Before Design-Nation (DN) merged with Design Factory (DF) in late 2017, one of the most significant differences between the two organisations was that Design-Nation had only one level of membership, whereas Design Factory had tiered levels, according to the longevity and/or development of business or practice.
The top tier of Design Factory membership was Fellow – the most accomplished and established DF members, who had shown commitment over a number of years to both their own practices and the development of the craft and design sector as a whole. Fellows were invited to sit on the membership selection panel and to contribute to development meetings, and acted as advocates and ambassadors for the organisation. Many of our Fellows expressed an interest in giving something back by supporting DF and emerging makers. Running parallel to this, many Design-Nation members were fulfilling the same function for DN but without the definition of a particular membership level.
When the two organisations merged, we were committed to retaining as many features of the DF programme and structure as possible, to ensure that Design-Nation continued to offer both a progression route for emerging designer makers and also celebrated our established and accomplished members.
With this in mind we have reintroduced Fellows – not as a separate level of membership but to define Fellows as our top flight designer-makers, recognising their achievements and driving aspiration for other members. Fellows will have the opportunity to sit on our membership selection panel, be mentors on our new Graduate Mentoring Scheme, and represent Design-Nation at events.
We have recently reviewed our membership and are delighted to announce that we have invited a significant number to become Fellows. These talented and committed makers are readily identifiable by the ‘Fellow’ logos on their DN website profiles. We offer them our congratulations and look forward to working closely with them.
Some of the lovely responses we’ve had from our Fellows:
I feel honoured to have been made a Fellow of Design Nation, but I do believe you need to put in as much as you take out. I see it as a responsibility which I am happy to accept. – Ann Povey, Design Factory and Design-Nation member since 2005.
Design-Nation manages to grow with its members as they grow in their practices. Becoming one of the first Fellows is a huge compliment, and also a way to put back into the organisation that has supported me from the start. New opportunities are coming along as a result of being a Fellow and it’s another example of Design-Nation’s future thinking. It’s really exciting. – Angie Parker, member since 2015.
Design Nation was both an inspiration when considering setting up in business as a designer, and then later, becoming part of this community of talented people was really motivating as an individual. As a more established business now, it’s still relevant to us and very much something we want to support and be a part of. – Dominic Bromley, Scabetti, member since 2001.
I am thrilled to be a Fellow of Design-Nation, who have been so supportive to me, including my work in exhibitions such as The Future of Craft during London Craft Week. It’s also good to be able to give something back and I am happy to have been able to take part in leading tours round New Designers. – Linda Bloomfield, member since 2014.
Being made a Design Nation fellow was a great recognition of my development of my work and brand since I joined Design Nation. As a designer-maker it’s really important to have good networks and exhibition opportunities that allow us to develop and support each other. – Jacky Puzey, member since 2017.