Designmonat Graz 2009
Austria's first design month in Graz and Styria ended successfully on May 24, 2009. The Styrian creative industry was able to inspire around 70,000 visitors and set an internationally visible sign.

When: 23 April to 24 May 2009
Where: Graz and the whole of Styria
Why: To raise awareness in the wider public for the significance of design as an economic factor
Partners: Creative Industries Styria, University of Applied Arts Joanneum, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz University of Technology, Haus der Architektur and many other enterprises and institutions.

Due to the profound structural change society has undergone since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution up to today’s service-based knowledge society, creativity is bound to play a decisive role for future service providers. And creativity is the basis for one of tomorrow’s catchwords for economic activity: innovation. Creativity delivers the indispensable basis for a powerful economy, because without it, there are no ideas, and where there are no ideas, there is no innovation.

Innovation – understood as an assertive force behind the implementation of ideas, with the aim of developing new solutions to trigger the economy and vitalize the location, is far more than a buzzword of political rhetoric. In the medium term, innovation will become the driving power behind the success or failure of businesses in tomorrow’s sharply segmented markets. The following impressive figures show that Creative Industries play a crucial role in that process: In the greater metropolitan area of Graz, various sectors of the creative industries generate around 1.5 billion euros gross value added. That corresponds to 14 percent of the entire value added. Some 40,000 people across Styria work in creative industries ranging from advertising and market communication, design, architecture and fashion, to photography and film, television and radio, as well as publishing, print media and the music business.

It is evident, therefore, that creativity cannot be viewed from the playfully naïve perspective of an individual self-discovery and representation process. Creativity is rather well on its way to becoming a hugely essential success factor for economic thought and action. In that respect, however, design is merely the most ostensible representative of a heterogeneous, yet commercially potent sector.

Design Month 09 packs the domestic economy’s energy into the space of just one month, turns it inside out to make it visible on the outside, thus contributing instrumentally to raising public awareness for the importance of creative industries. Besides raising awareness, one of Design Month’s other big objectives is to strengthen creative industries. To that end, space is provided for innovative projects – both on the experimental and commercial level, thus boosting awareness for the relevance of design, but not just in terms of decorating and vamping up, but also with respect to the economic relevance of design. In a next step, Design Month aims to invite Styrian enterprises to participate in the “Megaproject Creative Industries”, which is intended to stimulate the market by offering a platform for creatives. Design Month’s long-term objective is to become a benchmark in the international design event scene and thus to establish itself regionally, nationally and internationally.

Design Month is conceptualised and carried out in close collaboration with local partners such as FH Joanneum, University of Applied Sciences, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz University of Technology, Haus der Architektur, Festivals (Spring 09, Assembly 09, Lendwirbel) as well as other institutions and enterprises. The term “Design Month” serves as an umbrella brand that incorporates all individual activities without jeopardising their independency. Creative Industries Styria assumes the role of a project manager and coordinator. Due to CIS’s excellent insider knowledge and broad acceptance in the creative scene, Creative Industries Styria acts as an additional central networking hub in order to help build synergies and cooperation partnerships between creative industries and businesses from other sectors.

Design Month offers a compact and densely filled programme ranging from exhibitions, festivals, lectures and workshops to its own unique design-in-residence programme. The Assembly Design Festival and Spring Festival for electronic art and music are two renowned festivals now enhanced by a relatively new festival called Lendwirbel. At the Lebensart (Lifestyle) trade fair, the local design scene proudly presents their latest achievements, also making them accessible to the wider public. As part of an international workshop, Designbattle invites 24 designers to Graz to work on a project in local agencies. An international jury then selects an award winner.