Everything happening at BDF 2023
Birmingham Design Festival returns 8th–9th June 2023 for a two day extravaganza, including the first in-person BDF Conference.
This year BDF is a little different as we condense our headline acts into a day of talks held in the main auditorium at Birmingham Repertory Theatre to an audience of up to 800 on Friday 9th June which we call BDF Conference – more on that below.
Ahead of the day of talks on Thursday 8th June attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a range of workshops with some of the speakers and a few special guests at Birmingham City University, with 7 bookable workshops catering to a diverse range of skills – plus Montype presenting their annual type trends report.
On Thursday evening, as we prepare for the BDF Conference, we’ll be heading over to the Minima showroom for a panel discussion led by the Design Council on their Design for Planet project. After the panel, you are invited to join us at nearby Hockley Social Club for a mid-fest social. There’ll be food, drinks and an opportunity to mingle with some of the speakers and the BDF team.
On Friday 9th June, join us for the big one as we get BDF Conference underway at 10am in Birmingham Repertory Theatre. We’ll be joined by international superstars from across the design spectrum, with eight wonderful speakers sharing their insights and what fuels their imagination.
Rounding off this year’s activity, on Saturday 10th June we’re delighted to be joined by Studio AKA’s Philip Hunt alongside Oliver Jeffers at The Giant Screen, where they’ll be presenting a special showing of their family film Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth followed by a Q&A about the development process behind the collaboration.
Read on to learn more about each day at BDF 2023.
Thursday 8th June
Workshops, Monotype, Design Council and the BDF Social
Workshops at BCU
On Thursday, we have a special day at BCU packed with workshops catering to all interests and abilities. Priced individually at £40 each (£25 for students) or available with a Conference Pass, the two-hour workshops will run in two sessions allowing you to choose between a morning or afternoon slot.
You can get your fingers inky with Anthony Burrill in his print workshop or enjoy a branding masterclass with Brian Collins & Astrid Stavro. If your brain is digitally minded, we have a service design workshop from the wonderful folks at Snook, or you can try your hand at animation with our friends from Animade. If you’re into working with your hands, then you can check out Gemma O’Brien’s hand lettering workshop, or if you fancied doing something at a larger scale, then Venessa Scott’s mural workshop might be for you. For something completely different, come and check out Kaye Winwood’s sensory food workshop, which delves into how we experience flavour.
Capacities for workshops vary, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.
Monotype presents: Type Trends 2023 – The annual trends report
Immediately after the workshops finish we’re excited to take a look at Monotype’s annual trends report.
Our lives and our design work are constantly in motion. This report is a celebration of incredible global typography, an opportunity for reflection and projection, a pit-stop along the way, to help you charge up and plan for your typographic year ahead.
Design Made it Possible: Career pathways in design and design education
As we head into the evening on Thursday we’re making the move from BCU to Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter and to our pals Minima, where the Design Council have put together a fine line-up of creative folks to discuss the future of design.
Seven out of ten of the UK’s 1.97m designers have a design GCSE, but the number of young people taking the subject has dropped by 68% over the last decade, putting the future of the sector at risk.
Join the Design Council’s Chief Design Officer Cat Drew as she talks with Venessa Scott (Public Artist), Jane Anderson (BCU), Phil Garnham (Monotype UK) and Ben Watkinson (G.F. Smith) to explore the interventions required in education and in the design community to inspire the next generation of designers.
BDF 2023 Social at Hockley Social Club
No BDF would be complete without an informal get-together in between the learning. After the Design Council panel at Minima, we’ll be heading over to Hockley Social Club to grab some drinks and food. It’ll be a great opportunity to catch up with friends and maybe even chat with some of our speakers.
We’ll be going from 8 ’till late, just don’t make sure you save some energy for the talks the following day!
Friday 9th June
BDF Conference (our main event)
On Friday 9th June join us for the first ever BDF Conference, a day of talks from eight of the finest designers in the world, held at the impressive Birmingham Rep Theatre in what will be our biggest event ever!
Where does Imagination take us? We’ve invited a host of exceptional speakers to share a journey through their creative mind and process. From pictures books to master builders, Dreams to artificial intelligence we’ll be covering multiple disciplines and backgrounds across 8 hour, with unmissable talks you won’t have heard before.
BDF Conference takes the format of our festival evening events and mashes them together for a one day extravaganza celebrating design in all its forms.
Saturday 10th June
Here We Are: Screening and Q&A, plus BCU Family Day
We’ve got a little bonus event to finish off BDF 2023 – and what a bonus it is. On Saturday 10th June, Oliver Jeffers will be back on stage to present the 2020 film Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth based on the book of the same name alongside Director Philip Hunt.
Oliver and Philip first worked together on BAFTA-winning Lost & Found, an adaptation of one of Oliver’s first picture books 15 years ago. After the screening of Here We Are, held at the majestic Giant Screen, we’ll be delving deeper into the relationship between Oliver and Studio AKA and the process of bringing his wonderful picture books to life.
This event will be free to attend, and we encourage families to join us for the screening, which will be roughly 35 minutes. Once the film has finished, there will be a short break, after which we will be sitting down for a Q&A with Oliver and Philip. The Q&A will be aimed at folks looking to learn more about the development process of the film, so may be uninteresting for young children.