APDG History

On a summer afternoon in 2009 at the Australian Film Television and Radio school, Production Designer, George Liddle, stood from his position in the audience to address an auditorium of screen designers gathered to discuss the future of production design. “If anybody is interested in forming a guild for stage and screen designers please meet me in the foyer after this meeting”.

A handful of people gave George their contact details and word got round. Then, on the 4th of June a meeting of about fifteen people was held. It wasn’t the first time a guild for stage and screen designers had been initiated; member numbers had not been sufficient to sustain earlier incarnations. In 2009 designers were the only sector of the Australian media and entertainment industries without a representative body.

In this first meeting a core group volunteered to meet regularly and act as the founding committee. In this meeting was George Liddle, Peter Sheehan, Annie Beauchamp and Kate Wills.

From left: Kate Wills, Peter Sheehan, George Liddle, Annie Beauchamp

The founding committee formulated some basic alternative structures and organised a second general meeting in June, attended by about 50 people. At this meeting it was decided to call the organisation the Australian Production Design Guild and adopt the acronym APDG as our identity. Over the following five months many founding committee meetings were held and many interested parties attended these meetings which helped structure the guild. By August the founding directors were established:

  • George Liddle (secretary)
  • Virginia Mesiti (public officer)
  • Peter Sheehan
  • Annie Beauchamp
  • Kate E Wills
  • Charlie Revai
  • Kim Buddee

The founding directors drafted the Aims of the Guild, designed an accreditation process, formulated an awards event and began to design a website. In order to raise funds to commission a website builder the founding directors sought the financial backing of seven high profile Australian designers, who then became the founding members:

  • Michael Scott Mitchell
  • Steven Jones Evans
  • Catherine Martin
  • Ian Gracie
  • Colin Gibson
  • Owen Paterson
  • George Liddle

In October the founding directors commissioned Thomas Hofmann to build a website and Belinda Bennetts to design the APDG logo.

By December the basic structure of the guild was in shape; the awards categories were defined as was the awards entering process, judging process, membership levels and accreditation criteria. Because the guild did not yet have any accredited members that might serve as assessors of accreditation applications four APDG directors – Peter Sheehan, Annie Beauchamp, Virginia Mesiti and Kate Wills – voted in April on a special resolution to invite all of the founding members to become the first APDG accredited members. For propriety George Liddle, who was both a founding member and a founding director, was excluded from this resolution.

On May 18th 2010 George Liddle declared the guild open to new members and the website was launched. Despite the torrential rain on the roof of the AFTRS auditorium a collective sigh of relief and excitement could be heard from the 100 designers and design associates gathered for the launch. Roger Ford and Kerrie Brown then presented the first ever APDG event, an insightful talk about their production design and set decoration collaborations on their many productions.

APDG Launch - 18 May 2010

APDG Milestones


The Victorian Committee was established.

The inaugural APDG Awards were held in Sydney.


The Queensland Committee was established


The Western Australian Committee was established.


The APDG Designers for Live Performance Philosophy and Practice Guidelines were launched by the Live Performance subcommittee, led by Julie Lynch APDG and Stephen Curtis APDG.


The MENTORAPDG program was launched, led by Diaan Wajon and Tobhiyah Stone Feller.


The APDG Manual for Screen Design Practices was launched by the Screen Committee, led by Tim Ferrier APDG and Fiona Donovan APDG.

The APDG Awards ceremony was held in Victoria for the first time.

The Live Performance Standard Agreement for Design was launched.


The South Australian Committee was established.


APDG Dialogues in Design was launched.

The Covid-19 Back to Work Guidelines were launched.


The APDG Awards were live streamed for the first time.


The Working Smart Guide was launched by the Live Performance Committee.