Organisers of Scotland’s Six Cities Design Festival are still considering how to take the venture forward, but they should be applauded on what they achieved first time round. It ran from 17 May to 3 June 2007 and the programme included a host of business, design and learning activities as well as public events.
The £3m initiative, backed by the Scottish Executive, was the brainchild of Scotland’s former First Minister Jack McConnell and organised by Glasgow-based The Lighthouse, Scotland’s national centre for architecture, design and the city. McConnell’s aim was to inspire future generations of Scottish designers.
As its name suggests, the festival focused on six Scottish cities with a positive reputation within the creative industries. They were Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling, each playing to their creative strengths.
But while the aim was to promote Scotland’s creativity through some 300 local events, the platform was international, with the likes of Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, Peter Saville, Martin Lambie-Nairn, Zandra Rhodes, Wayne Hemingway, Virgin Atlantic, Nokia and Vitra joining local activists such as Timorous Beaties, Blue Marmalade and Robert Johnston in the line-up.
New to the festival team was Nick Barley, the former publisher who became executive director of The Lighthouse in autumn 2006. It will be interesting to see how it develops under his guardianship.