The UK Design Alliance can go it alone now

Lesley Morris

Having led the Design Council’s input to the UK Design Alliance for several years, I too am delighted that many design organisations from across the UK have joined in the discussion about connecting the industry and the role of the alliance. I’d now like to reply to Lynda Relph-Knight’s editorial comment (DW 17 February) that it’s ’time for the Design Council to hand over control to Design Alliance members’.

I couldn’t agree more – this is exactly what we want to do. I’ve been working with many great industry and education partners over several years now to help develop the alliance – always with the knowledge that to succeed in the long term, it must be led by the industry and not by a Government body. However, I also believe that the Design Council can continue to play a small, but very useful part to help ensure that this really happens.

The alliance partners are a disparate group – both a strength and a weakness. The strength is the brilliant diversity of our sector and the weakness is the lack of coherence and unified voice when needed. By supporting the alliance, the Design Council has tried to provide a bit of glue; to connect, but not to control.

We can continue to do this – simply by providing a Web platform and facilitating the forum. We’ve set up an online network and organised annual events, in essence, providing the space for dialogue, with the partner organisations deciding what to discuss and do.

Going forward, I see the Design Council as just one of many UK Design Alliance partners – each contributing in different ways to the whole and with the opportunity to grow and maintain a vibrant network that can work for everyone.

Lesley Morris, Head of design skills, Design Council, and Director, UK Design Alliance, by e-mail

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