Cardiff vies for centre stage in design calendar

Cardiff is to host a design festival, it has emerged this week, with a series of events scheduled to take place in June that aim to raise the profile of Welsh design across industry, education and among the wider public.

The event aims to encompass a range of disciplines, from product and packaging to fashion and architecture. According to Cardiff School of Art & Design director of enterprise and development Olwen Moseley, who is on the festival’s organising committee, it hopes to Design festivals – what’s happening where

12-13 April Going global – Latin America and Japan under the microscope

16 April D&AD Awards Exhibition

23-24 May On show – a series of creative showcases and lectures

25 May D&AD Awards ceremony and dinner – black and yellow pencils to the lucky winners

27-30 June D&AD New Blood exhibition – student designers exhibit

13-24 June Celebrating Design – exhibition of Welsh design

24-26 June Audi Foundation Design Challenge – building enthusiasm for design among A-level students

15-30 September Programme to be finalised but will include an industry conference and 100% Design, 100% East and Designersblock‘promote Welsh design with a single voice’.

‘The festival aims to reposition Cardiff as a creative hub,’ explains Moseley. ‘Cardiff has really changed over the past ten years and is now one of the biggest creative centres outside London.

‘There’s a certain confidence in the city, but we’re not very good at talking about and showing off what we do,’ she adds.

The organisation has secured funding from a range of sources including the Welsh Development Agency, Design Wales and Cardiff 2005, the organisation tasked with celebrating Cardiff’s centenary. It has also gained sponsorship from Audi and retailers including Ikea and local furniture stores.

In its first year the festival will encompass degree shows, an exhibition of local design, workshops, talks and a map of design-led retailers in the city (see box for details).

The festival is the latest in a series of events in the UK that aim to promote design. London’s Design Festival, in its third year, takes place in September and D&AD Congress, which starts at London’s Old Billingsgate next month, is evolving into a more comprehensive affair each year.

Some designers believe there is still room for more. The UK still lags behind markets like the US, they say, where events are an important mainstay of the industry. ‘It’s still very early days in the UK,’ says Johnson Banks creative director Michael Johnson. ‘Conferencing and the idea of getting together is still relatively young in the UK when compared to the huge conferences like American Institutes of Graphic Arts in the US.’

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