Take it further

Attending informal events, talks and seminars is a great way of developing professionally – and there are also plenty of stimulating initiatives online. Anna Richardson offers a guide to real and virtual happenings that could expand your mind and skills

At Abrahams brings people from the arts, sciences and business together. Recent events included six speakers on ’the good, the bad and the brilliant’ in their fields and a panel discussion on ’collaborleaders’. The next event is on 25 May.

The Barbican arranges a lively programme of talks and events around its exhibitions.
Ron Arad/ Restless, for example, is accompanied by workshops and discussions by designers, artists, architects and design commentators.

The Design Business Association is putting the final touches on a new mentoring programme for those in senior roles at design consultancies.

DMI seeks to heighten awareness of design as an essential part of business strategy, providing training through conferences, seminars, a membership programme and publications.

The Design Museum runs an extensive programme of talks and lectures, featuring panels of high-profile designers and design thinkers. May sees a series of talks on the influence of Italian design.

A monthly get-together aimed at small design consultancies, Designer Breakfasts aims to create a network dedicated to the 63 per cent of design groups with fewer than six employees.

Promising ’inspirational ideas delivered free to the world via the Internet via a field in Wales’, the Do Lectures is an annual series of talks held in a tent in west Wales, with proceedings streamed online. ’It’s a new kind of classroom for an online world that desires to learn in a new way,’ say the organisers. This year’s lectures take place from 16-19 September.

The Editorial Design Organisation runs events featuring the great and good of editorial design. Last year included a talk by Wired US creative director Scott Dadich, a panel discussion on the future of digital content and exhibitions on the best of editorial design from 2009.

Organised by Studio Output, Glug is billed as ’creative drinks & notworking’. The events are monthly, after-work get-togethers in London and Brighton, aimed at designers, creatives and clients.

Graduate shows offer inspiration and networking. From the Royal College of Art to Northumbria University, most kick off in May and June.

Swedish interaction course Hyper Island is coming to the UK in a new masterclass in digital media, in association with D&AD’s Workout sessions. The first, for creatives, takes place on 24 May, with candidates actively selected. One for strategists and managers follows on 9 June.

The i-Design conference targets those with an interest in interactive design and digital arts.

The London Business Forum offers talks and master classes on a range of business topics.

Long Lunch is a series of events initially focused on Scotland, but recently branched out to London. Created out of ’a need between like-minded souls to meet and converse. To understand and learn’, it has already featured Anthony Burrill, Jonathan Barnbrook, Kleber and Tom Muller this year.

Showcasing the best in graduate design, New Designers brings together students from the top 200 design courses in the UK for two weeks.

This year’s New Blood exhibition from D&AD is accompanied by a festival of fringe events themed around networking. It takes place from 24-28 June in the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London E1.

Launched in March, New Frontiers includes a website, seminar programme, awards scheme and digital platform to support sustainable design ideas. Its first seminar, Closing the Loop: Conserving Resources through Sustainable Design and Chemistry, is on 7 July.

Events at NLA bring together professionals in the public and private sectors. They recently included a free breakfast talk on ’Designing London’s waste and energy facilities’ and ’Clients, clusters and clouds: London’s future workplace’.

Pecha Kucha was devised in 2003 in Tokyo as an event for young designers to meet, network and showcase their work through a format that allows presenters to showcase 20 images for 20 seconds each. It has grown into a global phenomenon with events in 299 cities so far, and counting.

Social media, including Linked In, Facebook and Twitter, are popular platforms for lively, quick-witted debate and useful information.

The SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas brings together Web developers, designers, bloggers, wireless innovators, content producers, programmers, widget inventors and new media entrepreneurs in five days of presentations, panel discussions and hands-on training. A trip to Texas might be ambitious for some, but the festival streams many of its events via its own You Tube channel.

Ted is a non-profit organisation devoted to ’ideas worth spreading’, which brings people together from technology, entertainment and design. It now includes the Ted Talks video site with clips of talks and presentations ’by remarkable people’ from different industries.

In its own take on Pecha Kucha, This Happened is a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design, organised by Chris O’Shea, Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Müller. It aims to attract established practitioners, commercial companies and students.

The Victoria & Albert Museum champions classic as well as contemporary design and runs talks, courses and workshops alongside its rolling exhibition schedule.

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