Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make a Plan!

In South Africa, to say 'Make a Plan' means, 'Let's do something now!'. And that is exactly what is happening here as the key design and government stakeholders work to shape the Design Agenda for South Africa. With the support of the Premier of Western Cape, Helen Zille and the Ministry of Arts and Culture Director General Vuyo Jack, (speaking on behalf of his Minister Nahti Mthethwa), - who topped and tailed what has been a truly remarkable two-day conference here in Cape Town - the opportunity for a unique response to the development of strategies and policies for design feels very strong.

We have been located in the beautiful new football stadium built for the 2010 World Cup at Green Point and very close to the city. Bringing the conference to life, we had a huge array of very high quality and inspiring speakers. In addition to speakers from South Africa itself, we heard stories and contributions from Ghana, Botswana and Kenya. Beyond the continent of Africa itself - which, by the way, we learned, can quite happily contain the countries of China and India side by side within its land mass leaving room for Germany, France and some other countries as well - speakers and panelists travelled from the US, Brazil, Columbia, India, Italy, Turkey, Canada and China.

The speakers' biogs and their views and opinions (click on 'read more' under each biopic) can be found here. All the speakers' presentations will be available on the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 website in due course.

The conference programme was put together by the amazing Programme Director Nicky Swartz who, with Lisa Costa de Rose and her team has done a truly world-class job. Through the support of the city and the WDC sponsors, we have had an opportunity as a global 'community of policy practice', to come together to talk powerfully, and with great insight to progress the opportunity that Cape Town, The Western Province and South Africa are facing as they work hard to embed design as a strategy for development of their society and economy to improve the quality of life for all.

It has truly been an inspiring experience to have the honour of Chairing the event. Some initial notes on the conference can be found here.

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