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EXPO to showcase design-led Midlands manufacturing
15 June 2012 — 22 June 2012
Birmingham City University
Business Secretary Vince Cable has praised Birmingham City University and its business partners – including leading brands Jaguar Land Rover and AGA Rangemaster – for launching a unique expo to showcase how successful design-led manufacture is driving UK exports and economic growth.
The Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO will foster greater levels of collaboration between higher education with the design and manufacturing communities which have formed the backbone of the Birmingham and Midlands economy.
Speaking about the Design EXPO, the first to be held in Birmingham in over 100 years which is taking place from 15th – 22nd June at the Mailbox, Birmingham, Dr Cable said: “We welcome the inaugural Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO and Awards especially given its aims to highlight the importance of design-led manufacturing in Birmingham and the Midlands and the role this region has played through design in improving the quality of life for people around the world.”
Featuring over 100 exhibitors from business and education and incorporating a ‘Design Fringe’ programme with over 20 art and design seminars, events and activities by design leaders, the EXPO provides an ambitious line up from which to stimulate fresh thinking.
Free for all and open to everyone, as well as promoting the region’s Best Brands through the newly launched Birmingham Made Me Design Awards, with winners being selected by the public through an online vote, the Design EXPO provides an opportunity to view the many prestigious, authentic brands being produced in the Midlands.
This unique blend of design heritage and productive innovation will bring together Jaguar’s ground breaking hybrid super car concept, the C-X75, being shown for the first time in the UK at the Mailbox, Birmingham, Acme Whistles first police whistle and the Dunlop TT demonstration team on show under the Flyover in front of the Mailbox.
Juxtaposed with such manufacturing innovations will be the work of emerging design entrepreneurs on sale in the new Birmingham Made Me Entrepreneur Store, alongside interactive art installations. The mix of content reinforces the importance of design, which is what the Design EXPO is all about– thought provoking, challenging, inspirational and compelling.
Ian Callum, RDI, Director of Design at Jaguar and Founder Director of IDEA Birmingham, the think tank behind the Design EXPO said, “Within the next 5 years we will put Birmingham and the Midlands firmly on the map by establishing an internationally-renowned Design EXPO of innovative, authentic, regionally-based brands by showcasing upcoming graduate and entrepreneurial talent driven by business and university collaborations.”
William McGrath, Chief Executive, AGA Rangemaster added: “Our aim is to drive lasting economic growth based on the belief of people such as Abraham Darby and William Morris in designing and making the ‘beautiful and practical’, now an enduring feature of the Midlands authentic heritage.”
Councillor Sir Albert Bore, due to become the next Leader of Birmingham City Council after the forthcoming AGM on 22nd May following the Labour Party’s recent local election success, said: “I am delighted to see the work being led by Birmingham City University and supported by leading brands including Jaguar Land Rover and AGA Rangemaster moving forward and to hear that over 100 companies and brands will be exhibiting at the Design EXPO at the Mailbox in June.
“I look forward to continuing to work with and support the work of Idea Birmingham, the think tank behind the EXPO and Awards in promoting our region’s design and innovation excellence and encouraging greater collaboration and best practice across all growth sectors.”
Dr Cable noted that in this celebratory year when Britain was hosting the Olympics with so much media attention focussed on the country it was important that we were showcasing the very best of British. He concluded: “We have been impressed by how closely Idea Birmingham has been working with the All-Party think tank, Policy Connect and their work to highlight successful and innovative British Manufacturers, through ‘Made By Britain’.”