Dott event to work on agenda for Cornwall programme

The think-tank event being run this week by Designs of the Time Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will influence the direction of Dott’s programme over the next year, according to Dott programme director Andrea Siodmok.

The two-day event will, says Siodmok, ask the open-ended question, ’What is design in our time?’ – hence the slightly confusing title of ’Design in our Times’.
Design thinkers from around the UK and further afield will descend on Cornwall for the think tank – which takes place tomorrow and on Friday – including Doors of Perception director John Thackara; Ezio Manzini, professor of industrial design at Milan Polytechnic; and Nabeel Hamdi, emeritus professor of housing and urban development at Oxford Brookes University.

Siodmok says, ’We are handpicking individuals from the UK and across the world to unpick areas of design thinking.’
Each contributor will be given a ’soapbox’ platform to submit ideas and concepts on the first day, says Siodmok, while the second day will comprise workshop sessions looking at design practice.

The sessions will also be attended by representatives of Dott partners such as the Design Council and University College Falmouth, and Dott’s panel of design producers, who will also be taking the opportunity to outline their visions for the Dott programme.

Among those speaking will be Mark Irlam and Tom Tobia, from London consultancy Something From Us – a senior design producer which is working on the branding project From Cornwall With Love.

Tobia says, ’One of the core principles of Dott is community engagement, so we will be focusing on that and the idea of inclusiveness.’ Tobia says Something From Us will home in on the very timely issue of the voting process, looking at its design and how this might be altered to tackle voter apathy.

Matt Hocking, of St Austell-based Leap Media, which is senior design producer on the Eco Design Challenge and the Green Village project and will be looking at Green business and service providers in the county, says he will focus on inclusivity in design – particularly environmental inclusivity.

Hocking says, ’Being a Cornwall-based business, for an event like this to occur in our county is fantastic – usually you would have to go up to London or Bristol for something like this.’

In a counterpoint to Dott’s strong emphasis on co-design and grassroots-up projects, Mat Hunter, recently appointed chief design officer at the Design Council, will be making a case for more recognition of craft in design, and the expertise that trained designers can bring to bear.

Citing top-down design-led companies such as Apple and Virgin, he says that while design has ’a vital role in empowering normal people’, it is important to recognise the level of craft skills needed for design projects. Hunter says, ’Design thinking is for everyone – but design craft is for deeply trained design thinkers.’

The think tank will be webcast following the event, which Siodmok hopes will increase its impact. She says, ’What is happening in the UK at the moment with regard to service design is globally significant, and we hope Dott can contribute to that.’

Current state of Dott

  • The Technology Strategy Board has come on board as a partner – joining the Design Council, Cornwall Council and University College Falmouth, and contributing £250 000 in funding
  • Current initiatives include a showcase project based on play, the Eco Design Challenge, which schools are signing up to, and the development of the From Cornwall With Love brand

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