Proposal FAQs

What are your guidelines?


Here are some simple guidelines to help you make your proposal shine:

  • Make sure your proposal aligns with our mission and this year's theme.​​​​​ This the single most important thing we're looking for.
  • Read all of the FAQs. Even if you don't think the questions apply to you, read them anyway.
  • Design your event to be something that you'd want to attend yourself. This seems like an obvious thing to point out, but is often overlooked.
  • The more interactive and immersive your event is, the better! Attendees love connecting with others over a shared experience.
  • Avoid proposals that are about self-promotion. Not only is it out of character with our mission, it's also really boring.
  • Design your proposals with a specific audience in mind. The more diverse, the more impact your event will have.
  • Consider unlikely and underused spaces as the setting for your event. There's an art to gathering people, including where we gather.
  • Collaborate with others, especially those outside your usual circles. Chances are, they can offer ways to enrich the experience of your event.
  • And finally: Be ambitious, but also don't lose sight of the mission. Sometimes the smallest of events can have the biggest positive impact.




Do you have examples of programming that you're looking for?


Here are some examples to inspire you: A workshop with kids to turn found objects into games. A transformation of a public space in an unusual way. A chalk installation at a tricky street intersection. A play that imagines Montclair in 2050. A GPS drawing run that highlights another side of our town. A lightning talk about how we connect to the world around us. A short film about your neighborhood. A workshop to develop strategies about affordable housing. A student fair of innovative design projects. A design charrette for a pop-up student hangout space. A demo of your latest prototype of a great idea. And so many more. We can see your creative juices flowing already!




What event categories are you offering?


This year, we are widening the range of event categories. If you don't see a category that fits your proposal, submit under "Other." Workshops (1.5 to 2 hrs, Mon - Fri, 10am - 12pm, 5pm - 9pm OR Sat - Sun, 10am - 2pm) Workshops are participatory events with a focus on specific topic and a concrete takeaway. They should be interactive, hands on and accessible to the intended audience. Materials and AV requirements are the responsibility of the event host(s). Pecha Kucha Talks (6-min talks inside a 2-hour event, 7pm - 9pm, date(s) TBD) MDW is a proud partner with Pecha Kucha Montclair, joining cities around the world in this fun and lively platform to share ideas, stories, passions and interests. Talks should relate to MDW's theme. Format is 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. More info about PKNights is here. Design Dens (1 to 1.5 hrs, Mon - Fri, 10am - 12pm, 5pm - 9pm OR Sat - Sun, 10am - 2pm) Design Dens are public gatherings in outdoor living rooms around town, facilitated by their host to inspire conversation, and capture stories and ideas about future possibilities. MDW provides our signature pink furniture for these casual conversations. For Youth, by Youth (Sat, October 26, 10am - 4pm) On October 26, 2019, MDW and the youth of Montclair will host For Youth, By Youth Day, a full day of activities designed and inspired by kids between 8 and 18 years old. Kids are encouraged to partner with familiy members and friends to help create a day of fun, discovery, and connection with the community. Other (1-2 hours, timing flexible) Propose an event in a format that doesn't fit either of the above categories. Demos, walk/run/bike events, design charrettes, temporary installations, short films, performances. The possibilities are (almost) endless!




What does Montclair Design Week provide for my event?


• Volunteers for all events • Promotion for all events* • Registration for all events • Wayfinding (ie. window signage, etc.) *Note: MDW does not guarantee to fill your event. We will list the event on our site and promote it through our channels, but we strongly encourage you to get the word out through your channels as well.




Does it cost anything to submit my proposal?


There is no application or participation fee.




What is the full timeline?


May 23: Call for Event Proposals opens. June 10: Info Session (in person and livestreamed on Facebook). June 24: Proposal Development Workshop. Draft proposals submitted by June 20 are eligible. Deadline extended! July 15, 11:59pm EST: Call for Event Proposals closes. July 26: Proposal acceptances are announced. Late September: Schedule of Events goes live with registration. October 18 - 27: Montclair Design Week 2019!




Why do you have a Code of Conduct?


