Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A No, For Now...

Back in November, the Crafts Council of Ireland circulated a survey among its members and member organisations to float the idea of changing its name to include the word 'design' somewhere. The reasoning behind this was that it would better reflect the proportion of their membership working across or between craft and design, but I wrote here about the negative ramifications this could have on Ireland's wider design community, who remain unrepresented at government level and who the Crafts Council were adamant they would not broaden their remit to include.

Yesterday the Crafts Council announced the results of the survey. Though a large proportion of the individual members who took part in the survey were in favour of the inclusion of the word 'design' in the Crafts Council's name (over 69%), there was a 50/50 response from the member organisations who were asked to respond - 21 organisations were in favour, 21 were against, and 9 were undecided. As it's representatives of these organisations, not individual members, who would get to cast a vote on an issue like this, the Crafts Council has stated:
'we will consider how to reflect our remit in promoting design and craftsmanship and may add a tagline to our logo in the near future. However, we will not proceed with formally amending the organisation’s name at this time.'

This is great news, for now, but Ireland's design community should not linger too long on that collective sigh of relief. Though this proposal was met with resistance by the Crafts Council's membership when first raised in June of 2011, the Council's chair, Laura Magahy, persisted nonetheless. Set with the task of rebranding and enlivening an organisation often considered old-fashioned and out of touch, I have no doubt the caché the word 'design' brings, particularly since the success of Pivot Dublin, will prove tempting to the Council and its board again. Even if this doesn't rear its head again, it's time designers in Ireland got the recognition - and more importantly support - that they deserve. And it's high time the value and importance and sheer joy of design was properly and sustainably communicated to Ireland's public. Seriously, can we find a way to get ourselves a proper Design Council in Ireland now?!