York Design Week is a way for presenting a new, collaborative, dynamic vision of the creative industry sector in York. It is not just a 7 day festival. It is part of a wider, infinite landscape of creativity, and is designed to create a surprising new perception of our historic city, inviting residents to participate, explore and play.

Through creative deviation across interdisciplinary design events, we will explore how, in such uncertain and complex times, design can help us to adapt, to grow and learn. From community led housing to doughnut economies, playful data to York’s favourite colour, we present an opportunity for York, its residents and visitors to stop and reflect, to imagine - where is it we want to go and how do we get there.

Why York Design Week?
We hope to bridge disparity in our city
We want to campaign for cultural democracy within it
We endeavour to champion home grown talent and ideas
We must sustainably regenerate our city centre to create a more inclusive environment for more people, and tackle problems our future city and residents may face using long term, creative thinking.

Who is York Design Week for?
York Residents, families, students, designers, visitors and general curious creatures. We have curated our programme to appeal to a wide range of audiences, and we want you to get involved.

How can I get involved?
We have a number of social interventions proposed by Kaizen Arts Agency (kaizenartsagency.org) that we invite you to take part in, over the next year, as a lasting legacy of our first festival; including #youareyork, ‘Beautiful Interruptions’ and ‘Trespass’ (all launching during YDW). We have workshops fit for families and professional designers, talks for the curious, and installations that invite everyone’s participation. York Design Week is a grass roots festival, presented by us, but made by York’s citizens! Be a part of it.

When is it?
Visit our events listings for events blurb and full programme yorkdesignweek.com/events, you can also pick up a printed programme at Visit York, various cafes, Snow Home UK, Spark CIC and The York Ghost Merchants. The first York Design Week is from 23rd - 30th October 2019. A number of our events are perfect for families, so we have spanned into the first half of October half term.


  • We have events all over the city...
  • Main Hub: Spark CIC
  • Other venue partners:
  • York St John University
  • Millers Yard
  • New School House Gallery
  • Kings Manor
  • Parliament Street
  • Carlton Tavern in Acomb
  • Micklegate Social
  • Partisan

+installations around the city

Please visit yorkdesignweek.com for map, or pick up a programme! (Available late September)

More information about selected events:
#youareyork (Launching 21st October 2019 in collaboration with 64 Million Artists #youareyork is a campaign led by ideas, inspired by sharing and driven by the notion that we are all creative. Taking the lead from #challengehull, a project instigated by 64 Million Artists for Hull City of Culture 2017, and following their Arts Council Report and guide (which you can read here), we want to challenge York’s residents to a year of creativity, beginning with York Design Week.

How it works (from 23rd October 2019)

  1. We have invited 52 organisations across York to create a challenge for #youareyork
  2. Each week on instagram and twitter, we will post one of these challenges
  3. You are invited to take part in that challenge, make it your own
  4. Then, SHARE your results, using the hashtag #youareyork

You Are York is a powerful statement that asks us to remember that we make our city, and that we can make good change happen within it. We would love you to write about your experience and share your photos. If you would like to be featured on our blog, set a challenge or find out more about the project, please email connect@kaizenartsagency.org

Beautiful Interruptions
Part of our ongoing research and interventions on social regeneration in our city, Beautiful Interruptions is an invitation for York Citizens to ‘talk to strangers’. This project begins with a set of simple rules, and anyone is invited to take part and play. All you have to do is open the door, and see where it leads. Our first event, taking place during York Design Week, ‘Dinner with Strangers’ invites diners for a set menu at one of Yorks favourite restaurants, the catch is you can only buy one ticket.... To book your ticket, visit yorkdesignweek.com/events/dinnerwithstrangers

Yorks Favourite Colour
Inspired by the G F Smith Worlds Favourite Colour Report, an international study of colour, emotion and association, we thought it would be nice to ask if a place can be a colour? Colour is powerful. It can communicate a meaning, a feeling even an idea or a social construct. We think, it can tell you a lot about a place. To learn more about the Worlds Favourite Colour Project, come and listen to GF Smith presenting their report at York St John on the 25th October. Over August and September, York Design Week have been asking via an online survey (still time to vote until 14th October - yorkdesignweek.com) What is the Colour of York? Then, during the week and collaboration with York Architectural Association, as part of our exhibition of social design, we will be making a paper city installation. York residents are invited to craft a future vision of the city in the colour of York, using GF Smith Colorplan papers.

An Exhibition of Social Design - Spark, Platform Space
Driven by creative thinking and solutions to big problems, design is purposeful and powerful. This exhibition navigates the past present and future of design for social function, and explores this narrative through work from designers past and present, established and emerging. Tom Sander from Kaizen Arts Agency curates this interactive and inclusive exhibition, where the audience are invited to take part in the creation of objects, paper cities and playscapes. Designers will host talks and workshops in the space during the week - visit yorkdesignweek.com/events for more details.

Generate [playful data]
What is data and what does it mean? Generate helps us to visualise it, playfully… This interactive installation takes you on a journey through a series of arches. Under each arch you'll answer a question by feeding a ribbon through holes relating to multiple-choice answers. As more people engage with Generate, it slowly transforms into a tunnel of colour. This is a collaborative 3D visualisation of meaningful data that helps us to understand trends and perspectives from a diverse demographic.

For more information on York Design Week, please email connect@kaizenartsagency.org or call 07752211041

York Design Week is a grass roots, community driven event by design agencies working in York.
Instagram and Twitter @yorkdesignweek
Rebecca Carr - Kaizen Arts Agency
Owen Turner - United By Design
Richard Corrigan - Dog Eat Cog