Montclair Design Week is committed to a kind and inclusive experience for all of its participants. Whether your an attendee, volunteer, sponsor, partner, event host, MDW representative, showcase exhibitor or organizer, we value participation that is free from harm and harrassment. Please read our full Code of Conduct here.




I'm still not sure what you're looking for. How can I get more information?


We are so excited you've made it this far! That's already a great start - you're someone who's curious and wants to make a difference with your story about design. If you've reviewed everything and you're still unsure, attend our info session on June 10, 7:30pm til 8:30pm EST, log on to join us virtually (recorded live), or come back to watch the recording at your convenience here.




What is this year's theme?


Last year, our inaugural theme was "The Year of Messy Design," because starting anything is messy, and exciting! Thanks to your curiosity and enthusiasm, you helped us rewrite what a design festival can be. Our first year also left us wondering: now that we’d made a proper and hugely enjoyable mess, what do we do with it? This year, we invite you to venture with us into the “Unwritten,” our theme for 2019.

  • UNWRITTEN is everything we do and make without pausing to give or receive explanation--all the systems and rituals that we participate and move within, but rarely see. It’s those unspoken gestures and actions between us that make and break our community.
  • UNWRITTEN is about working together to uncover what’s been hidden or forgotten. It calls us to lay it bare, unearth, get naked, be curious. To encounter each other.
  • UNWRITTEN means that nothing is set in stone--that when we connect, we can discover things we never could have imagined. It means we can rewrite the story and our futures for the better.
MDW is inspired by the stories of design that we have yet to write — how things are being made, who it’s being made for and by, and why it matters. Montclair Design Week explores these questions through playful, inclusive, and thought-provoking programming that sparks our curiosity into action. What are the stories of design that you want to write?




What if my proposal involves out-of-pocket/material costs?


Our goal is to keep our program of events free or low cost to our attendees. For that reason, you are responsible for any supplies you'd like to use. You’re encouraged to provide refreshments at your event, but it’s not required. Here are a few things we encourage you to consider to keep your costs low:

  • Partner with a local supplier for in-kind contributions. Or better, co-design your proposal so that it's a collaboration. Chances are, they would be thrilled to be a part of Montclair Design Week, too!
  • Put out a call to your friends and neighbors for things that you can borrow, instead of buying something new.
  • Design your proposal so that attendees can bring things or materials needed to carry out your event.
That said, we also understand that some of you want to think big! If these suggestions aren't possible, please include a detailed budget of your costs with your proposal, and we'll take it into account!




What is Montclair Design Week?


Montclair Design Week (MDW) is the town’s official celebration about design. MDW connects and engages our community in a week of thought-provoking, playful, and inclusive events that celebrate how design enriches our lives in ways both large and small, visible and unseen. From panels, workshops, walks and talks to film series, festivities, installations and competitions, our programming is sure to ignite the designer in all of us.




Can I specify a day and time for my proposal?


We offer our event hosts three time slots to choose from, depending on the category type. We try to accommodate everyone's first choice but there is no guarantee. Please make sure to be available for all three that you select. Also keep in mind that there will be other events that run concurrently with yours. This ensures that our programming builds collectively on our mission and theme, and that it remains diverse and inclusive to our attendees.




How can I get feedback on my ideas for a proposal?


We offer our submitters the chance to participate in our in-person Proposal Development Workshop, held on June 24, 7pm - 9pm. All you need to do is to submit your ideas in short form by June 20, 11:59pm EST, and you're automatically eligible to attend! If you can't attend but have specific questions you'd like feedback on, you'll be able to submit your questions as part of our submissions form. It's that simple!





Our Submissions deadline is now passed!

Thank you to everyone who submitted to host an event, give a talk, gather your neighbors, or invent something  big. We had so many great categories open this year: Workshops, Pecha Kucha Talks, For Youth, by Youth Day, Design Dens, and "Other, " our newest category, where we invite you to dream up your own creation. Public programming at its best — designed by you!

Thank you to everyone who submitted!

All submitters will be notified no later than July 26, 2019.

Click here for downloadable FAQs.