Belfast Design Week generates a lot of new ideas and thoughts for participants, but also for us organisers. We are just as excited as anyone else to hear from our speakers, to see how projects have developed year on year and to see Belfast being celebrated as a city of design. I took some mental and physical notes throughout the week and here are some of my highlights.
DESIGN AS A TOOL FOR PROTEST
Marina Esmeraldo's work at Design Camp was a great showcase into how design could be used to create social and political change. To make a statement and to communicate a message. Using design as a tool for protest is becoming particularly relevant now with social media being the medium through which people are expressing their voices - for example the #metoo
BIG THINGS HAPPENING FOR A SMALL CITY
There's nothing like a design talk to be reminded of how many amazing companies have been founded and grown here in Belfast and how some of them are actually working on great international projects, take for example, Big Motive working with Net-A-Porter.
As we rushed through Design Week, I felt myself not "slow living" at all. However I noticed that so many of the events and speakers had this year started looking at slow living and practising a mindful life outside of design. This also extended to beyond the self, to acknowledgement of others - whether it was the women design entrepreneurs at Womenfolk, the young designers at Designers of the Future or the refugees and asylum seekers at Design Thinking. In a small city, we should be collaborators rather than competitors. Our competition lies outside Belfast in the wider world.
A FRESH APPROACH TO DESIGN
I just loved the approach HAWRAF had to being inventive - to thinking outside the box with the use of workshops or side projects to come up with new ideas. Even their name generates conversations - how on earth do you pronounce it? (Apparently HAW like RAW and RAF like RAFT without the T).
A big, genuine THANK YOU to everyone that got involved in a big or small way. A huge thanks to everyone who volunteered your efforts - 'cos let's face it, you didn't have to but you did. Cheers!
Oh, and I have started a monthly zine. This month's one has been sent out, but you can sign up to catch the next one full of Xmas treatz: