Hot fifty – DOTT 07

The team behind the first Designs of the Time event pulled off a spectacular feat last year, setting a benchmark for subsequent events to match up to.

Dott 07 was the design-led initiative in the North East of England born of a collaboration between the Design Council and the local regional development agency, One North East. It was headed by programme director John Thackara and executive producer Robert O’Dowd, but involved an energetic local team, made up largely from the two sponsoring organisations.

Dott 07 addressed issues of local and national significance, ranging from Alzheimer’s disease via education to transport in rural areas, using the medium of community projects running throughout the year.

The year culminated in the Dott Festival in October, when projects went on public display in Gateshead, and the Baltic arts centre hosted an awards event to honour the best of the local projects.

Star turns include Middlesbrough’s urban farming programme, resulting in a town meal, which won the Creative Community Award, an urban campsite under Byker Bridge and the Eco Design Challenge to local schools.

All projects are documented by Thackara and his team in the Dott 07 manual. They lay down the gauntlet for Cornwall and Glasgow to pick up in 2009, whichever wins the race to host the next round of Dott events.

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