Call for triennial Six Cities timetable in post-festival report

Scotland’s Six Cities Design Festival should become a triennial event to overcome problems with planning and organisation, says a report published by Ekos this week. Evaluation of the Six Cities Design Festival makes 18 recommendations for the event, which took place for the first time this summer in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Stirling.

Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture, The Lighthouse, developed the initiative, intending it to take place every two years. The Lighthouse director Nick Barley admits that the festival could have been organised better. ‘There were issues with timescale, organisation and communication between the central and local teams, but this is hardly surprising given there was no road map for a festival of this kind,’ says Barley.

The report recommends that, in future, Barley should take a more ambassadorial role, with a full-time manager employed to oversee development and delivery of the festival.

‘The festival has succeeded in implementing an infrastructure for delivery, although there are lessons to be learned,’ says Ekos associate director Brian McLaren. ‘In particular, insufficient time was available for planning and set-up, and greater consideration of the roles and responsibilities of key national and local partners was required. However, these issues provide valuable learning for any future festival.’

The report suggests that the Scottish government, which funded this year’s £3m event, should support at least two further festivals. It adds that collaboration with local and national bodies, including the Design Council, should be developed and recommends that the business and learning programmes should become year-round initiatives, with additional events during the festival period.

The report will be presented to the Scottish government immediately, with an announcement on future funding and planning expected in spring 2008.

• Six Cities Design Festival showcased the work of 419 designbased companies
• More than 300 non-design companies attended events in the Design into Business programme
• Around 300 000 people attended programmed events, excluding those who engaged with events staged in public spaces
• More than 80% of those interviewed found events interesting
• Around 58% said they had learned something, while 64% said they wanted to learn more about design as a result of attending
• More than half said the festival had provided a good or very good platform for Scottish design

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