Sarah Weir

Design Council

Chief Executive
Main Stage //
Designing our future

Talk Abstract:
Looking ahead, the post-Brexit world in 2019, is now just months away. So what matters most is to think beyond just what sort of Brexit it is going to, but to put ourselves now into what that world will look like, feel like and be like for us and future generations. In designing this future now, we need to make the most of the opportunities AI will bring to both work and home life, while ensuring we have thought carefully about how we design the coding for the robots and who does the designing. We need to have design clearly threaded through STEM so that we can make more out of all the scientific and technological opportunities. We need to ensure a better understanding of the value of design to people’s lives and jobs, as well as to our economy in a changing world. We need to both nurture and champion the incredible talent we already have in this country. We need to look at solutions to challenges together: whether as government, industry, corporations or individuals so that we don’t waste any part of the potential we have across the country in a more even way. And we need to take the long view. It’s a big world out there. It’s time to pay more attention to design.

Sarah Weir is CEO of Design Council. She was previously Executive Producer at the Roundhouse in London, Chief Executive of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire and her other past roles include Chief Executive of The Legacy List, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park charity (now called Foundation for Future London); Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy for Olympic Delivery Authority; Executive Director, Arts Council England; London and Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre. She started her career as a broker at Lloyd’s of London and over a 15-year career went from being the office junior to Managing Director, the first woman to hold this position. She has a History of Art BA from Birkbeck College (1993-7), was awarded an OBE for services to the arts (2011), First Woman Awards for public service (2013) and is a Fellow of Birkbeck College (2013). Sarah also serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Society.