Margot James – 2019 Speech on Designers

Below is the text of the speech made by Margot James, the Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, on 26 June 2019.

Thank you for inviting me to speak at the Design Biennale summit and welcome to all those here today.

I would like to congratulate the Biennale on its impact on the international design industry since its inception.

I must also congratulate Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, the founders of this fantastic event.

From what I have seen of the schedule, today promises to be a melting pot of ideas and fascinating discussions that will continue to strengthen this impact.

This event promises to foster exciting international design thinking and to look more deeply at how design can make the world a better place.

In many ways London is the design capital of the world, so it is a fitting backdrop for this truly unique event. We are all united by our common interest in design and our passion for how great design can boost our countries and cities.

And how design thinking can revolutionise our approach to dealing with many of the challenges facing today’s society.

Es Devlin’s choice of theme – Resonance – is very exciting.

As Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, I am really interested in how the power of design resonates internationally.

UK design is recognised the world over – the Tube map, the Mini car, the classic Penguin book covers. It is our calling card to the world.

Design has the power to cross borders and provide links between cultures. It exports our values and culture to the world. And vice versa. This event shows the power of design to unite and facilitate collaboration.

In an increasingly connected and digital world design resonates with people on an incredibly personal level.

It alters accepted behaviours, shapes perceptions and helps to develop and transform societies and ways of living.

Of course, design is also vital to the modern economy. From airplanes to websites, furniture to buildings, UK design exports continue to generate billions for our economy.

I want design to be at the heart of our economic, cultural and social policies. And we are working hard to make this a reality.

The Biennale brings together different nations to work together to explore a single theme. The varied interpretations of the theme and ideas demonstrated show the value of different perspectives and approaches to the issues of todays’ society.

The Biennale is a great example of nations working together. This is ever more important in an ever more connected world.

It demonstrates that design can be an exciting catalyst for such cross border collaboration, which is ever more important today.

I look forward to seeing what the London Design Biennale 2020 brings. Thank you.