Now that the dust has settled after our GREAT Week, I finally have the chance to reflect on what an incredible week (or, to be exact, 11 days) it was. Led by Sir John Sorrell, UK Business Ambassador for the Creative Industries, this year’s GREAT Week involved the largest-ever UK delegation to Mexico – representing 70 companies in the Airports, Art, Design and Music sectors – taking part in the biggest programme of events our UKTI team have ever organised. And the results have surpassed all expectations, with the global audience from the various GREAT Week events totalling over 7.5 million people and contracts for delegates already being reported.
Organising four separate sector missions around one programme was always going to be a challenge! But the hard work of the teams in Mexico and the UK paid off, with an extraordinary schedule of events arranged throughout the GREAT Week for each of the sectors. As guest of honour at Design Week Mexico the UK was represented by some of the best-known names from the world of design; delegates from the UK airports sector held a range of meetings with potential customers including Mexico’s largest airline, the leading airports operator and the Ministry of Transport and Communications; the GREAT Campaign-branded UK stand at the Affordable Art Fair sold works from more than 20 British artists; and our delegation of music executives were introduced to distributors and agents from the Mexican music industry. And UK artists including Massive Attack, Damon Albarn and Sam Smith played the Corona Capital music festival. It was quite a week!
One of the highlights for me was the fantastic ‘Design House’ – a previously abandoned building in the suburbs of Mexico City which 20 international designers gave a makeover to, turning it into a showcase of contemporary interior design. From the UK, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Tom Dixon and Matthew Hilton added their unique touches to their rooms, demonstrating some of the best of UK design to the house’s 10,000 visitors.
And of course, around each of the events the UKTI Mexico team organised market briefings, sector meetings, and networking opportunities for the delegates – including a VIP reception at the Ambassador’s residence, a roundtable with Mexican art and design students on the future of the design industry, and a visit to Guadalajara to witness the growing Creative Industries opportunities in Mexico’s second city.
Early feedback from delegates shows that the GREAT Week has already helped to secure contracts for some of the companies involved; with several million pounds of further contracts expected as a result of the introductions made throughout the week. On top of this, the GREAT Week has also helped to further cement the UK’s reputation here in Mexico as a world leader for Design, Architecture, Art and Creative Industries – with unprecedented media coverage including interviews with state television, newspapers and radio, as well as a Google ‘Hangout’ (live internet broadcast) with UK fashion designer Fhernando Colunga that was watched by over three million people worldwide.
You can see a roundup of all the activities in the highlights video below. Hopefully it’ll give a flavour of just how GREAT the Week was!