The East City Design Symposium didn’t only mark the end of my first month on the job as World Design Capital coordinator for the Cape Town Partnership. It also underscored for me the amazing privilege it is to work in this terrain where engagement with the city’s leading design thinkers is all in a day’s work.
It was a bit daunting to be sharing the platform at the public session with Design London’s Nick Leon. But par for the course in a position where, in the first week, I had to present on Cape Town’s bid to the Chec (Council for Higher Education Consortia) board. This board was incredibly supportive and have provided a resource to assist in gathering the information on design programmes, qualifications and research offered by education institutions – just one of the many pieces of research required for our bid. Chec’s support has typified the response from individuals and organisations I’ve approached about the bid – all of whom have offered support and input.
I’ve also been meeting the members of the Bid Committee individually and have so far had sessions with Lianne Burton of Cape Town Tourism, Mokena Makeka of Makeka Design Lab and Rashid Toefy of the CTICC – each one of whom have also put resources at our disposal.
Working closely with Zayd Minty of Creative Cape Town has meant participation in a number of engagements including the monthly Bird Cafe Breakfasts featured elsewhere in this newsletter. The May one has led to an idea for a competition around the IRT stations which will invite teams of designers to submit design ideas for the nodes in which these stations are located. This is one of the many ideas we’re considering to engage participation in the bid – which I will share with you over the coming months.
One of these is for a blog on our website www.capetown2014.co.za which will feature the projects of local designers and grapple with the questions: What is design? Is Cape Town a design city? If you have any projects you’d like to submit for consideration or would like to respond to these questions, please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other plans for the moment include Tuesday brunch presentations at our offices in Bree Street to groups from local and provincial government, design lecturers, magazine editors, students and so on, presentations to the City of Cape Town and participation in a Pecha Kucha session at CPUT in July. We’re also planning a formal launch for our bid and a design exhibition.