreamers to submit bold solutions to reduce waste and rethink the production and consumption cycle.
  3. Collective Creative Consciousness: Hosted by Free Mind Sessions, this hybrid session featured real creative conversations and mutual discovery in a safe space, with guests like Jeff Ndungu, Rosemary Wangari, Blocka Beats, Djae Aroni, and Lucy Robi.
  4. Human Rights Film Festival – Under Our Skin: The festival aimed to motivate audiences to question, debate, and reflect on human rights issues, focusing on themes like ‘Injustice by Design,’ ‘Expression as a Right,’ and ‘Social Contract Redefined.’
  5. #EatDesignRepeat Party: A live stream event featuring creatives and the launch of the Mos Mos music video by Phinoshey, with music by Blocka Beats and dance performances by Collin Brianoh and Ian Tico.
  6. Community Collaborations: In partnership with Design Manchester and British Council, the COP26 project ‘Doing Zero’ explored the impact of what we grow and eat on the climate emergency, collaborating between Kawangware in Nairobi, Kenya, and Harpurhey in Manchester, England.

Partners & Communities:

The festival’s success was made possible by the support and collaboration of various partners and communities, including:

  • British Council
  • World Design Weeks
  • Design Manchester
  • Open Design Afrika
  • dexGhana
  • Arts Thread
  • STIR World
  • What Design Can Do
  • Kenya Lighting Industries
  • Free Mind Sessions
  • Kara Kana
  • Design Kenya Society
  • RefuSHE
  • Jarateng Sound System
  • Hisi Studio
  • The Bambis
  • Unboxed Afrika
  • Spy
  • Wauzine
  • Creatives Garage
  • Under Our Skin

Special Thanks:

See Also

The festival organizers extended their gratitude to individuals and organizations that played a crucial role in making Nairobi Design Week 2021 a success. Special thanks were given to Rango M, Orion Studios for the studio space, Sune Stassen, Mugendi M’Rithaa, Kasper de Graff, Esther Kute, Mutua Matheka, Joe Mutuku, Nsabimana Jean Claude, Poa Place Resort, Harpreet Virdee, African Crossroads, Mwalimu Gregg Tendwa & the Bengatronics team, and Nderitu Stephen.

Nairobi Design Week 2021 was a testament to the power of creativity, collaboration, and community in driving positive change and inspiring innovation.

The festival also featured a range of exhibits, movies, and performances, showcasing the talent and creativity of artists, designers, and innovators from Kenya and beyond. Collaborations with partners and communities, such as the British Council, World Design Weeks, Design Manchestwwer, and others, highlighted the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defined Nairobi Design Week 2021.