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The African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora

22.07.2010 09:51 by British European Design Group

Press Release

Arts Council England

THE BRITISH EUROPEAN DESIGN GROUP HAS BEEN AWARDED AN ARTS COUNCIL GRANT FOR THEIR NEW THREE YEAR INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE THE CREATIVE SKILLS AND COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL OF ETHNIC MINORITIES FROM AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN BACKGROUNDS IN THE UK TO RUN ALONGSIDE THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL UNTIL THE 2012 OLYMPICS.

London is one of the greatest multi-cultural cities in the world. It is also one of the most creative, with worldwide inspiration and interpretation feeding into the city’s design community. The power of diversity to stimulate creativity is well established. Despite this potential, the UK design industry has remained surprisingly mono-cultural, with many different parts of London’s broader community unable to gain employment, access support and showcase talent. This is especially true for London’s black ethnic community.

A point of celebration is required to demonstrate the quality of creative thinking derived from the small but significant African and African-Caribbean design communities in London and the UK. The intention of the BEDG initiative is to provide a positive insight into their design skills, to engage and inspire others and to provide a promotional platform for black designers working in London, the UK in general, Africa and the Caribbean. The British European Design Group will work in close partnership with the London Design Festival organising a series of events as part of the Festival to celebrate African and African-Caribbean creative talent.

The first series of smaller events of the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival (AACDD) will be staged in September 2010 with a view to establishing them as a permanent part of future festival programmes. It is hoped that this will build up momentum for the broadest possible range of black creative talent to engage with and benefit from the Festival.

The programme is intended to grow from relatively small static exhibitions in 2010 to larger multi-event activities during the 2011 London Design Festival culminating in a comprehensive event programme spanning part of the Olympics and the London Design Festival in 2012.

A range of supporting events will be organised and complimentary resources such as a website and print materials will publicise the aims of the programme to a wider audience, exploit the impact of the exhibitions and provide ongoing stimuli for stakeholders such as funding bodies, potential sponsors, designers and others.

It is intended to hold at least two African and African-Caribbean Design Seminars (organised in association with various official bodies and institutions) and an annual African and African-Caribbean Design Competition. Further public activities will hopefully include a series of sponsored retail promotions and school and community activities throughout the three-year programme.

A very important aspect of the initiative will be to build bridges between black British born and UK based designers and those residing in Africa and the Caribbean in the hope that both sides will benefit greatly from such an exchange of cultural identities, their origins and their changes.

Black British creativity can offer a virtually untapped vein of talent that can be mobilised to enrich the UK design community, both aesthetically and commercially.

These objectives fall closely in line with the recommendations of the DCMS Creative Britain Report of 2008. Alongside this, the Mayor of London’s Commission on African and Asian Cultural Heritage stated ‘improvements in infrastructure and support are necessary to realise the creative potential of London’s cultural diversity.’ MCAAH, September 2008

* The definition ‘African and African-Caribbean’ follows closely UK Census Data categories and includes a) UK residents of African origin b) UK residents of Caribbean origin c) UK residents ‘other Black’ origin d) UK residents of African-Caribbean / English heritage mixed origin

For Editors:
Please quote BEDG as source

For further information please contact:
Karin-Beate Phillips
info@bedg.org
T: +44 (0) 20 8940 7857
F: +44 (0) 20 8948 2673

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