DM16: Manchester, truly a Design City

2016 was the year our Design Manchester’s annual festival, DM16, became a truly city-wide event. We smashed all our targets, surpassed our own high expectations and really won the heart of the city.

As Festival Director, and also running the communications and marketing for the ten-day festival, I know that design is in Manchester’s heart. The festival engaged as always with designers, artists, creative professionals, businesses, policymakers and public institutions, but this year we realised our long term ambition of truly bringing design to the whole city and its community.

DM17 doubled in size and attendance in 2016. More than 40,000 people attended 35 events over ten days, presented by 300 artists and more than 100 volunteers. 

Art Battle Manchester and DM16’s Design City Fair saw Design Manchester take over Manchester’s iconic London Road Fire Station with live art, a print fair, a book fair, paper craft, bookbinding and letter press workshops, music and street food. Over three days the events saw over 7800 people of all ages and backgrounds engaging with design and creativity.

I also realised a personal dream, by introducing the Design City Film Season at HOME, which I co-curated with Malcolm Garrett RDI, screening classic films introduced by design and film experts, including Alice Rawsthorn and Sir Christopher Frayling, who provided an insight into the creative process and the impact of design on the finished work, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to already well-loved cinema and bringing new audiences to Design Manchester

The social engagement for DM exploded in 2016. There was a real buzz around the festival and the stats backed that up with over 7000 interactions across 3500 Twitter and Facebook accounts, giving the festival as a whole a potential a reach of nearly 17 million, an increase of 400% year on year.

The Sundae team did an incredible job with the festival’s publicity campaign, Creative Review, Design Week, the Manchester Evening News and Computer Arts among many more were incredibly supportive of the festival, and online and print press carried over 80 pieces of coverage. This year’s marketing campaign, carried out with arts marketing specialists KMS Media and the Audience Agency, with the support of Manchester City Council, was one of the biggest and most impactful new additions to the 2016 festival.

We’re already in the planning for 2017, we’re coming back bigger and better than ever before. Watch this space…

Fiona x

Share Menu |

I also realised a personal dream, by introducing the Design City Film Season at HOME, which I co-curated with Malcolm Garrett RDI.

We screened classic films introduced by design and film experts including Alice Rawsthorn and Sir Christopher Frayling,