April - October 2007

1 apr 2007
1 nov 2007

Who designs your life? Designs of the time (Dott 07) is a year of innovation projects, leading to a two-week long festival, that address just that question. Doors of Perception is leading the content development of this new biennial, which is an initiative of The Design Council and the development agency, One North East. Even now, communities and individuals across the North East of England are exploring ways to improve an aspect of daily life - helped by design.

DOTT 07 FESTIVAL 14-28 October
The best way to experience the full range of Dott07 activities will be
during a two week festival in Newcastle-Gateshead. You will encounter all those who have taken part in Dott's projects and events, and Creative Community Awards (The Commies) will be given in recognition of outstanding achievement. Special presentations will feature Sociable Objects (Ulla-Maria Maartinen) and a daily skills bazaar in which visitors may consult a multitude of experts in 20 minute increments.

Two hundred and fifty regions in Europe (and many more worldwide) are in search of a shared vision to inspire economic and cultural renewal. In Dott 07, the abstract idea of sustainability becomes a concrete question:"how do we want to live?" By the end of 2007, some Dott 07 projects may evolve into enterprises; people in the region will have learned, by doing it, new approaches to social innovation; a further legacy will be platforms for ongoing social innovation - such as places, hubs, and support schemes.


Could we improve mobility for people, and access to services, without
adding more cars or building new roads? Scremerston County First School in Northumberland is the focus for this project, which is led by
Live|Work. This small school is a daily hub for 42 children and 34
families. The Move Me! project looks at the school community's mobility needs - including un-met ones - and explores how they can be better served by combining existing vehicles and services in smarter ways.

Could a public park be more than grass and benches? Durham's Necklace Park is a 12 mile stretch of spaces - and experiences - linked to the River Wear. You create your own park by mapping tracks, forests, picnic and fishing spots. You can prepare routes in advance, online - or swap ideas with fellow visitors once you are there. Durham Necklace Park is yours to re-create. The project is led by Susan Williamson with Claire Lancaster. Dates: 5-7 May 2007.

More of us would like to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, especially at home. But how? Wind turbines? Geothermal? Fuel cells? Solar panels? Wood-chip boilers? There are so many competing proposals that it's hard to decide. It's also hard to pay: few people can afford to invest, on their own, in off-grid equipment. Low Carb Lane, which is led by Live|Work, tackles these challenges head-on in a real street: Castle Terrace in Ashington. The community is exploring the potential to achieve warm homes in ways that reduce their carbon footprint and also save them money.

Year eight students in 80 schools across the North East of England have been invited to map their school's 'carbon footprint'. Having identified which aspects of their school's systems and activities are wasteful, they will soon propose the re-design of their school's key systems to reduce its impact on the environment. The 50 best schools will further develop their plans with the help of professional designers. The best designs will be eligible for awards at the Dott Festival in October. If you would like to be considered as one of those designers working with the schools (as a volunteer) please contact project leader Nick Devitt:

How many materials are wasted during the manufacture of a hairdryer? Or a car? Dott and Design and Art Direction (D&AD) have issued a challenge to communication design students: Develop a Stuff-O-Meter' to help us all understand more about the "hidden rucksack" of everyday products.
Competitors will design a visual representation of the lifetime use of
material resources, from cradle to grave, of a household durable
product. The best designs will be presented at the Dott Festival in

What should the design priorities be when a school is rebuilt? During
the next 15 years, 3,500 UK schools will be rebuilt or refurbished in an £80m programme called Building Schools for the Future (BSF). Dott07 has teamed up with a real school - Walker Technology College - to ask: how best should the money be spent when their turn comes? In a project led by Engine, Walker is setting up a Future School Lab within its existing building. The Lab will be a place where design ideas are developed and discussed among the school community.

What practical steps are needed to improve daily life for people with
dementia and their carers? Dementia affects 750,000 people currently in the UK - rising to an expected two million by 2050. This project, led by Thinkpublic for Dott and the Alzheimer's Society, is investigating everyday problems experienced by Alzheimer's patients and carers. The project enables people with Alzheimer's and their carers to document a "day in our life". These documents will become opportunity maps on which are marked practical things that need to be fixed. Where new with support systems, or devices, are needed, the project will make design proposals.

Sexual health clinics can be so unwelcoming that people who need to visit them, don't. The UK government has given local authorities money to improve their buildings and services. Dott is working with Gateshead Council and Louise Hulton (Options) with Jennifer Singleton on the DaSH (Design and Sexual Health) project. Its about design actions to make sexual health services easier to access, and use.

