Jose Teunissen greeting Bilbao’s Mayor, Juan Mari Aburto

A team of staff from LCF were invited to visit Bilbao by the Creative Industries Adviser to the Basque Government. The trip was organised by the British Consulate and UKTI Bilbao and was undertaken by José Teunissen (Dean of School of Design and Technology), Andrew Hughes (Dean of Fashion Business School) and Yesenia San Juan (International Office). The Basque Government is currently interested in supporting the development of the creative industries in the region and was interested in the work LCF delivers internationally and how this contributes to economic growth and creativity through skills development.

During the three days in the Basque Country, LCF met Bilbao’s Mayor, who was very interested in 4Fashion: the College’s move to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford in 2021 and the College’s involvement in community and regeneration activities that would bring skills, education and economic growth to the area. The team also had an opportunity to meet with representatives from the provincial Council and Counsellor for Economic Development and Employment, who paid special attention to the work that Centre for Fashion Enterprise delivers supporting fashion enterprises and the new fashion hub to be launched in Poplar next year.

There is a growing recognition of the value of the creative industries, which was reflected in meetings with Deusto Business School, who presented their new International Visual Arts Management course in partnership with the Guggenheim Museum and Mondragon University, who already hosts a footwear business in their innovative incubator in the heart of the city. The Dean of the Fashion Business School was particularly interested in learning about how the “Team Academy” methodology used by Mondragon University is applied to support new enterprises.

Photograph by Yesenia San Yuan

The LCF team with Maria Fitzpatrick (UKTI) and Derek Doyle (British Consul) at Deusto Business School

As part of the visit, LCF participated in a round table with industry practitioners, looking at the future of fashion in the region and the role of innovation, new technologies and engineering in fashion. The session was hosted by Tecnalia, the first raking Research, Development and Innovation (R+D+I) agency in Spain. LCF also met the Director of the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum, who is particularly interested in a collaboration with LCF’s MA Fashion Curation.