Next steps for IxDA Birmingham
On a freezing late November evening, IxDA Birmingham met for the second time, above a pub in the Jewellery Quarter, to look ahead at what 2018 might hold for our fledgling community.
There’s a lot going in Birmingham right now. Next year’s Birmingham Design Festival is going to be a big moment for all of us to tell a new story about design and this city. There’s a huge amount of energy and skill going into that. But it hasn’t always been like this. As Trevor Beattie puts it in the festival’s foreword:
“Us Brummies seem to have elevated self-deprecation to a art form”.
And yet, quietly Birmingham has created a network of amazing design events. From Badego to Canvas, from to Glug to Design Birmingham on Slack, the city now has an eclectic mix of events and spaces for designers of all shades.
IxDA’s own role in that is to complement that and find its useful niche, not to compete or confuse. But to add to the voices talking about the talent, the desire and the opportunities for design - in all its forms - in Birmingham.
We think there’s three parts to our mission. IxDA Birmingham exists:
- for digital designers: to build skills and confidence
- for the community: to create connections, and build a network beyond our individual workplaces
- for the city: to build awareness outside of Birmingham of the talent and community that exists here
Skills, connections, awareness.
Taking our cue from Emily Webber’s work on communities of practice we also talked about /who/ IxDA Birmingham is for (and who it probably isn’t). That’s not to shut anyone out but to make sure we’re focussed, that this feels like a safe space and that we’re putting on the right type of events for the people we think could benefit most from an IxDA chapter in the city.
At our core are Birmingham’s interaction designers, user experience designers, user researchers, content designers, service designers. They are who we exist to support.
We won’t always have meet ups that are relevant to front-end developers, but we’d hope they’ll be an occasional part of our community.
On the periphery, we think, are the graphic designers, data analysts, data visualisation people, behavioural scientists, academics, students and people with a more casual interest in interaction and user experience design.
Outside of the community we’re there to serve are the start up entrepreneurs, the engineers, the digital marketers, the pure print designers and illustrators who we think are well-served by existing events in Birmingham like Silicon Canal, Spaghetti Jams, Glug and the excellent Badego.
We’re just starting out, so we’re going to take full advantage of the ability to experiment and see what works for us and the community.
We don’t think we’re ready - just yet - to invite external speakers to come and talk - at least not the conventional sense. What we are going to experiment with is bookclub events with authors talking to us via video about their work; screenings of talks and films directly and indirectly related to our field; workshops on techniques like design research, sketching, experience mapping. And there will be plenty of time to just get together as a group for a drink and a chat.
We’re not going to offer creds-deck here’s-some-pictures-of-some-work speaking opportunities. There’s more than enough of that, we think you’ll agree.
How to get involved
If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to see IxDA Birmingham do, talk to us on Twitter @ixdabirmingham.
We’d love to hear from people who’d love to speak or run a workshop, we’d love to hear from people who just want to get involved and help out.