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Conference 2023

“Imagine” : 8th–9th June 2023

For the first time, BDF became an in-person conference, celebrating our Imagination. Split across two days, we welcomed a soldout crowd to Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The first year of a new format

When we completed our first BDF in 2018, we knew a 3-day, 100-speaker, 20+ venue festival would be a challenge to produce year-round, so we conceived the idea of swapping between a sprawling festival one year and a more focussed conference the following year.

After a stalled first attempt in 2020, in 2023, we finally realised the complete programme of BDF. BDF Conference #1 ran across two days in June 2023, with a day dedicated to workshops held at BCU, and a day of talks showcased to a sold-out crowd at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. As a BDF bonus, we tagged on a third day at The Giant Screen to share a family day screening of Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers and Studio AKA.

Once again, we invited our design heroes to speak. The more focussed format allowed more people to enjoy the event together, with 800 folks filling Birmingham Rep to make it our biggest single event ever.

2023 in numbers

A sell-out, 800-person crowd

Our biggest ever single audience, filling the auditorium at Birmingham Rep.

Two Days, Two Venues

A more condensed version of the festival, combining the best bits for a more focused experience.

8 speakers, 7 workshops

Inspiring talks and engaging workshops to cater for all levels of participation.

“Little did I know I was saying yes to being invited into the most wonderful, inspiring and supportive global creative community.

Thank you for letting me be part of it.”

Sonal Jhuj, Global Brand Director – LEGO Group


Oliver Jeffers

Visual Artist & Author

Sonal Jhuj

Global Brand Director at the LEGO Group

Lex Fefegha

Co-founder & Principal Designer at COMUZI

Brian Collins

Chief Creative Officer of COLLINS

Gemma O'Brien

Designer & Artist

Abbie Heppe

Director of Live Service at Media Molecule

Marta Cerdà Alimbau

Designer & Illustrator

Toby Olié

Puppetry Director & Designer

Jaspar Rogers

Associate Service Designer at Snook

Anthony Burrill

Graphic Artist / Printmaker

Venessa Scott


Olivia Holbrook

Senior Service Designer at Snook

Astrid Stavro

Creative Director at COLLINS

Ed Barrett

Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of Animade

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