The Morecambe Bay Project was a speculative design project, in collaboration with Aedas architects, that explored the future potential of Morecambe in 2030.

“Maybe we forgot that seaside towns were meant to be the escape from long working hours, smoggy cities, and ceaseless traffic. This place is perfect. Flat. Ideal to walk or cycle. Fresh air, sea breeze, big skies, big view. The Spa, on the front, that’s part of the new hotel has a pool that projects to the edge of the Bay, like an infinity pool. No wonder health nut Oliver Hill, the architect of the Midland designed his modernist hotel here. You can almost hear him say, ‘Morecambe? It restores the spirit.'”

In taking a co-design approach, the project engaged community stakeholders in imagining the future potential of Morecambe in 2030. The process began with a natural visual representation of the community’s vision for the future of Morecambe Bay Front, which used sea shells as artefacts collected from the beach and presented them alongside a scaled schematic of the sea front of Morecambe. The participants then placed the sea shells on the plan and described what each shell represented in their vision of Morecambe’s future, including features such as a new art gallery or an extended lido. The use of natural materials in this way acted as a device to encourage imagination and creativity in envisioning the future of the bay.

“The public spaces around this area of Central Morecambe have been built on standards set by the Tern Project. There’s always been a good feel for art in Morecambe. Why wouldn’t there be, Morecambe is to the brush, what the Lakes are to the pen. The new spaces to create and exhibit that were built near to the Midland, and the new Fine Art Centre for the University of Cumbria have really enlivened the arts community. You can’t walk along the prom’ without seeing someone with a sketchbook or camera. That’s what I love about Morecambe; it has texture.”

The ideas generated from the co-design process were developed into a written narrative, a speculative future story, guided in collaboration with architecture writer, Phil Griffin, which set a collaborative aspiration of what Morecambe could be. The final writing and co-created shell artwork were publicly exhibited to encourage debate and feedback, inspiring further engagement with the community.

“The Stone Jetty makes a great stage, and so does the new sweep of promenade extension, that springs out from the jetty, and loops back to the prom’ just by the theatre. This is quite a surprising walk over water, like the ramps in the Penguin House at London Zoo. And just across from it is the vibrant Marina that serves fishermen and sailing enthusiasts, some who sail to Morecambe from their training quarters round the bay in Capernway.”

The Morecambe Bay project was a collaboration that allowed the community to come together to imagine the future of their seaside town. The outcome was an inspiring vision for Morecambe, rooted in the values and aspirations of the community.  The result was a shared vision of a vibrant, thriving, and sustainable Morecambe, one that aims to capture the imagination and spirit of both its residents and visitors alike.

“Everything fits with the natural beauty that surrounds Morecambe. Panoramic views. Light or dark, Morecambe has the most beautiful backdrop. The architecture clicks so well. Views from every position. And if you want to take a closer look, drop into the Observatory, adjacent to the Bay Discovery Centre, or hire one of the snug bird huts that sit on stilts between the rocks.”


Collaborators: Art Direction: Debbie Goldsmith. Narrative: Phil Griffin. Graphic Design: Darryl Hardman

An Appreciation

Anthony Wilson passed away on August 10th, 2007. 

For those lucky enough, including myself, to work for Tony, it was like embarking on a new journey of discovery. I was hired at Factory Records straight out of university in 1998, long after its heyday and I soon learned that working for Tony was an education in itself.

In his company, I found myself immersed in a new language. I listened intently to his conversations, watched his reactions, and marvelled at his ability to engage and entertain. In his black Jaguar, we would travel up and down the motorway, and he would regale me with tales from the fall of Babylon to the Spanish Inquisition, the War of the Roses to William the Silent, and the future of digital music that no one else at the time could imagine. For me, it was like working for Merlin.

One of the fondest memories I have of Tony was the night we missed a gig and ended up sitting in a service station near Northampton reading the first draft script for the film 24 Hour Party People – a story written about his life by the brilliant Frank Cottrell Boyce. Tony played Tony Wilson and I played everybody else. I’ve never laughed so much, and I realized just how amazing and incredible his life had been. I felt truly privileged to have spent time with him.

Tony was devoured by curiosity, waking up every morning with a sense of purpose and eagerness to see 

what adventures the day would bring. As Truman Capote once said, ‘if you’re a special person, you need to lead a special life,’ and Tony embodied this belief like no one else. For Tony, anything was possible, and he exuded confidence in himself and his opinions, which made the people around him feel sure too.

