The Design Question

As a voice for the design industry, the Northern Ireland Design Alliance wants to tackle issues which are important to design businesses.

As part of Design Week, we are hosting ‘The Design Question’, an interactive evening with a panel (Peter Strain, Stephen McGowan and Stephen McGilloway) posing questions to get designers thinking, scribbling and talking.  The evening will be loosely based on the ‘World Cafe’ model to get your thoughts, ideas and feedback on 3 questions:

1. How the hell do I get a job in the design business?”Peter Strain, recent graduate.

2. “‘Design Effectiveness’: Fluff or Fundamental?”Stephen McGowan, Head of Creative Industries in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

3. “How can design affect our risk-averse, conservative culture in NI?” Stephen McGilloway, Product Design Manager at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre.

Please come along, have a drink with us, add to the debate and help shape the work of the NI Design Alliance.

To reserve a place email: [email protected]

Doors open at 5.30pm and the panel will kick off our discussion at 6pm,  finishing at 9pm.

Light refreshments will be served on arrival and a bar will be available.

Event Write-up

This was an evening which delivered what it promised – energetic discussion, insights for developing the industry and an opportunity to engage with other designers.

Lots of ideas were put forward on the night, here is a snapshot of some of the most interesting:

Career: It was suggested that the NI Design Alliance should work with the design industry to develop some guidelines for employers taking on student placements.  Could there be, for example,  more flexibility with placements (perhaps not a full year), or a sliding scale of payment (0-3months, 3-6 months, etc) as the student develops their skills?

Fluff or fundamental: Need to recognise (and articulate) that design is a process which involves the skills of many people, not just graphic designers.  For example, skills in strategy, writing, business, psychology and project management.  It is about problem solving  – companies bring in management consultants to solve problems, why not designers?

Risk averse culture: How are we cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit in NI?  Education is key –  we need to broaden a young person’s understanding of design and demonstrate how design thinking can encourage an entrepreneurial mindset.  What about running a school project where we give every child £5 and challenge them to make more with their own business idea!

Here are just a few comments from those who attended:

“Very enjoyable, got to network and it was good to discuss issues within the design industry”

“I think the question-discussion format is brilliant, would like to see it again”

“Very stimulating”

“Made me aware of current issues in the industry which I wouldn’t have been as a recent graduate”

“Interesting mix of backgrounds at my table – got a good insight into the various positions within the industry, e.g. student/education/employers/designer”

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