With Channel 4 announcing its new headquarters in Leeds, the North is becoming the place to be for design and motion. Manchester has a bursting design and animation scene (not just because we’re here) and there have been numerous talks and conferences of late, showcasing what us northerners have to offer.
Didn’t attend any? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a round-up of what we learnt at four of the most recent design and motion events in Manchester.
Part of Design Manchester this year was Pechakucha. Tucked away in Fairfield social club, this event involves speakers talking through 20 slides that last 20 seconds each. The theme of the night was disruption and the speakers ranged from teachers to sculptors. Our favourite was Lazerian’s whirlwind tour of his amazing design career – including a few cardboard setbacks – his story told us to not take ourselves too seriously.
Moreover, we loved Vicky Carr and Jane Crowther’s project Open Spaces. With some of the Flow members hailing from sunny Stockport it was great to see how design can rejuvenate areas in Manchester, a theme carried on through Liam Dargan’s Heart of Darwen campaign. We look forward to seeing what happens with these projects in the future.
At the Bridgewater hall we settled down for a day of creative talks. From Anthony Burril to Wolf Ollins, the day was packed with creative inspiration. Kate Dawkins showcased an awe-inspiring portfolio, specialising in projection mapping and large-scale event design. We can all take on board her attitude to briefs, not letting a lack of experience restrict the ideas she has. Her projection mapping of Cloth Hall on the Passchendaele Centenary, marking the third battle of Ypres in World War One showcased a sensitivity to difficult subject matter whilst making a captivating spectacle. Kate if you’re reading and need some help, give us a call!
Craft is held at Leaf on Portland Street. The speakers were Jeanna from Nrth Lass, Tash Wilcocks and the legendary Mr Bingo. Tash’s talk was about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, practice what she preached by singing at the end of the talk. The psychology behind her beautiful illustrations made us want to go out and buy Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray. His book explains how to change your thinking patterns to encourage different behaviour and avoid the dreaded ‘doom loop’, a cycle which perpetuates the belief that you can’t do something, because of irrational thought processes. Tash was a surprisingly good singer and inspired us to do something that scares us
The headline act was Mr Bingo who is best known for his offensive postcards. Beginning as a commercial illustrator, he told us how he transitioned into being a lone artist. His most recent project was his annual advent calendar which featured scratchable gold foil, prompting the user to scratch off clothes to reveal illustrated naked people. His anti-capitalist attitude grows his audience, bumping the price of his prints on black Friday and offering to insult you for money. Underneath the silliness his calendar features a range of body types, from a woman who recently had a mastectomy to disabled people. The calendar ties together humour and diversity in a way that we think represents the holiday spirit.
It’s been a great year for the Manchester design scene and it looks like it will only get better. We look forward to Glug and Ladies Wine and Design next week, before kicking off our own Plan Bee Christmas house party at the new Flow HQ!