Who designs your body? This controversial exhibition, curated by Andrew Chetty, features prosthetic body parts: ears, eyes, skin, limbs, organs. They are joined by robots designed to look after old people - or to perform surgical operations. You will experience devices designed to connect our bodies and minds to networks, or try on smart textiles and wearable computing. The event invites you to discuss the question: Is this a future we want? Newcastle, Discovery Museum.

Based in Tees Valley, the project will get people growing their own food in small medium and large urban growing spaces. These will range from window boxes to larger planter boxes and low sided skips. Meal Assembly Centres, or MACs, will be established to show growers how best to prepare their produce. The project, led by David Barrie with Debra Solomon and Nina Belk, will culminate in one big 'Meal for Middlesbrough' which will involve all the individuals, schools,
businesses, farms and communities which have taken part. (This project will also feature at Doors 9 in New Delhi).

Doors teamed up with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Designs of the time (Dott07) to sponsor a competition in the 2006-2007 RSA Design Directions competition. Our two competition themes were food information systems, and sustainable tourism. Winners will be selected in London this month by jury members Emily Campbell (Critish Council), Hilary Cottam, Professor Anthony Dunne (Royal College of Art), Rob Holdway (Giraffe Innovation), Natalie Jeremijenko, Ulla-Maria Maartinen (thinglink), Dorothy Mackenzie, Steve Messem (Fold Gallery), Lesley Morris (Design Council), Debra Solomon (, John Thackara (Doors of Perception).

Visiting an English country house will never be the same again. An
extraordinary array of artists has been commissioned by Judith Hall for English Heritage for a spectacular event called Picture House at Belsay Hall, one of the region's finest country estates. Juha Huuskonen, for Dott 07, invited celebrated new media artists to instal digital works as part of the show. Picture House opens on 5 May 2007.

What do we see, and what do we experience, on arrival in a region? For The Welcomes, Stella Hall is inviting artists and designers to re-make places, situations, and experiences. Their work will feature in airports and railway stations, motorway cafes, on mobile phones. Prepare to be surprised!

How happy are we? The news - and politicians - can often be downbeat. In Vital Signs, artists and desigers have been asked by Forma for Dott 07 to create a well-being 'dashboard for the North East'. State-of-the-art infographics on huge displays - and in surprising other places - will start a thousand conversations.

Fifty-five percent of the UK workforce does not have a job in the 9-5,
Monday-Friday sense of the word. Dott's NewWork project (nicknamed "Working Life After Starbucks") is about practical design steps to improve the day-to-day experience of people who are self-employed or have a micro-business. Many people who work from home are isolated and could do with places to go to meet each other; they need help accessing the government's 300+ assistance schemes; and they would benefit from exchanging skills and services with each other on a local basis.

Could there be more to tourism than staring at strangers, flopping on
beaches, and shopping? In September 2007, teams of young designers spanning multiple disciplines will develop radical alternatives to mainstream tourism. Steve Messem of Fold Gallery will coordinate projects for 'in-between' locations: medieval army barracks, disused coal mines, cooling towers, fishing ports. Projects may include twenty-first century youth hostel, extreme sport nature parks, find-and-cook food trails, meetings beyond the convention centre, mapping local knowledge.Teams will present their proposals to a jury of design professionals, entrepreneurs and local citizens. The best projects will feature at the Dott07 Festival in October 2007. A Call for participants will be made later this month.

Dott has partnered with the region's existing design annual, DE07, to
present the following events and exhibitions, also during October: From The Earth We Came (graphic design on the streets); Our Friends In The North (graphic design show); Design For Science (world class scientific visualization at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens); Launch + Designed&Made (in Newcastle Fire Station); Re-Design | Design Contains; Decompression (Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland); Matthias Bentsson (National Glass Centre, Sunderland); Gareth Pugh (Arts Centre, Washington); Talking Cities (Urban Drift exhibition from Berlin,
see below).

How might the forgotten corners of post-industrial cities be rescued?
This trans-disciplinary exhibition was conceived by Francesca Ferguson for Urban Drift at the spectacular coal-washing plant at Zeche Zollverein, in Germany. It looks at the ways marginal, residual and neglected public spaces, and brownfield sites, can be reconfigured and reactivated. For the North East of England version of the show, architects and urban designers will add proposals for the region to complement proposals shown in Germany. October, North East England.

What are the new ways professional designers will work in the future, and how should design education best prepare them? This international conference will discuss these questions in the context of lessons learned during Dott projects.The conference is jointly organised by Dott, the Design Council UK, and Northumbria University. Kevin McCullough is conference director; Core 77 and Blueprint are media partners. 25, 26 November 2007 (to be confirmed), Newcastle.

The Dott 07 website, and its monthly email newsletter, will announce events and opportunities for participation.