Manchester to learn from East

Designers and creatives representing Manchester’s thriving popular culture are to visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore next month as part of a 35-strong trade mission sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Design consultancy The Drawing Board will join music representatives including former Factory Records supremo Tony Wilson, fashion designer Matthew Williamson and Michelin-starred chef Paul Heathcote on the delegation, which aims to foster closer cultural and commercial links between the cities.

The trip, which will run from 31 October to 13 November, is being organised by Marketing Manchester, the organisation which was criticised last year by some local designers for commissioning the “dull” slogan for Manchester ‘We’re up and going’ (DW 18 July 1997).

A spokesman for Marketing Manchester says the organisation now realises that Manchester’s popular culture was pivotal to the city’s recent and future success. “[The trip] won’t just be a bunch of suits going over and talking about ball-bearing factories,” he says.

The Drawing Board sales and marketing manager Linda Garson, who will lead the Singapore arm of the trip, says the consultancy hoped to follow up interest from the Far East generated by its appointment to design the graphics for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

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