Following the cancellation of most events in 2020, Design Manchester (DM20) went virtual and innovatively used this opportunity to promote global collaboration. Open Collab 2.0 involved 200 participants from cities across the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. The workshop was developed by Patrick Thomas, Jonathan Auch and Max Wohlleber, encouraging learning and sharing knowledge; all participants responding to the theme of ‘Go Global, Stay Local’. Being interpreted uniquely by individuals, the general direct was lockdown, the pandemic and how the internet is being used during this time.

Image and text layers were created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator before being uploaded to the online platform. This content was then layered, creating unpredictable juxtapositions that imitate Thomas’ experimental overprinting style.

Following the workshop participants were encouraged to share their work on Instagram using #GoGlobalStayLocal #Open_Collab and #DesignMCR. This workshop connected designers through video calls, instant messaging and interaction with social media, using the hyper-connected world positively to motivate and create a sense of community. Going remote improved accessibility, eliminating transport issues that would potentially come with a physical in-person workshop. Open Collab 2.0 is a prime example of how design can be adapted to work online while encouraging collaboration.

One of my aims during second year is to participate in more things and as more workshops go virtual it allows me to attend more events. Although I’m sure an in-person workshop would be even more exciting, it is nice to be able to participate from my home. This workshop particularly created a sense of community on social media as from this there were several participants following me and tagging me in posts on Instagram. It was exciting to see compilations of my work that I had missed during the session and also seeing others. Additionally, it is inspiring to see other students Instagram accounts to see work that they are producing during their studies.