National law firm Shoosmiths is backing this year's Design Manchester festival through its keynote industry address North: The Great Debate.
Now in its second year, Design Manchester is a week long festival of design from across the UK. Sponsored by Manchester City Council, the Design Council, the RSA and the Department for Culture. It is being held in Manchester Town Hall and in other venues across the city this week.
Design Manchester celebrates creativity, collaboration and inclusivity in the worlds of art, design, illustration, animation and photography and seeks to both inspire and educate. The festival also takes place at the same time as Manchester Science festival and several events will overlap to help highlight the relationship between world-class design and science and technology.
Curated by renowned graphic designer Malcolm Garrett of Images&Co & John Owens of Instruct, other participants include internationally renowned design luminaries such as Hollywood production designer Alex MacDowell, Peter Saville and Rejane Dall Bello.
The festival will culminate in an industry debate on 29 October at Manchester School of Art's Stirling Prize-nominated Benzie Building, produced by Kasper de Graaf of Images&Co. The invited audience will comprise key figures working in the design sphere in the north and throughout the country. The debate will focus on the topic of design and devolution and will examine how the creative industries are driving the regional economy.
The panel chaired by The Observer's Robert Yates comprises Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, Lou Cordwell, CEO of digital design agency, Magnetic North, Caroline Norbury, Chief Executve of Creative England and Professor David Crow of Manchester School of Art.
Laura Harper, partner and head of Manchester's IP & Creative industries practice at Shoosmiths, said: 'Design Manchester 2014 and in particular North: The Great Debate brings together many of the businesses and professionals which make up the region's dynamic and active design sector and wider creative industries. Having supported these companies on regional, national and international projects over the years, I have seen diversification and innovation in businesses and service offerings during this time which have led directly to growth and job creation.
'We are delighted to be a part of this event together with many of our clients and contacts. The vibrant creative sector is key to the region's economy and debates like this one help to identify important issues and inform the best way forward for the sector as a whole.
'As a practice, in addition to providing excellent legal support we pride ourselves in our understanding of the sector and the issues faced by those within it. Our involvement in collaborative events like this debate helps us to keep this understanding current and fits in perfectly with the ethos of the practice which is to provide accessible, quality legal support to our clients in the creative industries and digital sector.
'That's why the team here at Shoosmiths is so proud to support this event and others like it in the city. We work closely with many of the city and region's leading creative and digital companies and are always ready to help and advise creative entrepreneurs.'
Festival co-curator Malcolm Garrett RDI commented: 'It takes more than creative talent to build a vibrant creative industry. Manchester has always punched above its weight in its contribution to music, arts and culture, and one important reason is our willingness to cross boundaries.
'Shoosmiths have helped many creatives turn their talent into successful companies by contributing wider expertise and understanding of the business environment. They are a natural partner in this debate and we are delighted that they are supporting us.'
Find out more about Design Manchester 14 here: www.designmcr.com and Shoosmiths here: www.shoosmiths.co.uk
Laura Harper is a partner in Shoosmiths' national IP & creative industries group and heads the team in the Manchester office. Immersed in the sector, she helps her clients to protect and commercialise the work they produce. She acts for a broad range of creative and digital businesses from multi-national technology companies, major fashion brands, communications agencies including advertising and design agencies, digital agencies and PR companies through to product design and manufacturing companies, film and TV production companies, music businesses, publishing, gaming and software businesses, arts organisations, individual designers, writers, artists and musicians.
Laura divides her time between Shoosmiths' Manchester office at Spinningfields, in the heart of the city's business and finance district, and also the dedicated creative industries office at The Sharp Project, Manchester's multi-million pound creative digital media hub.