Design-Nation secures funding from Arts Council England

Leading British design and craft portfolio Design-Nation has been awarded a major Lottery grant by Arts Council England. This award of £300,000 is the largest ever given to the organisation and with other match-funding, it will enable significant transformation and development of the brand and its UK-wide operation.

Design-Nation is the leading membership portfolio for contemporary designer-makers based in the UK who create craft, design and product. The portfolio comprises a rich and diverse pool of highly skilled designer-makers whose collective works demonstrate authentic, exceptional craftsmanship and design ability.

The award is made under the Arts Council’s national activities programme and enables Design-Nation to deliver a new expanded programme of talent development initiatives and partnership projects to support its growing membership of highly skilled and talented designers and makers across the UK. The new programme is built on in-depth research, carried out in 2017/18 with support from Arts Council into the regional issues affecting the contemporary design and craft sector and specifically responds to Design-Nation member needs. This R&D period resulted in a new business plan which drives an overarching ambition to achieve real impact and shape the future development and innovation of this important growing sector as part of the wider creative economy.

Over the next 2.5 years Design-Nation will work with over 30 partners from across the UK to bring new projects, opportunities and benefits to designers/makers, both in and outside the membership portfolio.

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “We’re committed to supporting the development of creative talent across the country and we’re delighted to be investing £300,000 of National Lottery funds to NKDC as they partner with Design-Nation. Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, and our new strategy Let’s Create, sets out a vision where the creative talent of every person in every village, town and city, can flourish. We look forward to seeing Design-Nation’s innovative designers and craftspeople bring their valuable skills and knowledge together to strengthen and develop new networks and opportunities for creativity across England.”

Councillor Lindsey Cawrey, North Kesteven District Council Executive Board Member with special interest in the arts says, “The design economy generates over £85m annually for the UK economy and employs around 1.7m people, making it the seventh largest employment sector in the country. However, not everyone has the opportunity to communicate their ideas, express their talent or access the right support. This is why the Arts Council grant of National Lottery funding to NKDC to develop, champion and promote good design through Design-Nation is so important, as Design-NatIon will be able to continue opening up those opportunities for more people.

Clare Edwards, Design-Nation’s director, says, “Our team has worked hard to develop this bid with amazing support from our members, ambassadors, steering group, partners and funders, for which we are very grateful. We look forward to enriching our programme and regional partnerships and driving forward a new era of support which develops excellence and innovation in contemporary craft, design and product across the UK.”

Design-Nation showcases will have a showcase at the British Craft Trade Fair from April 4-7 April 2020

Design-Nation was founded in 1999 by the late Peta Levi MBE, a stalwart supporter of British design. In 2014, the organisation found a permanent home at The National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. In 2017, Design-Nation merged with Design Factory, another respected membership organisation, to create a single leading UK-based design and craft portfolio and network.

Images from top to bottom: Ann Povey, Cisca Jane, Angela Ibbs, Atlantic Design Studio, Gillies Jones.