Posted by DESIGN Cebu Admin
November 20, 2022

             The last few months of 2022 have been extremely hectic on the international conference circuit as COVID-19restrictions have been lifted in most of the world and delegates have been pumped up for their own version of revenge travel. From Singapore, to Lithuania to Scotland, Cebu’s reps have been actively participating in these fora and are busy percolating future collaborations with various stakeholders in these far-flung lands.

SINGAPORE, September 20-23, 2022

               The last Singapore Design Week was in 2019 so this year’s edition was befittingly a major reboot and also gathered all the Southeast Asian UNESCO Cities of Design representing Bandung, Bangkok, Cebu, Hanoi and Singapore to not only experience the myriad of activities, exhibits and talks but also to percolate on future possibilities for cooperation.

               Kicking off the week was an 8 hour symposium held at the historic Victoria Theater which brought thought leaders from around the world to share their experiences and visions around the theme “Agency for the Future.”  This event was curated by Paola Antonelli, the Design Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

              Working sessions at the imposing National Design Centre of Singapore then followed and yielded many possible avenues of alignment and resource/knowledge exchange.  Tours were also conducted to past recipients of the President’s Design Award capped up off with a visit to the opening of the brand new FIND: Design Fair Asia.

KAUNAS, LITHUANIA, October 12-15, 2022

             Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city and the European Capital of Culture for 2022 was the venue for the second conference of this season and was attended by delegates representing 24 of the 42 cities comprising the UNESCO Cities of Design Subnetwork. 

             During this 4 day event, each delegate was given the opportunity to share updates on particular projects, participate in their preferred working groups and explore collaborative projects with peer cities from the network.  This was the first in-person event since Detroit hosted the meeting in 2019 and was the first time that many in the group got the opportunity to meet each other face to face.

            Delegates were also given the chance to explore the city and discover the many outstanding aspects of the city from its rich history, to its stint as the modernist capital of Lithuania in the interwar years to its current transformation as the Europe’s cultural capital for 2022.

            Concurrently converging in Kaunas at the same time, were 4 other major international design networks which allowed cross-pollination of delegates, ideas and projects culminating in an international forum around theme “Human City Grid.”

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND, October 25-28, 2022

            Slightly smaller in scope and scale, but not in importance and relevance, is the CEB x DND Xchange which kicked off with a Study Tour to Dundee. Supported by the British Council, this 3 year collaborative between both UNESCO Cities of Design is meant to leverage learnings and competencies through shared experiences and values.

            The Cebu delegation was composed of 6 individuals representing a wide range of disciplines from product design, architecture, communications, new media and government.  DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation, Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, also joined the visit to learn more about the Scottish creative economy and how peer cities within the UNESCO network can effectively collaborate despite the great distances.

            Dundee was chosen out of the many cities in the Cities of Design Subnetwork because it is the only City of Design in the United Kingdom and Cebu has had a long 11+ year history of working with the British Council.  The last Cebu study tour to Dundee in 2018 was also an impetus for Cebu to lodge its bid for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2019.

             While in Dundee many more coincidences and similarities popped up unexpectedly which strengthened the resolve to concretize next steps.  The Cebu delegation has already convened a follow-up local event and will submitting a terminal report with action plans very soon.  Pls watch this space for future updates.