This is the second year that we’ve been a proud partner of the Festival of Place, and sole sponsor of The Pineapple Awards, the celebration of the best of placemaking, shaping and … shaking up. It’s a refreshing twist on conventional property conferences which is why we love it, and this year was no different. Faced with the challenge, no opportunity, of hosting the whole thing online, the conference’s organiser, editor in Chief of The Developer, Christine Murray, rose to it. …

Written by Cat Drew — our Joint Interim Chief Executive.

Although it’s not quite the end, one of my highlights of 2020 is a colleague saying that our awayday was the best they had ever been to — despite it being a whole day (almost) through a screen. That, in the large part, was due to having four amazing speakers who inspired us about the value of design, and who would have found it much more difficult to get down to a central London location for 30 minutes or so.

So, one of the upsides of working virtually is to…

Written by Cat Drew & Laura Williams, with Jon Flint, Dr Makayla Lewis & Phillippa Rose

2020 will be remembered for one major thing, but one of the side effects of the pandemic was supercharging our reliance on digital, and the data and machines that drive it. And continuing a long-standing narrative around data & AI, we have seen huge successes during the year: the Taiwanese test and trace systems (that worked), data visualisations which evidenced the impact of traffic reduction on air pollution, a huge uptake in home delivery with prioritisation given to key workers and those most vulnerable…

We believe that design needs to reflect the diversity of the world it shapes. Our national, published research shows that many people working in the design economy do not sufficiently represent the people they are designing for. This means that — at best — the design of particular places, policies, processes and products often overlook many people’s needs and aspirations, and — at worst — reflect and reinforce the privilege of those who design them, excluding others from shaping their worlds in the same way.

This must change. And it must change now. As a leading voice in design, we…

Written by Cat Drew in collaboration with Hiten Kamari and Subuola Ojuola

A month ago we hosted Re:Design Business, a week-long series of talks and workshops around reimagining business in the face of uncertainty. The event was organised by Propela, supported by Innovate UK & Design District, and formed part of London Design Festival. Over five days, around 500 people from 61 countries attended 30 talks/workshops/masterclasses with 45 speakers. For us at Design Council, this was a really exciting opportunity to consider how businesses can be part of creating a hopeful future, supporting a healthy and thriving world. …

“Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better” Bruce Lee.

As an organisation, we’ve decided to start a weekly journal to share our reflections from the Coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s what we learnt this week.

Victoria Lee, Lead Programme Manager on localism

There’s said to be a silver lining to every cloud, and maybe some lessons. In light of #Covid19, I’ve observed:

An enhanced sense of localism — Small shops and pop-ups providing essential goods no longer available in large stores and supermarkets. …

Over 135 people from around the UK will gather in London on the 27th February to celebrate the completion of Transform Ageing, a three year, National Lottery Community funded initiative designed to reimagine how we involve and bring together, people in later life, community organisations, social entrepreneurs and public sector leaders to innovate and create inclusive products and services for us all as we age.

At Design Council, we do a lot of work around an ageing society. As well as Transform Ageing, our built environment experts and design associates make up a professional network of over 450 specialists promoting…

Good design touches our lives every day. From the cars we drive to the beds we sleep in, the equipment and products that we use have been designed to make our lives easier. But often design decisions fail to consider those with physical limitations — and people with issues with physical mobility, such as arthritis, often bear the brunt of these decisions.

Christine is one of these people. “I wouldn’t consider myself physically disabled,” she told us, “but arthritis impacts on almost everything I do. I haven’t had a bath in two years as I can’t get in and out…

Belfast Design Week is an annual design festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland founded by Christine James, Karishma Kusurkar and Catherine McGinnis. We set up Design Week in 2015 and have always intended for it to showcase the breadth of the design sector and to celebrate design and all of its outputs. Our method of discerning what falls into the category of design rather than art has been looking at the process by which a project has been created or by which a person has worked and most importantly, the intent of the work. …

The challenges that we face today — the climate crisis, ageing populations, in-work poverty, polarisation of society — are not ones that anyone can tackle alone, and not ones that all the current answers aligned together would solve. Systems change is an approach that looks beyond individual ideas, to create new conditions for radical new ways of thinking to emerge, and connecting together often disparate groups who have a common cause.

What role does design play in systems change and transition work?

As design has evolved over the last 30 years, growing out from product design through service design to…

Design Council

We champion great design. For us that means design which improves lives and makes things better. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/

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