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Design and the Creative Industries Conference: Working Together with Universities

University of Brighton (Sallis Benney Theatre)
26 March 2010 00:00

The University of Brighton is pleased to announce a one-day working conference for the Design and Creative Industries to develop advice for government and business on effective ways to achieve Industry-University collaboration and partnerships. The day will offer the opportunities for industry professionals, academics, students and policy makers to meet and discuss how best to develop practical ways to build sustainable partnerships and collaborations for mutual economic, social and cultural benefit.

The presentations, contributions and discussions will lead to a concise report that will be developed and published to advise the future government on the opportunities and current barriers for partnership and how these might be overcome.

In such unusual and politically volatile economic times, the design and creative industries are in a position to stimulate innovation and growth and bring fresh ideas to the UK’s culture and economy.  The initial stimulus for this conference emerged from the identification of a number of ‘tricky issues’ outlined in two reports commissioned by DIUS and HEFCE respectively entitled ‘Delivering the Innovation Dream’ by Maxine Horn, CEO of the British Design Innovation (BDI) (March 2009); and Advancing by Design (June 2009) a research project led by professor Clive Richards for the West Midlands Higher Education Association.

These two reports share three recommendations:

  • The establishment of an industry/business regional design forum
  • The development of a university design network that inter alia can work with the business/industry design forum
  • Development of a concordat between Universities and the private sector design providers that sets out respective spheres of activity, mutually beneficial linkages between them and good practice guidelines.

Whether these are indeed the most appropriate and effective means to advance our creative economy remains to be seen but what is clear is that despite significant government support (Cox 2005) there is a growing knowledge gap particularly about how design innovation is delivered and how design in particular is defined and understood.  This has created tensions between two sectors where positive collaborative partnerships are an imperative. Our conference will explore these propositions and offer ideas about how we advance our creative economy in changing times.

Particular tensions have arisen where the design industries have argued that government schemes are fuelling unfair competition by allocating public sector funding to Universities through Research Council schemes and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). They suggest that Universities are claiming supply-side knowledge that might arguably be better located and supported by industry through knowledge transfer partnerships in a more virtuous ‘division of labour’ between universities, strategic design, small and medium size enterprises and other design suppliers.

This conference is organised and supported by the following:
The University of Brighton;
Santander Bank;
British Design Innovation;
Chartered Society of Designers;
South Coast Design Forum;

Proposed Programme

9.00 – 9.30       Coffee and registration
Morning: Policies and How to Improve Them
09.30 – 09.45    Welcome and introduction to the day  (Professor Bruce Brown/Anne Boddington, Dean of Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton)
09.45 – 10.05   Maxine Horn “Delivering the Innovation Dream”
10.05 – 10.25   Professor Clive Richards (tbc), “Advancing by Design”
10.25 – 10.55   Sir George Cox
10.55 – 11.15   Professor Mike Hobday “Lessons from Innovation Policy Models”
11.15  - 11.30  Questions from the floor to the speakers
11.30 – 1.15     Facilitated Group Discussions1.15 – 2.15     Lunch

Afternoon: Design and Creative Industries and University Collaboration: Opportunities, Barriers and Solutions
2.15 – 2.30      Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Warden, Goldsmiths College

2.35 – 4.30     Workshops
4.45 – 5.45     Plenary and ways forward

5.45                Drinks reception and canapés
6.45                An inspirational ending


The cost for attending the conference, including all sessions,refreshments, lunch and an evening drinks reception, is £150.  A concessionary fee of £45 is available.

Contact Name:
DCI Conference Administrator
Contact Email:

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