For Creative Boom, Greg McIndoe looked at design festivals and whether they work well for wider audiences and for accessibility within the industry:
Design festivals celebrate design. At best, they’re joyous spaces filled with people who share passion, vision and talent. But they’re not always the most inclusive.
There’s a problem with diversity in design. It’s an industry that traditionally sets a high barrier to entry, making it more difficult for people from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds to progress.
But design festivals are the ideal environments for dissolving these barriers. Not only can they be responsible for delivering more varied and diverse content that appeals to broader audiences, but they can also dispel the myth that design is not for everyone. The design industry is a viable career path for all sorts of people; creativity’s positive influence on mental health and well-being has long been scientifically proven.
Festivals have the opportunity to redefine design and its ability to improve lives. Design festivals should emphasise the principle that creativity is available for everyone.
For me, creativity shouldn’t be treated as a luxury or some kind of “natural talent” that you’re born with. We can all learn how to use and develop our own, given the opportunities and it doesn’t matter if you are an established artist, designer or just someone who likes to doodle—everyone can be creative. Accessibility is overlooked in so many areas in society and creativity shouldn’t be one of them.