Design Manchester announces full line-up

Creative festival Design Manchester returns on 12 October with talks, workshops and exhibitions taking place across the city

Image: Andrew Brooks

Design Manchester was founded by Fiona McGarva and John Owens in 2013. This year’s theme is Design City and organisers say the programme will “celebrate the part design plays in making Manchester and other cities across the world great to live in”.

A one-day conference takes place on Thursday 13 October and will be hosted by CR’s Patrick Burgoyne. Speakers include interaction designer Jason Bruges, graphic designer Alexandra Wood, Dutch design collective Trapped in Suburbia, Manchester community project The Pilcrow (featured in our September issue) and design studio FIELD.

Gardening workshop at The Pilcrow Pub
Gardening workshop at The Pilcrow Pub

A two-day workshop titled New Generation – Design for Living will focus on designing for urban communities and identifying opportunities for “inter-generational collaboration”. Organisations taking part include Arts for Health, Age Friendly Manchester, Manchester City Council, Co-op and the People’s History Museum.

Several exhibitions are also taking place across the city: Women in Print celebrates female creatives who have made a significant contribution to Manchester, while Rena Gardiner: Artist and Printmaker will feature Gardiner’s illustrated guidebooks alongside paintings, linocuts and sketches. Manchester School of Art is hosting Alan Kitching – A Life in Letterpress, a touring exhibition of work from throughout Kitching’s career which was first seen at Pick Me Up in London this year.

Alan Kitching - A Life in Letterpress at Pick Me Up London. Image: Kevin Meredith
Alan Kitching – A Life in Letterpress at Pick Me Up London, Somerset House. The exhibition will be on show at Manchester School of Art during Design Manchester. Image: Kevin Meredith

On Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October, London Road Fire Station will be home to over 100 creatives selling work and running letterpress, screen printing, bookbinding and frame-making workshops. Most workshops are free or require a small donation and live artworks will be created around the space during the event.

Other events include a CoderDojo workshop, a talk on neurodiversity and a panel debate on city identity. Panellists span design, digital innovation and politics – the line-up includes Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic, Mike Rawlinson of City ID and former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

Trapped in Suburbia's Auto Play - a series of sound posters that react to passing cars, cyclists and pedestrians
Trapped in Suburbia’s Auto Play – a series of sound posters that react to passing cars, cyclists and pedestrians. The studio will be speaking at a one-day conference during Design Manchester

A Design City Film Season will show ‘films with design at their heart’ – from Vertigo to Dr. Strangelove – with screenings introduced by an expert in that film’s design and cultural significance.

You can see the full schedule of events and book tickets at

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