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Leading Craft & Design Organisations Merge – Design-Nation & Design Factory

Prestigious membership organisations Design-Nation and Design Factory are merging to create ONE leading portfolio and network. Going under the name Design-Nation, they will support the very best and most diverse UK-based contemporary craft and design. Bringing together partners, champions and investment, the new Design-Nation will strengthen business and creative development in the contemporary design and crafts sector across the UK.

The merger comes following a period of consultation this year, funded by Arts Council England.  Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from over 200 members, funders and stakeholders, with many partners expressing an interest in co-partnering on new future projects and opportunities.

Clare Edwards of Design-Nation says:

“I set up Design Factory in 2005 and take so much pride in the growth of Design Factory over the years.  From a small local support project to a highly regarded national network, Design Factory has become renowned for nurturing emerging talent and growing creative practice. 

Design-Nation and Design Factory are two highly regarded and successful brands however, we cannot sustain both and it is clear from our research that the name ‘Design-‘Nation’ truly represents the national and international context and has built a stronger brand over a longer period of time which has generated great goodwill. ”

A NEW unified organisation will offer innovative and fresh opportunities that builds on the complementary activities, goodwill and values across our programmes creating Britain’s leading resource for the celebration, support and promotion of craft and design.

By merging the best features of both organisations we can create a significant step change in how we deliver bespoke sector support, creating a strong ambitious and futureproofed infrastructure for craft and design across the UK.”

Now encompassing over 250 members, Design-Nation supports leading designer/makers such as Angus Ross, Gillies Jones, Gizella Warburton*, JC Middlebrook, Jennifer Collier*, Kate Bajic*, Linda Bloomfield, Lindsey Lang, Michael Ruh, Ruth Singer*, Stuart Akroyd*, Sue Pryke, and Wallace Sewell.  (*Design Factory members)

“With so many organisations in the Creative sector feeling the pressures of the current economic climate, I’m proud to be part of a team that is future proofing itself with this well thought through merger.  I feel that together we’ll have a stronger voice, and all the members will benefit from having unified support from this proven team.” – Angie Parker, textile designer and Design-Nation member.

“I’m really looking forward to how the new mix of members is going to boost my creativity; with new collaborations and a fresh look at exhibitions and events.  I’m excited that the merger will build on Design Factory’s excellent work so far and that it will continue to unite members from all over the UK, breaking down the North-South divide.”  Stuart Akroyd, glass artist and Design Factory Fellow member.

“The merging of Design Factory and Design Nation will strengthen and build networks for independent creative practitioners. The network can be fully national, creating opportunities for makers across the country to work together, to be seen and heard. Design Factory has established a great model for supporting makers throughout their creative journey and Design Nation has fantastic links to industry. I am so proud to be a member of both, and now one, network.”  Jayne Childs of JC Middlebrook, Design Factory Fellow and Design-Nation member.

Over the coming months the team will be busy securing funding to sustain the future of Design-Nation. They will also deliver Member professional development events in partnership with Fashion & Textile Museum, Cockpit Arts & Wentworth Pewter, amongst others.

The next Design-Nation showcase will be at Top Drawer London, 14-16 January 2018, at Olympia London.

For more information

Visit or @Design_NationUK

For more information on Design-Nation and its membership contact:
Clare Edwards – Director of Design-Nation
[email protected] – Tel +44 (0)1529 308719

For press enquiries

David Gorrod or Alice Stewardson at Seen PR
[email protected] – @seen_pr  – Tel +44 (0)1273 722 469

Notes to Editors

About Design-Nation
Design-Nation is an online portfolio that presents the best of UK-based contemporary craft and design and offers a one stop destination for retailers, manufacturers and press, together with industry professionals who want to commission, invest and source Great British design.

Design-Nation was founded in 1997 by the late Peta Levi MBE, a writer, design champion and curator.  The baton was passed to leading British designer Andrew Tanner in 2012 and in 2014 Design-Nation joined The National Centre for Craft & Design and Design Factory as part of an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation managed by North Kesteven District Council and Leisure in the Community Trust.  In January 2017, Design-Nation was awarded Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England, to deliver a range of membership offerings and undertake research to explore a new future for Design-Nation and Design Factory.  The research has informed the merger and a new future business plan.

About Design Factory 
Founded in 2005 Design Factory has become a leading network for the support and development of craft and design practice.  The organisation has received over £1.5 million funding over the years and supported over 500 craft and design businesses to develop and grow their practice both in the UK and abroad.

Design Factory has built a highly regarded reputation for delivering bespoke sector support which will continue to be delivered through the new merged organisation.

Images: Work by Ekta Kaul; Hannah Tounsend; Gillies Jones; Linda Bloomfield; Nigel Cheney. Photography and styling: Yeshen Venema & Mugdha Sapte, Work by Angus Ross; Melanie Porter; Anna Gravelle, Work by Gizella K Warburton, Sake Cups by ERADU Ceramics, Criminal Quilts by Ruth Singer

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