In this story, we've brought together the best events and shows for creatives from around the UK – and a few major ones you might want to consider booking a trip to. We've included the best exhibitions to inspire you, conferences to help build your skills and trade shows to learn about the latest technology that could help you push your work into new areas.
We kick off with 7 exhibitions and conferences that are on right now – followed up a selection of the best forthcoming events and shows that you're going to want to book in advance and plan for.
Science Museum, London Until September 3
The Science Museum's latest exhibition offers both visual inspiration from 500 years of robots – and a chance to see how modern synthetic humanoids are impacting our world.
The exhibition begins by exploring the history of robots whose purpose was to exist within artforms – from early religious automata and a beautiful clockwork swan to a life-sized Maria from
Metropolis' (shown) and even a Terminator. From here, it explores how real robots can see, move and even track you around the room.
It finishes with a hall of modern robots, some of which you can interact with – including the utterly charming 'child robot' Pepper, Honda's Asimo, and Zeno R25 (which mimics your expressions). What stays in your mind the most after you leave is the robot baby that's stuck to a wall at the exhibition's entrance – which is incredibly lifelike and a study in creepiness.
The Museum of Brands, London Until June 25
Showcasing 10 well-known television ads from the last 50 years, this exhibition at The Museum of Brands focuses on how gender stereotypes in advertising have changed.
The run of events will begin on International Women’s Day, followed by talks on gender in advertising and a special Mother’s Day event.
There will also be a commissioned short film launched called
10 from 50: Changing Trends of Female Representation in TV Commercials. Advertising campaigns featured in the film include the Fairy Liquid advertisement from the 60s showing a mother and daughter doing dishes, the P&G's Always Like a Girl (2004) and Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign showing a diverse range of women playing sport.
Find out more at the
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.
Middlesborough May 22 - 26
This five-day conference is well worth marking on the calendar if you’re an animator or seriously pursuing a career in animation. This year's speakers include director of cinematography and layout at Disney Animation Studios, Rob Dressel, and John Seru, Bradley Flloyd of Industrial Light & Music (ILM) talking about
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and faces from well-known VFX house Framestore talking about their work on the latest Alien film - Alien: Covenant.
The festival also gives students the chance to network with senior directors, producers and animators in the animation and games industry. Festival-goers can get involved in workshops, exhibitions and the Animex Screen and Awards.
For tickets and more information
May 23-25 London
Clerkenwell is the neighbourhood in London famous for housing numerous creative agencies, businesses and architects, making it an important design hub and yes, hipster central following Shoreditch.
Clerkenwell Design Week showcases UK and international brands and companies presented as a series of showroom events, exhibitions and special installations.
The third edition of Clerkenwell London's
Design Undefined will feature again, with artists Anthony Burrill and Michael Marriot's collaboration of a unique range of furniture, Jordan Soderbergh Mills’ perception-altering installation and furniture made from landfill-salvaged waste from AluSID.
London May 24-26
Describing itself as “three days of inspiration for UX designers”, UX London brings together an international group of industry leaders to lead workshops and talks.
Each day of the conference focuses on a different area of UX, allowing you either attend the entire conference or jump in and out as you please.
The first day will focus on digital product design, the second on the field of service design, and the last day investigates new platforms and modes of interaction.
London May 26-28
Although this London
audio visual performing arts festival isn’t strictly design or illustration, it explores exciting fresh genres of digital theatre, projection mapping, visual music and creative coding through a collection of live performances and cinema.
Alongside experimenting the overlapping fields of audio visual art and culture, the programme features worships, talks, panel discussions and of course, networking.
Berlin May 27 - 29
Typo 2017 is the place to go if you want to completely nerd out on typography and lettering. It's a packed three-day conference filled with illustrators, designers, typographers and other creative speakers alongside a bunch of helpful workshops.
This year's theme is 'Wanderlust', of which guests are open to interpret in their own way through trends in society, personal ideas or technical innovations.
The conference allows professional designers, brand consultants and publishing experts to thrash out discussions on everything from the current state of digital written communication, the demands of new output devices to new font products. This year, guest speakers include Oliver Jeffers, Erik Spiekermann, Julia Woolf, Debbie Millman and Dominic Wilcox.
For more information and tickets
Folkestone June 9
Nudgestock is an oddity – but is well worth attending if you're interested in how psychology underpins design, UX and branding. Created by ad agency offshoot Oglivy Change, it brings together a diverse set speakers around behavioural economics – the social science of how and why people make decisions over their lives from choosing between brands to deciding whether to see a doctor. Much doesn't seem directly linked to the creative industries – but you'll learn a lot about how people think (which really affects how they respond to your work).
Speakers this year include Meik Wiking, CEO of the The Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen and author of the very popular book
Little Book of Hygge, and – from the dark side of psychology – Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings (who should be interesting to hear from the day after the hastily called general election).
