Regional design support is all about collaboration

I write in connection with the article by Peter Spence of the South Coast Design Forum (Letters, DW 7 January).

As a design consultancy in the North East, we disagree that ‘designers in the North have handed the initiative for development of the design sector to regional development agencies’.

The involvement of the RDA One North East in the commercial creative industries is relatively new – until recently its emphasis has been on process/manufacturing industries and bioscience.

Trade bodies have mostly been seen as London-centric, and our sector has been largely left to ‘get on with it’.

I write with experience as a member of the initial Design Network North steering board, and as someone who’s worked in the sector for many years.

ONE has sought to create an environment for growth through co-operation and collaboration.

The ONE and DNN teams have gone to great lengths to populate their strategy board with regionally established private sector individuals from the creative industries, and university representatives.

Rather than a ‘takeover’ of the development agenda, this is just the sort of joined-up thinking our industry needs, and I would recommend the model to other regions.

The RDA has also sought to develop the infrastructure to support this growth in creativity and innovation.

Funded/supported projects have taken place over several years in Scotland, the North West and many other places. Indeed, I have drawn the inference from Spence’s letter that the South Coast Design Forum itself has benefited from some form of support.

I think it is fair to say that ONE is playing a vital part in assisting the development of the sector, acting as a catalyst.

Designers from all regions must work together to build on our collective efforts to maintain and strengthen British design. I hope we will have the chance of working with Spence to this end.

Jeremy Hall, Director, TDG – The Design Group, Haddricks Mill Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE3 1QL

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