Halifax Initiative sets target for single body

The Halifax Initiative is looking to establish a single body representing designers by summer 1998. Discussions are already underway with potential backers for the venture.

It is not yet known what form the new body will take or whether it will incorporate existing bodies such as the Chartered Society of Designers and Design Business Association. These details are to be thrashed out by a series of task groups, which will be assigned various areas to explore and report back to the review team.

The first task group, which will be chaired by Fitch director Bill Sermon, will clarify the vision that came out of the conference held at Dean Clough in Halifax in June. The group, including Quentin Newark of Atelier Works, Lesley Morris of Kingston University, Fran Bromley of Hasbro UK and Kenneth Grange is due to report back later this month.

Once the vision has been agreed, other groups will consider the business plan; communication; funding; accreditation; qualification; and finding a home, possibly at the Millennium Dome. Anyone wishing to be involved should contact Lynda Relph-Knight at Design Week, Jonathan Sands at Elmwood, Sean Blair at the Design Council or Nick Jenkins at the Jenkins Group.

Details of how much funding the venture will require have yet to be determined, but an approach from a major client company is being followed up and the Design Council has pledged further financial support.

Alan Fletcher has meanwhile agreed in principle to create an identity for the initiative itself.

Coley Porter Bell chairman Colin Porter is to take up the reins of the DBA in October, after Jonathan Sands steps down as chairman of the association.

Porter has been a director of the DBA for two years, chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards. He describes Elmwood managing director Sands as “a singularly class act” and intends to “build on what he has done”.

As a participant in the Halifax Initiative, endorsed by the DBA, Porter aims to continue Sands’ work there. “We are all wanting to move this forward. If our members want it, we’ll make it happen,” he says of plans to create a single body for design.

Sands’ last official duty will be to chair the DBA annual general meeting in late September. He intends to devote more time to the Halifax Initiative thereafter.

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