Birmingham is a UK city with plenty going for it – more canals than Venice, some amazing architecture and a young, multicultural population. But unless you lived there, it's not somewhere you might automatically associate with design.
However that's about to change with the launch of the Birmingham Design Festival. Taking place from 7-10 June at venues across the city, it's planned as a celebration of the local, national and international design industry. And it's lined up an incredible collection of speakers to inspire you, no matter which part of the wide world of design you're from, or whether you're a junior designer or an art director.
Around 80 speakers are expected to be sharing their wisdom and insights, and the festival has already announced some big names. Heading up the bill are graphic artist and printmaker Anthony Burrill, Pentagram partner Marina Willer, Hat-trick and Studio Sutherl& founder Jim Sutherland, award-winning creative director Jack Renwick and Draplin Design Co. founder Aaron Draplin. And a quick look through the rest of the speakers lined up should tell you that you're never going to be stuck for a session.
Strap in Birmingham.. We're very proud to announce Aaron @Draplin – one of our industries most bodacious designers & inspiring speakers – will be joining us at #BDF2018 💪💯🏴☠️⚓️🇺🇸🎉⚠️ Tell all yer friends! pic.twitter.com/M9fbqg5inl9 March 2018
It's not all design celebrities, though. The festival's organisers have taken care to involve local studios and individuals in a carefully curated programme based around the theme 'Forward'. And if you have a great idea for a talk or workshop, they'd like to hear from you; download the festival submissions pack and send in your proposal by 27 April.
The Birmingham Design Festival is taking a clever approach to organising its many workshops, talks, exhibitions, demonstrations and screenings so that you're a lot less likely to miss out on something relevant to your interests.
It's gathering everything into three distinct Design Districts – Graphic, Digital and Product – so no matter what your place in the design industry may be, you'll have no trouble seeking out inspiration over the festival's four days.
It's all adds up to a compelling design destination for the summer. "Our beloved city is currently undergoing an exciting period of evolution and development," says organiser Daniel Alcorn, "and over the last few years these changes have also been evident in the creative industries. Brum is starting to act and feel like the creative powerhouse it has always had the potential to become."