Coca Cola design guru set to return to roots at industry conference

Thirst for design: James Sommerville will be talking to delegates at the Design Conference via video link.
Thirst for design: James Sommerville will be talking to delegates at the Design Conference via video link.
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The vice president of global design for the Coca Cola Company is returning to his Huddersfield roots to headline the first ever Design Conference to be held in the town.

James Sommerville, who began his career as a street artist, will deliver his keynote speech via live video link from his Atlanta base.

He will talk to 200 delegates about his journey from chalking pavements in Britain to establishing his own design studio.

Mr Sommerville will also talk about some of his acclaimed work for famous brands including Sony, Heineken and Schweppes, as well as the reason why he still champions Yorkshire design, despite living on the other side of the Atlantic.

Darren Evans, co-founder of Wilson’s Republic, which is organising the event, said: “There is no shortage of both budding and established talent across
the North, and Huddersfield’s location in the very centre – 
not to mention the town’s history of world class invention and creativity – makes it a befitting
destination for this inaugural event.

“Although it was logistically difficult to get James over to Huddersfield, the fact he wanted to speak is a great boost for us and just shows how much respect exists for design in this region.

“By bringing inspiring speakers together in a relaxed, collaborative environment, we’re hoping to help further stimulate the profile of design, in what is becoming a very prolific part of the UK, for the arts sector as a whole.”

The Design Conference will take place at Bates Mill, a converted textiles mill and venue for the cultural sector, in Huddersfield on October 5. It is the conception of Wilson’s Republic.