Cardiff Design Festival could shorten to one week

Cardiff Design Festival is likely to be shorter this year, shrinking from a three-week to a one-week affair. A possible theme for the 2009 festival is ‘good and bad design’.

The festival, which ran for three weeks in October last year, may be ‘brought into sharper focus’, by reducing to a week or a fortnight, according to festival director Olwen Moseley.

The Cardiff Design Festival’s organisers and stakeholders held their first planning meeting last week. ‘It is really early days at the moment, and everything is up in the air, but if we do have a theme, we are considering looking at good and bad design,’ says Moseley.

‘Design touches everyone’s lives and we would like to make sure that there are activities that engage the public, particularly children, at the festival,’ she adds. The idea for the theme has emerged from a project that Moseley is working on in her capacity as director of enterprise at Cardiff School of Art & Design.

‘We are working with charity Leonard Cheshire Disability on a design-for-living project, which it would be very interesting to explore further at the festival,’ she says.

Last year, the festival stated a long-term aim of bringing Welsh design to a broader international audience.

However, this goal may offer its organisers more of a challenge this year. In 2008, the Design Management Europe Awards took place in Cardiff, and the festival moved its dates to fit in with the scheme, but this year the DME awards are taking place in the Netherlands.

‘It is really important that Cardiff is on the global map in terms of design’, says Moseley, confident that overseas visitors will still be attracted to Cardiff for the festival this year.

‘It is a question of building on the relationships we have already made to attract delegates from the international design community,’ she says.

The festival also hopes to net a high-profile, ‘inspirational’ speaker from the design community. ‘At the 2008 festival, we had founder of the Win Without Pitching group, Blair Enns, speaking. We would like to match that this year, with someone who is relevant to all stakeholders including the general public, design students, professionals and built environment designers’, says Moseley.

So far, the recession is not planned as a central theme for the festival, ‘this being more of a celebration of design than anything else’, according to Moseley.

David Worthington, chairman of Media Square’s design division, has once again committed to judge the festival’s awards, which last year was won by The Brand Union for its branding of the Penderyn Distillery, among four other category winners.

The 2009 festival has also secured support from Creative & Cultural Skills and Design Circle, the South Wales Branch of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales.

The Cardiff Design Festival will take place in October.

Cardiff Design Festival

• The event may be shortened, from three weeks to just one

• This year’s festival theme may be ‘good and bad design’, with a particular focus on disability and children

• David Worthington will judge the festival awards again this year

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