You can watch some of the talks from last year's Nudgestock in our story
5 Brilliant Talks on how Psychology Affects Design, UX, Branding, Marketing and Advertising.
London June 16-18
East London Comics & Arts Festival started in 2012 to celebrate works in comics and illustration, and now it attracts around 3,000 people each year, as the mediums move back into mainstream focus.
This year expect to see work from publishers, collectives and small press including Nous Vous, Yukai Du (image), Cachete Jack and Faber & Faber among upcoming talent.
The festival acts not only as a place for practitioners to have their work spotted, but an invitation to engage with international guest artists through talks, exhibitions, masterclasses and workshops.
Check out the full final selection of artists and the programme here. The first round of programmed tickets will be available from April 11.
SVA Chelsea Gallery, New York September 30 - November 4
Some of you may have seen illustrator
Christoph Niemann's episode on new Netflix design series Abstract, or follow his cheeky Instagram account, but SVA Chelsea Gallery will be showcasing never-before-seen work from his personal collection, including illustrations, magazine covers, animations and digital works in Chelsea College’s upcoming Master Series.
The Master Series: Christoph Riemann will celebrate the illustrator’s talent to capture the humorous side of life with only a few strokes. Recently, Christoph has released interactive apps Chomp and Petting Zoo, augmented reality covers for The New Yorker’s digital editions and a recent 360-degree illustrated essay for The New York Times on his visit to the Korean Demilitarised Zone.
The German-born illustrator worked for Google and the MOMA as well as a regular contributor to The New York Times. He’s published books such as Words, a visual dictionary for children, and Sunday Sketching.
The Master Series is a prestigious award and exhibition honouring visual communicators. Names of past Master Series include Massimo Vifnelli and Heinz Edelman.
Bristol October 6-7
This is a
brand new design festival making its way to Bristol this October, with headline speakers including Snask (in this image), Anthony Burrill and Wilfrid Wood.
The two-day festival will include creatives from a range of disciplines sharing stories, anecdotes and career advice, how to tackle creative briefs, finding inspiration and how to keep yourself stimulated outside of commercial work. Other speakers include
Trapped in Suburbia, Brendan Dawes and Gavin Strange.
The second day will be where festival-goers can participate in a number of workshops led by creatives held in venues across the city.
Koto, James Greenfield, says London is “guilty of dominating the design scene of the UK”, but with events like this, “the tide is changing”.
Keep an eye out for more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets go on sale at 10am on May 5, starting at £55 for a student. Something Good is organised by thread - a community interest company that organises creative events in Bristol.
Las Vegas, California October 16-20
MAX calls itself the "world's premier creativity conference". We'll happily join it in blowing its trumpet: designers, photographers, coders, illustrators, videomakers and developers converge to listen to inspiring speakers (this year's are yet to be announced, but last year included
Quentin Taratino and The Simpson's David Silverman), as well as sharpen their skills in sessions, labs and workshops.
You also might be among some of the first in the world to hear Adobe's big news. Read our feature on
Adobe's Project Felix app & Adobe XD for Windows, which was announced at Adobe Max 2017.
You can preregister for Adobe Max 2017
Dulwich Picture Gallery From October 25
Dulwich Picture Gallery has already announced an exhibition scheduled for Octobercelebrating the works of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomin characters and books.
The exhibition will showcase 150 works from Jansson’s life (1914-2001), including graphic illustration and paintings relatively unseen outside her home country of Finland.
Although Jasson received unprecedented success of the Moomin characters, as an artist and writer she didn’t want them to limit her freedom. The exhibition will showcase a large collection of self-portraits and paintings never seen before in the UK.
Tickets go on sale from February 6. The exhibition begins on October 25 and runs until January.
Image credits: (Top) Tove Jansson, Lynx Boa (Self-Portrait), 1974, Oil, 73 x 60.5 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis.
(Bottom) Tove Jansson, Illustration for the book Moominland Midwinter, c. 1956, scrape drawing on cardboard, 13 x 18,5 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen.
Tate Modern September 2018
A display of Picasso’s work from 1932 will be held in London and Paris – a “once in a lifetime” exhibition showcasing the pivotal year in Picasso’s life.
More than 100 works will be exhibited, including the famous Le Rêve (The Dream) as seen here – a desire-filled painting of Picasso’s young lover Marie- Thérèse Walter – and Juene Fille Devant un Miroir (Girl Before a Mirror), loaned from the Moma in New York.
It will be the first solo exhibition of Picasso’s work to be held in the Tate Modern in London. It will also be held at the Musee National-Picasso in Paris.
In 1932 Picasso cemented his famed status as the world’s most influential artist – a year where some of his best work was produced and where he staged his first retrospective. It was also a year where his love for Walter flourished and paintings reflecting this followed.
The show will also feature realist portraits Picasso made of his first wife and their son.
It’s expected to a rare chance to see the famous Picasso paintings together in on exhibition, which has been supported by the Picasso family, and with “stellar loans” from public and private collections.