The Brand Union chairman Dave Brown in education drive

The Brand Union’s UK chairman Dave Brown is launching an initiative to raise the standard of design education in UK schools, with support from Seymour Powell co-founder Richard Seymour.

Plans for the initiative, called Incub8, include encouraging universities and colleges to promote design and technology degree courses in schools. It also aims to get design bodies like D&AD to promote careers in design, perhaps by sending star designers into schools to give talks.

Brown is running for election to the D&AD executive committee – the initiative is part of his manifesto. ’I have witnessed a lot of confusion in secondary schools about where design is going at the moment,’ says Brown.

’Degree courses in the UK are filled with foreign students who return to work in their home countries once we have trained them. We are unable to feed the degree courses with native students because we are not promoting design degrees heavily enough at secondary school, nor are we making the experience of a career in design sound as exciting and sexy as it is.’

Brown plans to use connections to minister of state for further education John Hayes to gain some influence over syllabus design. He wants to create greater synergy between subjects like science, art and technology.

Brown says, ’If ever there was a time to encourage school children into design, it’s now. We are going through a particularly difficult time with cutbacks and we will come back, but unless we seed now for the future, we will end up with a skills gap.’

Brown is on the development board of private school Reed’s in Cobham, Surrey, and this has led him to consider lobbying technology groups to invest in design education facilities in schools. ’[Although] I wouldn’t want the Samsung School of Learning, we all have a responsibility to put something back into design education,’ he says.

Incub8 will embrace a variety of A-level subjects, including product design, fine art, graphic design, photography and 3D design. There are 12 design figures vying to fill two positions on the D&AD executive board.

The deadline to vote is 31 August, with all members entitled to vote. The two design executive committee members, along with the new advertising and creative industries D&AD executives, will be announced at the end of September.

D&AD design executive committee candidates

  • Patrick Baglee, Navyblue
  • Mark Bonner, GBH
  • Neville Brody,Research Studios
  • Dave Brown, The Brand Union
  • Stuart Dickinson, Futurebrand
  • John Dowling, Dowling Duncan
  • Vince Frost, Frost Design
  • Lucy Holmes, Holmes Wood
  • Shun Kawakami, Artless
  • Marcello Minale, Minale Tattersfield
  • Adam White, Factory Design
  • Ryan Wills, Taxi Studio

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