General conference needed if design is to be taken seriously

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Nick Jenkins’s admirable action in resigning as Chartered Society of Designers president and his stated continued commitment to stay involved in the CSD demonstrate what a valued president he was and could still be.

There is no question that there is a need for a review of design representation. The scope of such a review should include other design professions such as architects. The fears that such a review will lead to the CSD disappearing or being absorbed by other organisations seem to illustrate that some have forgotten that the society’s primary activity is to represent chartered designers and it is the only credible body to define minimum standards of professional practice, maintain CPD courses, develop training programmes and influence education.

The secondary aspect, of promoting design, has to be more effective if represented by the industry as a whole. It is unquestionable that the work to be done by members to enable the CSD to be meaningful in its primary tasks is extensive, and given its financial status, focusing on this issue and sharing the secondary tasks more economically realistic.

In regard to the CSD strategic review, its focus has been inward looking and more to do with everlasting debate about governance and the influence of the regions, than how the society can redirect itself to survive, and grow and restructure into an efficient and meaningful professional body.

If the current furore leads to the integration of the CSD, I am sure Nick Jenkins more that anyone will be disappointed. Equally, resignation by members is an emotive action as without the CSD designers, chartered or not, will have no credible representation in the next five years which will be a critical time for the long-term future of design.

Perhaps the best action vice-president Adrianne LeMan could take is to call for a general conference of all CSD members and resolve all the issues in one go, as I suspect petty political posturing at the forthcoming AGM will result in little that is positive. Designers need to decide whether they want to go into the millennium as credible professionals or as an ad hoc collection of disparate individuals without the ability to influence anyone.

Josef Ransley FCSD

Ransley Group

Surrey GU1 4QU

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