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  • Do we need a national network of design centres?

    Community, Communication Design


    The UK Design Council are addressing an issue that remains on the tip of my tongue. Working with the London Development Agency, the Design Council project entitled Competitiveness in industry, Supporting growth in the creative economy is part of The Cox Review of Creativity in Business.

    The Cox Review recommended that a network of ‘Creativity and Innovation’ centres should be set up throughout the UK with a central hub in London. This quite simply sounds like a magnificent initiative and certainly something that I feel would benefit many.

    With an educational focus, I have been speaking with students and graduates across the country and am ever amazed to hear of their fears of the industry. With the creative arena more powerful than ever before, how can we expect out innovative designers and young talents to hit the moving runway walking. It is amazing to discover the number of graduate talents who have fears and low beliefs of getting a “good job”, let alone making any impact within the industry.

    Consistently told by designers, how the industry revolves by word-of-mouth marketing and employment, I question if this previous method of promotion and sourcing talent needs a new spin. Designers are everywhere and no longer are we looking for the MAC guru, but the industry needs entrepreneurs, and big thinkers. With the rise of Socially Conscious businesses and organisations, not to mention the environmental arena, the capabilities and opportunities for designers are limitless. Yet the question now is, how can we filter these hundreds to thousands of designers into suitable positions, without destroying their confidence and potential along the way?

    The creative world is finally becoming the social power it is capable of, but surely we need a method to remove the previously held niche barriers. If design is to become apparent within all business, cultural, social and economic arenas then we need a system not only to gather design talents, but a method and process to filter them their interests. We are looking at a future where designers are placed within outlets that no longer only ask for a Graphic or Web Designer, but for a combined ability for design and a passion for their particular social interest and knowledge.

    The Cox Review objectives are:

    • Positioning the UK as a world-class source of creative talent
    • Increasing the uptake of creative services by UK businesses
    • Strengthening the interaction between all the UK bodies who promote and represent creative skills and services
    • Enhancing the public’s awareness of how creativity and innovation are relevant to their lives

    The Cox Review suggested that they might include some, or all, of the following facilities:

    • Exhibition space
    • Seminar facilities
    • A hub for creative industry gatherings
    • Space for professional and trade bodies
    • Incubator spaces for new creative businesses
    • Studio spaces for creative companies
    • Retail and restaurant space

    A feasibility study is on course for the project and on completion of which the Design Council will be making their recommendations to government. This is a really exciting project, that I am sure many of you will await with eyes wide open. I really hope to see this project become a central entity, from which the future of the UK design can revolve.

    Image Graphic: By Kate Andrews

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