Upcoming Conference: “Ministry of Design – From Cottage industry to State Enterprise”


The University of the West Indies-St. Augustine is hosting the conference entitled “Ministry of Design— From Cottage industry to State Enterprise” from May 28 to 29, 2015, in Trinidad. The discussions will explore the formation of a Ministry of Design in Trinidad and Tobago. Our very own Mari Mater O’Neill (as Taí Fernández says, “la nuestra,”) from Rubberband PR (Puerto Rico), will be presenting on “Four areas for scaffolding a design mindset towards a national design policy.” Rubberband will provide “live tweeting” from the conference.

The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, will host a colloquium from May 28 to 29 to generate public discussion on design, a multi-faceted global industry that affects the national community on a daily basis – from the design of the best vehicular path to negotiate Port-of-Spain traffic during Carnival, to signage on the path, to the design of a mobile app to solve that challenge.

According to the organisers, the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, research suggests that design has a significant positive effect on the economies of countries by making industries more competitive, by stimulating manufacturing as a tool for social development and even by addressing issues to improve basic systems for health infrastructure, crime prevention, education and transport.

‘Ministry of Design – from cottage industry to state enterprise’ explores the general public perception that design relates primarily to fashion, graphic design and Carnival. The colloquium will highlight the impact of design on the wider economy and, indeed, the man-in-the-street through his interface with well-designed products such as mobile phones and cars.

Currently Trinidad and Tobago has neither design policies nor programmes although there is an avowed focus on innovation and competitiveness. Colloquium chairs Lesley-Ann Noel and Michael Lee Poy will guide the process over the two days and encourage debate on the possible outcomes should the government of Trinidad and Tobago direct substantial financial investment towards design initiatives on a national level.  How could a ‘Ministry of Design’ encourage and stimulate design and create awareness of its importance among individuals, families, educators, business and non-governmental organisations?

For further information, please contact Roberta Quarless at roberta.quarless@sta.uwi.edu.

See the program on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/events/962620183749265/

You may see O’Neill’s presentation here: https://www.academia.edu/12534644/Four_Areas_for_Scaffolding_a_Design_Mindset_Towards_a_National_Design_Policy

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