Nine-week Design Season for Cornwall as Dott takes a bow

Next month sees the launch of the Cornwall Design Season, a nine-week-long celebration of creativity in the county that aims to promote the value of design to business and the economy.

It was initially hoped the season – run by a partnership of Cornwall Council, Cornwall Design Forum, Designs of the Time Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and University College Falmouth – would take place in October 2010, however due to funding issues and concerns over lead times, the festival has been postponed until February.

The season will involve a multi-site exhibition of design across Cornwall and a conference. People from the region will also be encouraged to put on their own design-related events.

Peter Kirby, creative director of the Cornwall Design Season, says, ’There’s loads of talent down here. There’s that sense of not copying the urban models but developing our own. Another overarching aim is the cross-pollination of talent – getting people to build on each others’ skills.’

Kirby adds, ’It’s a festival of maverick thinking, making and doing. It’s building all the time.’

The event coincides with the end of Dott Cornwall, a three-year community-based design led initiative, at the end of March.

Andrea Siodmok, programme director of Dott Cornwall, is leading on the creative business summit element of the season, which is based at the Eden Project.

There are three main elements to the summit: a business breakfast, the Intersections Conference, and the Community Innovations Awards Night on 2 March – the finale of Dott’s Big Design Challenge, which launched in October 2010.

The challenge invited communities to identify and tackle local issues by co-developing their ideas with designers and entrepreneurs.

At the awards night, a judging panel will select the communities to be mentored and funded with £10 000 following a Dragon’s Den-style pitch.

The Intersections Conference aims to explore the issues affecting designers and creative businesses, including the trends that will affect design and business over the next 18 months, and how design is transforming the UK’s capacity for innovation.

’We want to give people a bit of space to think about the future,’ says Siodmok. ’It’s been a horrible year in many ways with the economy and political changes – it’s a great chance for people to recharge their batteries and think more positively about the future.’

There will also be the opportunity for businesses to meet designers and entrepreneurs and co-design and creative workshops.

More adventurous delegates at the conference will have the opportunity to sleep in the Shelter Box international relief charity ’hotel’ – a series of tents in the Eden Project biomes.

Alongside these events, the Eden Project will house an exhibition of Dott’s work over the past three years. Despite its official end, there’s no doubt the legacy of Dott will continue long after the cessation of its active projects.

Siodmok says, ’The acid test for Dott is “Can it make a difference after it’s gone”.’ She adds, ’I ask, “What would Cornwall be like had Dott not come?” The energy and enthusiasm has created a springboard and that’s what it intended to do. It’s resonated – it’s created a positive energy about the future.’

InterSections conference

  • Keynote speakers include Nick Jankel of We Create and Tom Hulme of Ideo
  • There will be panel discussions with participants including Deborah Szebeko of Think Public, Mat Hunter of the Design Council and Richard Stevens of Forpeople
  • There will also be a question time session on Dott’s achievements and discoveries with John Thackara, Robert Young, Andrea Siodmok, Jeremy Myerson and David Kester
  • Creative businesses attending the event can bring a non-creative business to the event for free

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