Sunday, September 18, 2011

London Design Festival at the V&A featuring Bespoke and Garry Cook's images

The London Design Festival takes place over nine days between September 17 to September 25.

As far as brilliant design goes, it’s a very important festival. There are 280 events and exhibitions in the programme. There were 350,000 visitors to the LDF in 2010.


One of its major venues is the V&A (that’s the Victoria and Albert Museum for you lesser-educated souls) which hosts 13 specially commissioned installations and includes some of 2011's most important landmark projects. 

Amongst all this is the Bespoke Project, a two-year ‘multi-partner collaboration between a community in Preston and journalism, social science and design researchers – will explore how a new method of 'Insight Journalism' can be used for social innovation and engagement’.

That quote was taken from the Bespoke website where you can also read the full press release. My own interpretation of Bespoke is that a few universities got together and tried to introduce technology as a way of engendering better communication and social cohesion on a rough estate in Preston, Lancashire.

The BESPOKE project was been funded by the Research Councils UK as part of the Digital Economy Programme and is a collaborative project between five UK research institutions with Paul Egglestone (University of Central Lancaster), David Frohlich (The Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey), Justin Marshall (Autonomatic, University College Falmouth), Patrick Olivier (Culture Lab, Newcastle University)  and Jon Rogers (University of Dundee). 


I got to know the area quite well over the past two years as I photographed a lot of the work Bespoke did. Some of these images are included in the display at the V&A

The Digital Buskers, Wayfinder and Viewpoint were three of the designs which were realised around Callon and Fishwick.

These designs are at the V&A during the London Design Festival, including a special talk by the designers on Tuesday September 20 at around 4.15pm work at the Hockhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre. 

Two of the Universities involved have their say:

Justin Marshall, Associate Professor of Digital Craft at University College Falmouth, said: “For me this project has opened up an exciting new space.

“A space where the digital capabilities for creating individualised products and services have been re-orientated away from the burgeoning market for unique personalised goods, towards crafting responses to wider, and I would argue, more important community focused issues.”


Jon Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the University of Dundee, said: "All of these design prototypes act as demonstrators for how a future could look if we engaged with our communities better.

“It is the first test and the first showcase of how Insight Journalism, a radically new method of community engagement, has been researched, implemented and tested. 

“While we present a method that has led to a collection of community design responses, we think this has potential for any responsive way of working with people.”

I have to confess I did not take this photograph of the digital buskers - though I did take the image from which the digital buskers cut-out was made. If you follow me.


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