Bringing manufacturing back

One of the key points in Radio 4’s interesting debate this morning about the future of design education is that the disconnect between design and manufacture in the UK is harming both the design industry and the economy as a whole.

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  • Sian Thomas November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is a really big problem for young/new designers like myself, trying to set up a sustainable business in the UK. My products require digital printing, which is not only rather lacking in the UK, but very expensive. As a British designer, I would like to be able to print and make my products in the UK (if not Wales, which is where I am based) and support the local economy. However, it isn’t easy for small businesses and leaves no choice but to look further afield.

    There is an issue with an attitude towards manufacturing within the UK – Instead it should be brought back and both celebrated and supported. Without it, I think it stifles and discourages innovation, especially for small start-ups – something which is necessary for our economy.

    To be able to establish connections between art schools and manufacturers (not just industry) would be such a wonderful step forward in the UK.

    Sian Elin (

  • Jessica Jenkins November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Any manufactuing done in Britain means either extremely low wages to compete with even more extremely low wages elsewhere, or (/and) creating only for a high end market. We still need to make well designed products that are affordable, for example by those who are making them. How can that circle ever be squared in globalised markets? We are developing the same models for design as with food stuffs. High quality, attractive, locally produced for those that can afford it, as against, poor quality, low nutrition, mass produced, poor animal welfare, poor human welfare. We need to think about design production using inland manufacturing but it has to be socially sustainable too. Can anyone provide examples of inland design manufacturing where the products are affordable by those making them?

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