London was historically a centre of manufacturing: ship-building in Deptford, mills in Turnmill Street (Milton’s ‘dark satanic mills’ was a reference to London, not The North), engineering in Clerkenwell, weaving in Spitalfields, printing in Blackfriars and Fleet Street and, later, consumer electronics on the Great West Road, automotive in Dagehnam, and aerospace and automotive in Hackney Marshes.
Today, with the limits of austerity reached the debate about the economy is moving towards innovation and growth. The importance of manufacturing and the creation of real value is being recognised. New possibilities are presented by new materials, new processes, information technology, and the merging of services and products: can facilitate progress and lay the basis for human fulfilment. The value of design and creativity is being recognised in all these areas.
We hope to host a day of discussion and debate at the V&A, provisionally entitled ‘Making It in London’, on 18 September as part of the London Design Festival. It will bring together industry and manufacturing, engineering and design, education and research, and economics and policy together to discuss these new possibilities and the challenges of realising their potential, in the context of London’s economy and beyond. It will have a strong envisioning element, using design to help participants imagine future scenarios. We will also facilitate participants connecting after the event to share ideas and collaborate.
Themes around with the event will focus are:
- Developing London as a creative hub for global manufacturing
- Investigating the potential of London as a centre of manufacturing and innovation
- Showcasing new technologies for manufacturing
- Facilitating closer working between designers, engineers and manufacturers
- Linking R&D with design and manufacturing
- Improving forecasting and scenarios around these themes
We’d like input from anyone interested in and concerned with this challenge around:
- Sharing examples, especially from your work
- Contributing ideas
- Participating in our next Manufacturing Workgroup on 1 July in Clerkenwell
- Joining the discussion before and at the Day