“Statistical research shows that minority ethnic groups are significantly under-represented in the overall arts and design scene in the UK. 2010 Design Council research reveals just 7% of designers are from a minority ethnic background The AACDD Initiative will present the majority of designers showcased with their first opportunity to exhibit on an international stage and to network with the broader design community.”
Source: BEDG Proposal for Arts Council of England, March 2010
The African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora
What we want to do
London is one of the greatest multi-cultural and creative cities in the world, with international inspiration feeding into the city’s design community. Yet although the power of diversity to stimulate creativity is well established and despite this incredibly rich resource, the UK design industry remains stubbornly mono-cultural, with many different parts of London’s broader community unable to gain employment, access support and showcase talent. This is especially true for London’s black ethnic community.
The established British design scene, moreover, requires new blood to maintain and expand its global position. Black British design offers a new source of talent that can be mobilised to enrich the UK design scene - both aesthetically and commercially.
These objectives fall closely in line with the recommendations of the DCMS Creative Britain Report of 2008 and the Mayor of London’s Commission on African and Asian Cultural Heritage, which states ‘improvements in infrastructure and support are necessary to realise the creative potential of London’s cultural diversity.’ MCAAH, September 2008
A Point of Celebration for Black Creative Talent
A point of celebration is required to demonstrate the quality of creative thinking derived from London’s and the UK’s small but significant African and African-Caribbean* design community. This should provide a positive insight into design skills, engage and inspire others and create a promotional platform for designers working in London, the UK, Africa and the Caribbean.
Background AACDD Initiative
In the spring of 2010 the British European Design Group (BEDG) proposed to organise a series of events in partnership with the London Design Festival (LDF) - to celebrate African and Afro-Caribbean creative talent.
2010 and 2011 Programmes of Events
The first of the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD) www.aacdd.org series of events were staged in September and October 2010 engaging the broadest possible range of creative talent to benefit from the Festival. The Programme has since rapidly grown into a much larger multi- disciplinary event schedule with national and International activity for 2011. It will culminate in a comprehensive event programme spanning part of the London Olympics and the London Design Festival in August/September 2012.
The past and present series of exhibitions are, however, only one aspect of the AACDD Programme, which also features other supporting events, such as workshops, seminars, lectures, conferences and various AACDD Award Schemes.
AACDD Information and Communication Resources and Social Networking
Social networking through the complimentary resources of the AACDD website and regular newsletters supports the aims of the Programme, exploits the impact of the exhibitions and provides ongoing stimuli for stakeholders such as funding bodies, potential sponsors, designers and others.
AACDD Aims and Objectives
- Promote a greater awareness amongst the British public of the creative talent of the African and African-Caribbean diaspora in the UK
- Enrich and expand the overall British design and art scene through increased involvement of the African and African-Caribbean creative talent
- Make educational institutions in the UK more aware of the promising potential of African and African-Caribbean creative talent and the need to foster and engage it
- Use the platform of the 2012 Olympics to promote African and African-Caribbean creative talent alongside its undisputed sporting talent
- Build bridges between Black British designers and those residing in Africa and the Caribbean to allow both sides to benefit from such a cultural and creative exchange
In terms of the target audience, 46% of the UK’s black and ethnic minority population (BAME) live in the London area. Of these 380,000 are of African origin, 344,000 of African-Caribbean origin and 60,000 defined as “other black”. There are a further 110,000 people of African-Caribbean/English mixed heritage recorded as based in London. This provides a large potential audience base and talent pool, from which to select event participants and visitors. Involving as many of this group as possible in the London Design Festival experience will be one of the main AACDD objectives.
A secondary source of creative talent and a potential audience is the broader African and African-Caribbean diaspora in other EU countries The 2-3 million residents of African and African-Caribbean descent residing in France and the 0.5 million African and African-Caribbean residents in Netherlands are within easy reach of London.
AACDD is about promoting black British design and creative talent. BEDG will provide the organisational resources to promote a variety of creative individuals, studios and SMEs to ensure maximum impact through the design, management and promotion of the events.
Links with other relevant organisations will be made working with hundreds of small groups across London, Europe and the world. The stakeholder groups, particularly black British design talent, will be engaged directly to assist in the selection of exhibitors, the design and presentation of the exhibitions, workshops, lectures and conferences, marketing and communications.
By 2012 we expect to have forged close partnerships with local communities, educational institutions and other organisations working in similar sectors in selected neighbourhoods where large black populations exist.