Partnership and collaboration run throughout the programme and activities of Design Manchester. We work across the creative industries, education and the cultural sector to support emerging talent, working collaboratively and connecting people across sectors, across the north and internationally.

We work closely with sponsors and partners to engage with the industry and the community, and to increase the visibility of Manchester as one of the world’s great cities of design and creativity. There is a range of opportunities for sponsoring the festival and for working with us as a partner in one or more of our programmes and events.

We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Co-op as our headline festival sponsors for the second year, working together to develop events and programmes to encourage and promote talent, skills development and career pathways in schools and the creative industries and to support our communities.

Manchester recognises the role of the creative industries, including culture, the media, design and architecture, in reinforcing the city’s distinctive identity. The city’s support for key initiatives has enabled the sector to become one of the fastest drivers of growth in the region. Manchester City Council has supported the festival since the first design showcase in the Town Hall in 2013.

Gold sponsors:

Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University helped found Design Manchester and remains one of its strongest supporters. The second oldest design school in Britain, Manchester School of Art is a pioneer of art and design education in the UK. Design Manchester works closely with the art school and many other faculties and departments across the university on a range of programmes, exhibitions and events during the festival and throughout the year.

G . F Smith offers paper products, special makes and bespoke services tailored to the needs of the creative industries. The company has been a strong supporter of Design Manchester from the outset, hosting workshops at print and design fairs and providing specialist papers for events and for our annual magazine, Document. This year, the company is also supporting the Fizzing at the Terminals, Orgasm Addict Reframed and Collecting Malcolm Garrett exhibitions, and organising workshops at the Design City Weekender.

Manchester Fashion Institute is a multidisciplinary partnership at Manchester Metropolitan University bringing together fashion expertise and talent from across the University, Manchester and the world. The Institute has strong links with fashion houses and the industry, delivering a range of specialist expertise and innovation.

Silver sponsors:

Digital and creative is at the heart of Auto Trader, the UK and Ireland’s largest digital automotive marketplace. Design thinking is central to innovation in how we work and how we transport ourselves; this partnership with Design Manchester reflects Auto Trader’s historic and growing links with the design community. A longtime committed sponsor of HOME, its neighbour in Tony Wilson Place, Auto Trader is delighted to support this year’s Design Manchester film series.

The University of Salford School of Arts & Media offers a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and popular music to online journalism, animation, communication design and performance. This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas. The School of Arts & Media is delighted to partner with Design Manchester with a series of exhibition and an examination of the future of creative careers.

Design Manchester has worked with the AHRC’s Creative Economy programme to connect research with industry and the design community by promoting the Council’s recent Immersive Experiences call. At this year’s festival AHRC_CE is sponsoring an innovation symposium in Architecture and the Public Realm, and another in Textiles and Fashion.

Fred Aldous in the Northern Quarter has been supplying Manchester creatives with art and craft materials and haberdashery for more than 150 years, and has supported Design Manchester since its inception including shop window exhibitions of Swifty in 2015 and Alan Kitching last year. This year, the Orgasm Addict Reframed project is featured in this iconic Stevenson Square location.

Hotel and Conference Partner:

With its clock tower and striking Victorian architecture, The Principal Manchester is an unmistakable landmark in the city’s skyline: a refuge in the capital of cool. A magnificent, terracotta Grade II listed building, the hotel has a history dating back to 1890, when it first opened as The Refuge Assurance Company headquarters. This year the Principal Hotel proudly hosts the Design Manchester Conference and is the official hotel partner for the festival.

Other event, venue and project partners this year include 53two, 7L Clothing, Aesop, Alphabet Brewery, Animation Nation, Arts Council England, Arts University Bournemouth, Arup Digital Studio, the BBC, Beyond 90, BDP Architects, Cass Art, Cheshire East Skills & Growth Company, City of Dublin, Common Good, Craft, Crowdfunding Centre, Danad Design, the Dancehouse, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs & White Space, English Fine Cottons, Floor Talks, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, HawkinsBrown Architects, Helen Storey Foundation, Hermès Paris, HOME Manchester, Hyper Island, Images&Co, Innovate UK, Instruct Studios, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, ITV, Kosmonaut, Lazerian, Lola Media, Lost Heritage, magneticNorth, Manchester Architects, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Central Library, Manchester Print Fair, Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester Youth Council, Marks and Spencer, Museum of Science and Industry, National Art&Design Saturday Club, National Football Museum, National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, National Science & Media Museum Bradford, North, O2 Ritz Manchester, OH OK LTD, OMA, Pentagram, PLANT NOMA, PLY NQ, Private White V.C., PRP Architects, Red Button, The Refuge, RIBA, Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, Special Collections Gallery, St. Michael’s Manchester, Sundae Communications, SWALK Creative, Texture, Then There Was Us, Transport for Greater Manchester, University of Bolton, University of Leeds, WEAVE, the Whitworth, Wilton Carpets and World-Building Media Lab.

Design Manchester works with numerous other partners, supporters, studios and volunteers, whose passion and enthusiasm reflect the positive role played by the design community in the life of the city and the region.


If you are interested in partnering or would like to explore options for becoming involved, get in touch here.