Picks of the month: design events to catch in May

Picks of the month: design events to catch in May
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Picks of the month: design events to catch in May

Both London Craft Week and Clerkenwell Design Week kick off this month, while a design podcast returns with a space focus.

Festival: London Craft Week

London Craft Week returns to the capital for its eight edition this month, from 9-15 May. The ambitious programme has over 300 events and almost 800 makers and designers from the international community. Visitors will have the chance to shop at a number of pop-up stores, check out exhibitions and also immerse themselves in craft-related workshops. There’s also a dedicated programme dedicated to the V&A’s Fashioning Masculinities, while a raft of designers will be exploring how traditional craft skills can help lower the environmental impact of their respective industries. This year also marks the fair’s first suite of country pavilions, where the festival will showcase work from foreign countries. This year, Malaysia and Norway are the stars of the show.

You can find more details of the programme as well as information about ticket prices on the festival’s website.

Festival: Clerkenwell Design Week

A render of Clerkenwell Design Week’s talk space

Clerkenwell Design Week also makes its return this year, gathering design-led events, pop-ups, workshops and talks for an 11th time. A number of brands are descending onto the creative district, making the most of the warmer weather. Danish design company Hay is decking out part of the Crypt on the Green with outdoor furniture, while tap company Billi Taps is installing water taps throughout the district. The biggest draw may be the variety of talks though. Swedish designer Jonas Pettersson will be talking about sustainability movements and the future of post-pandemic design, while Adam Nathaniel Furman will be discussing the concept of “queer spaces”. Design consultancy Trifle will delve into the topic of workplace design, while the British Institute of Interior Design is planning to put a spotlight on female talent within the industry. Clerkenwell Design Week takes place 24-26 May.

For visitor registration and more information on timing, you can visit the festival’s website here.

Podcast: Design Atlas

Designers Jens Bringsjord and Megan Luedke return this month with their podcast Design Atlas and a host of new guests. Over the third season’s eleven episodes, the designers will be exploring the intersection of design and science with a view to space exploration – “what lies beyond our Earth”, says Bringsjord. The guest list is impressive. From NASA astronaut Nicole Stott (who was the first person to paint with watercolours in space) to creative director John LePore (who has worked on films like Black Panther). Also joining in the extra-terrestrial discussion is Google UX designer Rachael Feinman and Dan Goods who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. You can listen to Design Atlas on Spotify. New episodes arrive weekly from 5 May.

Talk: Designing for your Future Self: The Future of Inclusive Technology

It’s estimated that around 25% of the UK’s population will be over the age of 65 by 2050. And unlike previous generations, this ageing group has grown up with advanced technology. As the organisers of this panel discussion explain, they’re “shifting the current ageist perception that older people are more like to resist new technology”. How can designers meet the need for more inclusive products and services with an ageing population? Speakers including George Lee (community lead at the Design Age Institute) and designer Colum Lowe will be discussing the relevant issues, from big data to personal robots. The event takes place at London’s Design Museum on 24 May from 6:30pm-8:30pm. More information is available on the museum’s website.

Book: Black Experience in Design

What does it mean to be Black and working in design? This timely title – edited by academic Anne Berry, designer Jennifer Rittner and more – spotlights design practice, research and industry stories from a Black perspective. “The work and experiences of Black designers have been systematically overlooked in the profession for decades,” say the book’s editors. In the wake of Black Lives Matter, there’s now an opportunity to “make long-term, systemic changes in design education, research, and practice, reclaiming the contributions of Black designers in the process”. Essays include Practicing Design While Black (a conversation between Darhill Crooks, Ian Spalter and Dantley Davis) and My Journey to Design by Sabine Maxine Lopez. The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Identity is published by Allworth. It is available to buy in the UK from Amazon for £12.51 from 12 May.

The banner image is Patrick Norguet’s Ace Collection for Ethimo, which will be presented at Clerkenwell Design Week. 


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