Reassessing National Projection Through Design: “Cool Britannia” and Terence Conran (80922)

Session Information: Culture in Politics & Politics in Culture
Session Chair: Yasuko Suga

Sunday, 26 May 2024 14:10
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 705
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

A quarter of century has passed since the launch of the "Cool Britannia” campaign in Britain by the new Labour Government from the late 1990s to spotlight creative industries from food to fashion. It was hoped to redefine Britain as a “cultural powerhouse” that generates jobs and wealth for the country as John Newbigin, then a government special advisor on culture, put it. A leading figure to literally set the table for the campaign was Sir Terence Conran (1931-2020), a designer and entrepreneur who ran the Conran Shops around the world, stimulated the British food-service industry by his restaurants, and founded the Design Museum in London. His restaurants physically became a sphere for political entertainments (Blair and Chirac dined in the interior designed by him), and his cultural influence was buttressed by the establishment of the Design Museum which institutionalized the modern design he himself represented. The paper aims to analyze how Britain was projected through design and what global impact it had with a special reference to Japan (it inaugurated “Cool Japan” strategy in 2013), and whether the fact that Sir Terence was an international “design guru” affected the development of “Cool Britannia” campaign both in positive and negative ways. Is it symbolic that he passed away in the year of Brexit?

Yasuko Suga, Tsuda University, Japan

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Yasuko Suga is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at Tsuda University in Japan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00