Despite his larger-than-life personality, Tony was humble and approachable. He was willing to discuss his weaknesses and would mischievously take the blame for everything. He was wonderfully pretentious, using his intelligence and wit with an open heart that drew others in. As one online dedication since his passing put it, ‘around my poxy sink estate, pretentious was the new glue-huffing thanks to T Wilson.’ He was a true renaissance man, able to discuss Plato and Kafka as easily as Rugby League.

When Tony needed to turn it on and make his intelligence felt, he could do so with ease. Once, while watching a young, unsigned band perform at the back of a small venue, we were surrounded by London music industry types who weren’t paying attention. When one of them leaned over and said, ‘yeah Tony, they’re good, but I can’t hear the single,’ Tony paused, moved forward, and peered over his glasses. He replied in a calm but firm tone, ‘Yes, that’s because they haven’t written it yet.’ He then quoted Marcel Proust: ‘The reason for which a work of genius is not admired easily at first is that those who have erected it are extraordinary, that few resemble…’

Tony made you proud to be from Manchester.

He was a man of stature and fame, yet incredibly humble to those he was close to. I remember watching him carry box after box of brochures into the Palais in Cannes. As a junior, I kept saying, ‘don’t worry, I’ll do it,’ but he wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, he wanted to help, and as he set off with the final load, he whispered, ‘oh, you should know, darling, to quote Hegel, the mode of production determines the mode of consciousness.’ I should have known there was a deeper reason behind his actions.

His humility extended to his achievements, as he was never a big fish in the small pond of Manchester. His Manchester was Manchester, the World, and to know how respected he was, one had to walk into the hall of the New Music Seminar in New York and watch Tony try in vain to finish a conversation as he was constantly interrupted by the greats of the music industry, people like Roger Ames, Seymour Stein, the masters of the music universe, who were in awe of our Mr Wilson. In the global music industry, Tony will be remembered in line with the great music mavericks like McLaren, Ostin, Philips, and Ertegun, incredible people that changed the face of the industry by bringing their huge intelligence and spirit to the simple art form of popular music.

Every second I spent in his company was a true adventure. I owe him a great deal. 

Having a mentor is a true blessing, and Tony was the best. As the saying goes, ‘a person dies twice: once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken.’ Tony’s name will continue to be spoken for years to come, and I’m honoured to have been a part of his life.

Tony Wilson was a mentor, a friend, a renaissance man, and a visionary. 

Venceremos, W. And thank you,

Warren Bramley

Factory Records. 1998 to 2002.


This piece first appeared in the Creative Times magazine.

Born Of Attention

Born of Attention was a design exhibition at The London Design Festival that aimed to explore the reality of information overload, examining the concept of attention and its significance in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

As Michael Eysenck and Herbert Simon, amongst other theorists, have pointed out, attention is a constant negotiation between our current point of focus and other alternative stimuli. The negotiation is particularly intriguing because we are not often conscious of the processes of selectivity and capacity that govern it. 

As part of the exhibition, a multi-tasking virtual reality experience tested visitors’ abilities to process multiple streams of information simultaneously. This immersive experience aimed to shed light on the cognitive demands of modern technology and the impact it has on our attention span and ability to focus.

“In practical terms, we see our ‘mental models’ only when something refuses to conform to them. This is the business proposition of magicians and conjurers. They exploit our cognitive limits. They learn to train our selectivity and to work around our capacity. More deeply, mental models can be understood as reflecting our entire understanding of complex things, like our work, friendships and family. Our social relationships sometimes stumble or fail when a person does not conform to a mental model that is held about them (‘I did not expect him to behave like that’). The representation is not the same as the reality.”

In addition, the exhibition hosted a specially commissioned interactive film piece by performance artist, Jenny Lee. The piece explored the relationship between attention and perception, inviting the audience to question what it truly means to ‘pay attention’ in a world where distractions are ever-present. 

“It is not just in Psychology that we hear about the nature of Attention. In Art and Literature, major figures have long ruminated upon it, often invoking their struggles to build creative attention in the artistic process. Here is Henry David Thoreau warning of the perils of that interrupt system:  “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”

Born of Attention sought to challenge visitors’ perceptions of attention and its role in shaping our lives and relationships with technology, and to reflect on the demands of modern life and consider the importance of mindful attention in a world that is constantly vying for our attention.

Collaborators: Research: Rebecca Welsh. Graphics: Olivia Tirard. Animation: Sabina Dallu and Olly Starkey. Set installation: Glen Wearmouth. Contributing Writer: Professor Peter Kwalek. Programme Leader: Becky Lyon. Performance Art: Jenny Lee

Create A Highway

‘If You Create A Highway’ was an exhibition designed and curated as part of Clerkenwell Design Week that explored the fluid frameworks that define human relationships and the impact of innovation and technology on these relationships. The exhibition was inspired by the ideas of South Korean artist Nam June Paik, who is renowned for his innovative use of video and electronic technology in his artworks. The quote “if you create a highway” is often attributed to Paik and reflects his belief in the power of technology to shape and influence our experiences and relationships.

