As three Nottingham based designers, we decided to put the cultural agreement between Nottingham and the twin city of Karlsruhe to the test by organising a trip to Eunique. We have just returned from there on the first stage of our ‘Creative Twinning’ project. We’ll be returning the favour by inviting three designers from Karlsruhe to join us for series of events and a showcase during Creative October.
So it was that we found ourselves in Germany during the beautiful month of May, with three stands to celebrate Nottingham Designer/Makers, Debbie Bryan, Hannah Lobley (Paperwork) and Jayne Childs ( JC Middlebrook). Whilst talking to the show’s visitors, we found that about half of those from Karlsruhe knew about the twinning. Many weren’t aware of Nottingham’s creative heritage but luckily we were armed with some great NTU DNA (Design NottinghAm) brochures, Experience Nottinghamshire pins and postcards, and maps to show off some aspects of our creative city.
Over the three days we talked ourselves hoarse and even persuaded some folks to note down what they thought of Nottingham design in general and our work in particular. The language barrier was a bit of an issue as many people weren’t confident to write anything in English, which was something to reflect on for future events. One of the loveliest comments was a beautiful German phrase ‘Blütenträume aus Nottingham’ which we were told translates as ‘Blossom dreams of Nottingham’ but it just seems more poetic in the native language! (And I do hope I have spelt it correctly, translation being one of the other stumbling blocks of our trip!)
We also introduced ourselves to designers from Karlsruhe and local officials who can help us to find the three designers to invite for the return leg. They were all just so kind and very keen to be involved. So, what are my impressions of Karlsruhe? Calm, clean and green. My impressions of Karlsruhe design: modern, creative and light. We can’t wait to get started on the second stage, and show off our creative city to our german counterparts.