Design Forum wasn’t meant to be sole body

During my last couple of years as director of the Royal Society for the Arts I tried to establish the Design Forum. I agree with Stefan Zachary (Letters, DW 17 November) when he says the Design Forum did not succeed, but I disagree with his reason; namely that it did not manage to provide an over-arching body which could be a single voice for design.

The members of the Design Forum (RSA, Design Council, Chartered Society of Designers, Design Business Association, the Royal Designers for Industry and the like) decided from the start that being a “single voice for design” was neither in their power to deliver nor their objective. The purpose of the forum was very simple; to provide a regular meeting place where members could, in private and off-the-record, discuss the issues which were causing friction and fragmentation. Some people, including Design Week, I am sorry to say, tried to impose a different and grander role on the forum, that of the single voice role.

I think that was a pity and still feel, even though I am not out of that particular foray, that the intended and quite modest role of the Design Forum was right and worth pursuing. Perhaps it still is.

Christopher Lucas

Acting project director

Royal Society for the Arts

London SE1

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