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Design Declares Ireland launches at the Dean Hotel

4 min read

Design Declares Ireland launches at the Dean Hotel

4 min read


Design Declares Ireland launches at the Dean Hotel

In November, 150 Irish designers gathered to launch Design Declares Ireland, a new Creative Climate Action initiative which calls on the design community to address the urgent need for sustainability in their field.

The aim of Design Declares Ireland is to move beyond inspiration and instigate real change. Their journey started almost a year ago when founder Charlotte Barker, CEO of the Irish Institute of Designers (IDI), recognised a need to create a practical, clear, and supportive platform for sustainable design in Ireland.

Attendees at the DDI launch event were encouraged to commit to transforming their practices and aligning with the first Declaration, Act 1: ‘Sound the Alarm’.

A collective effort and gratitude

Design Declares Ireland is a collaboration between the IDI and 100 Archive, leveraging existing connections to establish partnerships. The steering panel, many of whom completed Design Skillnet’s Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy professional certificate, met bi-weekly, learning from other movements like Purpose Disruptors and Architects Declare.

Panel members include: Lara Hanlon (Portion Collective); Brian Byrne (Lands); Stephen Ledwidge (Chart Design Studio), and Fiona O’Reilly (On The Dot Design).

At the launch, keynote speaker Alexie Sommer, co-instigator of Design Declares UK, provided insights into the global journey of the movement, emphasising the importance of collaboration.

Following the keynote, the steering panel outlined the project’s ambition to foster a national platform and community connecting businesses across Ireland.

Design Declares Ireland seeks to be an inclusive space where designers and businesses at all stages of their sustainability journey can come together, share ideas, and collectively move forward. They plan to host future events in various locations around the country.


"Design Declares Ireland aims to facilitate discussions, encourage knowledge exchange, and provide a platform for collective learning."

Building a knowledge-sharing community: the D! Toolkit

Drawing parallels with the collegiate spirit of design education, speakers highlighted the importance of a knowledge-sharing community.

Design Declares Ireland aims to facilitate discussions, encourage knowledge exchange, and provide a platform for collective learning.

The D! Toolkit, a repository of resources, actions, tools, and case studies, was introduced as a valuable resource for designers. Attendees were urged to contribute to the toolkit, sharing their experiences and insights to enrich the collective knowledge.

Educational empowerment: nurturing sustainability through learning

Design Declares Ireland also highlighted its commitment to education. It is more than a rallying call for sustainable design; it is a platform dedicated to learning new ways of working, acquiring essential skills, and nurturing innovative ideas to better serve the planet. Described as a practice-based, outcome-driven educational movement, Design Declares Ireland recognises the transformative power of education as a tool to navigate complexities and accelerate positive change. Design Declares Ireland aims to leverage its platform for educational purposes, utilising tools like the D! Toolkit.

Events like the launch serve as opportunities to educate the design community. However, the initiative doesn’t stop there; the collective seeks to forge partnerships with colleges, universities, institutes, schools, and businesses across Ireland.

"Design Declares Ireland's launch was not just a milestone event but the beginning of a movement."

Panel discussions, workshops, and beyond

Launch night continued with a panel discussion hosted by steering committee member Lara Hanlon and featuring prominent figures in the design and sustainability space, namely: Lisa Dooley (The Factory); Alexie Sommers (Urge Collective & Design Declares); Catriona Duggan (Gottstein Architects), and Laura Costello (Thinkhouse & Purpose Disruptors). The conversation delved into pressing issues and potential solutions, providing a glimpse of the collaborative efforts ahead. This was followed by a short workshop section which prompted attendees to consider the challenges and changes they can make as they embark on their sustainability journey.

The evening concluded with an address from Elin Burns, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Council, who emphasised the importance of international collaboration in driving sustainable design practices.

Design Declares Ireland’s launch was not just a milestone event but the beginning of a movement. With a commitment to positive action, collaboration, and inclusivity, the initiative sets the stage for a future where Irish design leads the way in sustainable and responsible practices. As the journey unfolds, Design Declares Ireland invites all designers to join the movement, share their insights, and collectively shape a more sustainable future for the design community.



Learn more about Design Declares Ireland by visiting them online

Read more about Creative Climate Action Fund II projects

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