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The Future is now

22nd October 2015

Craftsmanship was at the heart of an exciting panel debate into the past, present and future of design, presented by Northumbria University and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

‘Designing the Future’ is a unique series of events exploring different perspectives on the way design influences our daily lives and how it will impact our future ways of living. The first in the series, ‘How significant is craft in contemporary design?’ was recently held at The Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead. It was led by Northumbria’s Professor of Design Craftsmanship, Bruce Montgomery, alongside a panel of industry experts including Annie Warburton, Creative Director at Crafts Council UK, Drummond Masterton, Craft Designer & Head of Sustainable Product Design at Falmouth University, Wessie Ling, Reader in Fashion at Northumbria University and Oliver Ruuger from Studio Ruuger Designer & Craftmans. The debate explored and debated the impact of contemporary craft from a range of perspectives using a series of objects and artefacts from the collections held by Tyne & Wear Archives & Musuems.

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Northumbria University’s Associate Dean (Business and Engagement) for Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Dr Heather Robson, said: “Bruce’s fascinating panel debate into craftsmanship was the perfect way to kick off our series of talks exploring The Future of Design.

“Delivered in collaboration with Tyne & Wear Archives& Museums, one of our key strategic partners in the North East, this series of events will tackle the big questions facing the design industry today.

“Led by experts from Northumbria’s world-class School of Design and featuring panels made up of high-profile industry names, these special talks will look back at the past, using objects and artefacts from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, to better imagine the possible future of this exciting field.

“I’m very much looking forward to the remaining three events in this series as we build towards celebrating 40 years of Design for Industry at Northumbria next year.”

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Professor Montgomery said: “We have received some very positive feedback via The Shipley Art Gallery from the attendees on the evening who felt the debate had been very engaging and a great insight into contemporary craft.

Lindy Gilliland, Collections, Research and Curatorial Manager at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said: “The first of the Designing the Future series was well received by all the attendees who thoroughly enjoyed the debate and knowledge sharing the event allowed.“The event highlighted the tacit and tactile knowledge that can be gained through contemporary craft which is obviously having positive impact across the creative industries. The panel all highlighted the need to invest in craft within education as contemporary craft continues to have a major impact on the creative industries.”

“I’m looking forward to the next three events and to see how the attendees engage with the panel and debate.”

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The next talk in the series, held at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum, will feature Northumbria’s Mark Bailey, Director of Innovation Design at Northumbria University, and a high-profile panel debating the question ‘What on earth is responsible innovation anyway?’ It will explore the challenge that organisations face with continued pressures to innovate, concerns about peak oil, population growth, energy costs and water shortage are balanced against consumer demand. To book tickets for this event and for upcoming talks in the Designing the Future series, please click here. Tickets are free but booking is essential.

Art and Design at Northumbria was recently ranked in the UK Top 20 for research power. For more information about studying Design at Northumbria University sign up for one of our Open Days on 24 October and 28 November for undergraduates and 11 November for Masters course. Go to: to find out more.

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