Tuesday, January 31, 2012

UK Design Alliance Meeting in Cardiff

Gavin Cawood (Design Wales), Kathryn Woolf (Cornwall Design Forum) and Roger Procter (South West Design Forum)
Jocelyn Bailey Policy Connect sharing her tips for connecting policy makers with design.
Colin McKeown of the Northern Ireland Design Alliance and Alison Merrifield of the Sector Skills Alliance

On the 26th January Design Wales hosted a meeting of the UK Design Alliance (UKDA) for the second time in Cardiff. The UKDA is a partnership of national and regional stakeholders who come together to strengthen the UK design sector. Such as through our work via the Design Wales Forum many of the active  members are regional design networks who are engaging with the UKDA to both understand how they can influence the national design agenda and to provide a voice for the design sector in their region.

The meeting discussed strategies for keeping design on the local political agenda. Jocelyn Bailey of Policy Connect was invited to share some successful strategies she had witnessed, of ways of connecting policy makers with design. Gavin Cawood of Design Wales and Colin McKeown of the Northern Ireland Design Alliance shared their experiences of trying to keep design on their local political agenda. Gavin discussed outcomes of the Design Wales manifesto and petition and a debate in the Sennedd where design was added to the innovation agenda. Colin talked through the Northern Ireland Design Alliance's future ambitions and how Design Wales had supported them in lobbying their government about design.

In further understanding the needs of the design sector Anna Whicher (Design Wales) presented an analysis of design sector skills reports developed by The Design Council and Creative and Cultural Skills while Victoria Jones (Design Wales) presented the results of a survey of UKDA members. A discussion followed where Design Wales agreed to send out an updated version of the survey, asking UKDA members to highlight content and resources that they are willing to share, sell or that they need in order to highlight the economic benefits of design to business.

Design Wales are to host the UKDA for a twelve month period, after which it is hoped another regional forum or organisation will facilitate the activities of the partnership. Still organised by Design Wales, the next meeting is to take place in Birmingham on the 23rd May.

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