Design forum to open in the West Country

A forum for designers in the West of England is set to launch next month, the latest in a number of regional design initiatives across the region.

The West of England Design Forum will aim to promote dialogue, meetings and events for the region’s designers, as well as for local businesses and those associated with design, such as engineers and architects. It follows the establishment in 2004 of the Cornwall Design Forum (DW 4 November 2004) and the formation of similar groups in Dorset and Somerset.

Proctor & Stevenson managing director Roger Proctor is chair of WEDF and has independently raised some funding for its launch. Other launch organisers include figures drawn from design, advertising, architecture and education in Bristol, Bath, Gloucester and north Somerset.

The forum intends to organise lectures, exhibitions and mentoring schemes, and may be extended to include professional development training, according to Nick Hand, the forum’s co-organiser and a freelance designer. He says the organisation will reach a wider group of people than either the Design Business Association or the Chartered Society of Designers do in the region currently. This is partly due to the costs to individual designers or small consultancies of joining these associations; WEDF will be free to join for at least the first year.

‘The DBA is a trade association for consultancies, but many individuals don’t belong to any of the consultancies in the DBA and so aren’t members. And the fact is the CSD [whose members are individuals] is not really doing anything here, so we’re doing something ourselves,’ says Hand.

The launch event for the WEDF takes place at Bristol’s Watershed media centre on 1 March at 6.45pm.

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