UK city has designs to score global success over Italian rival

Birmingham can be the UK’s answer to Milan – a recognised global capital for world-class design.

That’s the confident claim made by Beverley Nielsen, Director Employer Engagement at Birmingham City University and the mastermind behind the Birmingham Made Me expo. Her impassioned comments have been shared in a video trailer for the event which can be viewed at:

“It’s time we and the rest of the world started re-thinking Birmingham,” said Beverley Nielsen. “This city, and the region it serves, should be fully recognised as a leading capital of world-class design with the potential to eclipse rivals such as Milan.

“If anyone has any doubts then they should visit the Birmingham Made Me expo this summer where they will discover some of the most exciting products being created anywhere in the world – from the glamour of Aston Martin cars to the high-tech space helmet used in the stylish Hollywood blockbuster Prometheus.

“What is really special about this region is not only do we design innovative products we also make them here. And we do it more than any other UK region.  Think of some of the world-beating brands made here – AGA Rangemaster, Jaguar Land Rover, Pashley Cycles, Brooks England Saddles, Morgan Motor Cars, Acme Whistles and the designer-makers in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham or the nearby Potteries, such as Emma Bridgewater.

“For over 300 years we have improved lifestyles and today we continue to design better quality lifestyles for people all over the world.”

In its second year, the Birmingham City University-led expo promotes and celebrates the iconic brands and products made across the region, inviting business leaders, makers and innovators to take pride in Birmingham being the ‘Original Design City’.

Birmingham City University research has revealed that last year the Midlands was the second biggest exporter in the UK – and this growth-generating success was underpinned by design-led brands using their regional heritage to sell overseas.

The event will be hosted at Millennium Point, part of Birmingham City University’s city centre campus. The University will later this year open new facilities at the Eastside site to support the region’s creative industries.

The 16-day expo, which takes place from 6th-21st June at Millennium Point, incorporates ‘think’ and ‘do’ activities created to challenge, excite and intrigue its visitors.

This showcase aims to emulate the success of Italy’s second city, Milan. In the 1980s Milanese design gurus linked up with business leaders, craftsmen and artists to successfully build a global city brand around the city’s creative excellence.

According to Beverley Nielsen, Birmingham has even more to offer than its Italian counterpart.

Birmingham Made Me has therefore been created to promote the reputation of the Midlands for being a centre for design innovation, through the regions industry heritage but also supporting the next generation of design and business leaders.

Marek Reichman, Design Director at Aston Martin who has been appointed as 2013 expo Chair and fully supports the campaign in his own video:

Beverley Nielsen added: “Through Birmingham Made Me I’d like to invite everyone to celebrate not only our region’s design heritage but also the next generation of makers, designers and innovators coming out of Birmingham.”

To find out more about Birmingham made me 2013 visit

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