Design Manchester launches its festival programme for DM18 to celebrate 'disruption'

DM18, Manchester’s festival of creativity and design, from not-for-profit organisation Design Manchester, is returning for its sixth annual series, with over 40 events across the city from 10-21 October.

This year's theme is "disrupt" and will celebrate the noisemakers, the pioneers and the inspiring creators of Manchester and beyond. The unapologetically smart and funny, the humble and inspiring. Allow us to talk you through some festival highlights.

D(isrupt)M: Transformation by Design

The festival’s flagship event is the DM18 Conference, taking over the entire venue at The Bridgewater Hall on 19 October, with five separate areas featuring talks, workshops, seminars, interactive installations, Q&As, craft and making.

The main room speakers have been announced as prolific curator and creator Morag Myerscough, graphic artist, print-maker and designer, Anthony Burrill, BAFTA-winning designer and director of content for live productions, Kate Dawkins.

Also speaking is Ben Wright, co-founder of award-winning international branding agency DesignStudio, and Liza Enebeis, creative director of Studio Dumbar, Kaye Dunnings, creative director of Glastonbury’s Shangri-La and Michael Wolff, founder of Wolff Olins. Once again the conference will be hosted by Patrick Burgoyne of Creative Review.

Kaye Dunnings

Kaye Dunnings

The Great Debate

The Great Debate

The People are Revolting

Building on the theme of disruption, DM18 has partnered with Berlin-based artist Patrick Thomas and other friends to create iconic stencils/slogans for you to use, to create your own protest and find your voice whatever your cause. In the age of dis-information, fake-news and social media the medium the project, known as The People Are Revolting is inspired by Patrick Thomas's book, The Protest Stencil Toolkit.

A series of workshops will run throughout the festival, beginning with a pre-festival weekender, 6-7 October at Manchester Art Gallery, and work will be shared and exhibited throughout the festival, including the D(isrupt)M Conference.

The Great Debate

This year Design Manchester’s design and society debate – in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group – will question whether All Schools Should Be Art Schools?

With participants including Ellie Runcie, Future Programme Director of the Design Council, Lou Cordwell OBE, CEO of magneticNorth and Jack Tindale, Manager of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, discussing how we can improve our educational policies to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, and how can we create the pathways so that all young people of talent can succeed?

DM18 Film Season at HOME: Once Upon A Time...

Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in The West opens this year’s sequence of films for the Design Manchester festival.

Making two more with the same prefix, Leone set a trend for numerous others to follow. We’ll also be screening the second in his trilogy, A Fistful of Dynamite (Once Upon a Time in The Revolution) and 2011’s sublime Turkish Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.

Curated by Christopher Frayling, working alongside Malcolm Garrett and Fiona McGarva, the season also runs in partnership with Bradford Science and Media Museum’s Wide Screen Weekend.

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha

Manchester Print Fair

Manchester Print Fair

Manchester Print Fair

Manchester Print Fair

Airport City x DM18

This year, Airport City and Design Manchester will partner on two events at Platform Airport City, a vibrant and interactive space.

Wisdom Wednesdays is an opportunity for local businesses to network and get to know each other across campus and the wider Wythenshawe area. For the DM18 edition on 10 October Design, Manchester Director John Owens will be talking about design and the local economy.

On Thursday 18 October, the M.E.N Business Breakfast will be held in partnership with Design Manchester 2018 and Airport City with a topical panel discussion around Designing Manchester to discuss the important role that architects, developers, planners and local authorities have in shaping the future of the region.

Talks, lectures, workshops and tours

A huge series of lectures, talks, workshops and tours will take place during the festival, taking in a special Pecha Kucha event on the theme of disruption at Fairfield Social Club, a Coder Dojo at The Sharp Project, and DM18 Floor Music Talk with Alice Woods.

Other highlights include a DM18 x RIBA lecture with Sir Terry Farrell, a Salford Makers party and workshops at Islington Mill, a screening of Sofia Olin’s Lost in Vagueness with director intro, panel discussion and party, "in conversation with" Alice Rawsthorn discussing her book Design as an Attitude, a panel discussion to mark the launch of a new edition of the Housing Design Handbook among many more.


The extensive exhibition programme includes Life on the Outskirts: Helen Storey in The Vertical Gallery at Manchester School of Art, Drawing the Modern: the work of Gordon Hodkinson in the Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections Gallery and Breaking/Faking News: Patrick Thomas in the window of Fred Aldous.

Thread Bearing Witness: Alice Kettle will be at the Whitworth, Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery, I Shout For The Fall at Bury Art Museum, transient_space: Adam Griffiths at the Geoffrey Manton Building, the Bee in the City Farewell Weekend at the National Cycling Centre, and The Warehouse Project & Design Manchester present… End of Store Street, at PLY.

Lost in Vagueness

Lost in Vagueness


This year, DM18 x The Manchester Print Fair can be found at the Whitworth on 20-21 October, with over 50 stalls and workshops from G . F Smith, the event offers visitors the chance to take home handcrafted printed gifts and homewares from local independent makers.

Elsewhere, DM18 once again partners with the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (11-14 October, Upper Campfield Market) which will host its annual showcase of cutting-edge craft and design from over 150 designer-makers.

Plus 2018 welcomes the Manchester Art Fair (12-14 October, Manchester Central) into the Design Manchester festival, where over 120 galleries and artists will be selling thousands of modern & contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and editioned prints at a wide range of prices.

The festival is supported by Manchester City Council, Manchester School of Art (MSA), University of Salford School of Arts and Media, MAG Property and G . F Smith. Tickets and more information at