UK Design Alliance recalibrates and relaunches

The UK Design & Skills Alliance is dropping the word ’skills’ from its name and has announced a new advisory board chaired by David Worthington, as it prepares to broaden its remit.

’Rather than just looking at improving professional design skills the alliance will be about connecting the regional design networks and getting the entire industry together,’ says a spokesman from the Design Council, which is the alliance’s sole investor. The alliance is planning to host an Annual General Meeting that will take place during this year’s London Design Festival (18-26 September), ’when more people are in London from the regions,’ says the spokesman.

More than 20 regional design networks have signed up as members of the alliance, as have ’nearly all’ design bodies, including the Northern Ireland Design Alliance, says Worthington. The Lloyd Northover Group chairman will officially take over from former UK Design Alliance chairman Jonathan Sands at the alliance’s inaugural board meeting on 23 June.

’It is vital that we have clear objectives for the medium term, so we are planning three key projects that will correspond to schools, universities and industry,’ says Worthington. The one- to two-year projects will link together and one, says Worthington, will be ’very adventurous’.

More details will be announced in September, when the search for funding for the projects will begin. The alliance has tried, but never managed to raise public or private investment beyond that given by the Design Council since it was established in 2008.

’The requirement for funding is related to the projects now, so until we have confirmed them and assessed what industry and education wants us to do then we cannot define what we need in terms of money,’ says Worthington. ’We won’t need a massive amount though.’ Worthington is promising a ’step change’ in the alliance’s Good Design Practice campaign.

’We need to evaluate the value of design in schools and we need to create stronger, mutually beneficial and formal relationships with universities,’ he says. Director of the UK Design Alliance Lesley Morris, who is also head of skills at the Design Council, believes that the alliance’s work since it was established is ’now coming to fruition’.

UK Design Alliance advisory board

Ingrid Baron, London location lead, Ideo

John Corcoran, director, Wire Design

Joe Ferry, head of design, Virgin Atlantic

Julian Grice, managing director, The Team and UK Design Alliance advisory board vice chair

Mat Hunter, chief design officer, Design Council

Catherine Large, director, external relations, Creative & Cultural Skills

Lesley Morris, head of design skills, Design Council and director, UK Design Alliance

Shan Preddy, chief executive and managing director, Preddy & Co

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