Birmingham Made Me

Wednesday 19 November sees the Birmingham Made Me Expo, held at Millennium Point, showcase the design-led manufacturing capabilities and achievements originating in the region.  The annual event brings together businesses, brands, designers and makers.  This years event focusses on "Making our Way" into more sustainable, better connected and Smarter futures,

The Expo has developed from Idea Birmingham which was started by Birmingham City University as a think and do tank to position design-driven innovation and entrepreneurial collaboration at the heart of the regions growth strategy and builds on the many local successful brand-led businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Acme Whistles.

Thanks to the sustained support of the busineses involved Idea Birmingham as a think and do tank has delivered two Design Expos – the first in 2012 at the Mailbox and the following year's event held at Millennium Point, involving up to 20,000 people from business, universities and local government.

The inaugural Birmingham Made Me Design Expo in 2012 ran from 15 - 22 June and in the accompanying guide noted the importance of design-led manufacturing in Birmingham and the role this has played in improving the quality of life for people around the world.

This year's Expo builds on this and with the theme of Smarter futures looks ahead to the experience of smarter cities and mobility through to wearable fashion tech.  With manufacturing still making a significant impact on the local economy design has the power to regenerate the regional economy and build on a proud history of design manufacturing. 

Figures produced recently by West Midlands Economic Forum for Birmingham City University suggest more like 60% of the Midlands economy is dependent on manufacturing – taking into account the contribution made by manufacturing, construction and agriculture along with the parts of the service economy dependent on production.

The rich history of manufacturing was itself celebrated in the 1989 centenary book Made in Birmingham: Design & Industry 1889 - 1989 edited by Barbara Tilson.  The book comprises essays covering Birmingham's role as a centre for design for architecture, jewellery, automative products, brassware, computers, furniture plastics, packaging, industrial art and technology.

The closing sentence of Tilson's introductory chapter, Ingenuity and Industry: the Birmingham Experience perhaps sums up best how the Birmingham Made Me event captures the proud history and continued innovation of design and manufacturing in the region.

The city, after all, exists because of and on behalf of, its people.  Its future success, however, lies not in inward - but in forward-thinking, and the projects which have been instigated here in the 1980s will reap benefits for the city in the next hundred years of its second century. (p.18, 1989).

More information on Birmingham Made Me can be found on the website:


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