“More generally and still more profoundly: that which is human is also technological. It was always this way. The dualism between the human and the technological is called ‘sociomateriality’ by Wanda Orlikowski, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). To your grandparents or your great-grandparents, a refrigerator or television was ‘tech.’ To their grandparents, electricity was unfathomable in its possibilities. Once, all things were new. To us, now, robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain are ‘tech’. But soon they won’t be. They will be just another part of the material of life. We’ll have utilized them, integrated them and made some sense of them. And we will have changed something of ourselves in that process.”

The exhibition aimed to bring these ideas to life by encouraging visitors to react, interpret, and contribute to the research through digital and visual interactions. Performance poet Ross Sutherland created a short film that was featured as part of the exhibition, layering parts of the video ethnography with his own unique observations.

The research focused on interviews conducted in several London locations, where participants were asked to describe the last piece of media on their phones. Through these interviews, the research aimed to pick up cues and coincidences of the culture and explore the way in which people give meaning to their experiences. The exhibition hoped to spark a conversation about the sociomateriality of technology and how it is changing our lives, from the intimate to the grand, the economic to the private interest.

“Everyone now can report some little flicker of change – some new pattern to their life brought by internet technology – and for some of us these flickers add up to a sky. Some of us are crazy enough to see a panorama in the tick-tacks of change, a pattern that links every little story into a new culture that still has its own long way to travel. This culture is new and just forming. It is all about us now, as much ethereal as it is in the road underneath. The whole of life is changing, a new too-huge vaulting plain has opened up around us, and we race like specks of electricity into it.”

The exhibition continued the conversation about the intersection of technology and human relationships that Nam June Paik had started. By encouraging visitors to react, interpret, and contribute to the research, the exhibition aimed to spark a deeper understanding of the impact of technology on our lives and how we can shape our experiences and relationships in the digital age.

Collaborators: Research: Rebecca Welsh, Louis Papaloizou and Stephanie Turner. Graphics and Set Design: Darryl Hardman. Set Installation: Tim Warren. Contributing Writer: Professor Peter Kawalek. Programme Leader: Becky Lyon. Poetry: Ross Sutherland. Project Manager: Sinead McCarthy.

We Sailed From The Apex

“We Sailed From The Apex” was an exhibition at the London Design Festival that provided an opportunity to explore the diverse aspects of collaboration in design and to contemplate the value of embracing individuality and diversity in the creative process.

The goal was to stimulate reflection on the collaborative process, and I contributed a personal reflection on the importance of diversity of thought in creative collaboration. All of the personal reflections were printed on repurposed sail material, crafted by the Centre for Advanced Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art.


“We are all creatively unique and can only unite as complementaries not as similarities”

The title is a quote taken from an exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery I visited recently. It told the story of the creative relationship between the artists, and husband and wife, Ben and Winifred Nicolson. The exhibition demonstrated how their individual differences, as well as their similarities, contributed to the unique and powerful body of work they created together. 

Winifred’s statement, “We are all creatively unique and can only unite as complementaries, not as similarities,” speaks to the idea that the most successful and harmonious relationships, including creative partnerships, are ones in which individuals embrace their differences and use them to complement and enhance one another, rather than striving for uniformity.

Reflecting on a project from earlier in my career as a designer, I had the opportunity to work with the late Paul Robertson, the virtuoso violinist and founder of the acclaimed Medici String Quartet. I asked Paul how the Quartet’s intense creative collaboration had lasted the test of time, and he explained his theory of the power of different but complementary personality types.

“I am a classic Cleric. When in doubt, I lead. I never suffer from indecisiveness,” Paul told me. 

The Quartet’s cellist is a classic Phlegmatic, doing everything to make others happy. He would tune his cello out of tune to please others. 

Our first violinist was a Sanguine. Constantly spontaneous. Always popping off for an offer at the local market. Flawless but for one exception: he is always sight-reading. 

The second violinist was a Melancholic. A perfectionist: patient, thoughtful, painstaking. But after a wonderful performance where I thought we had almost ‘touched God’, she would say: ‘you rushed a bit in bar 33.

The story of the Medici Quartet illustrates the beauty of bringing together individuals with diverse personalities and abilities. Working in harmony, they were able to create something truly exceptional. 

As Paul concluded, “but together, as a quartet, we were perfect.”


Additional credits: Graphics: Darryl Hardman. Set Design: Harriet Paterson, Charlotte Bentley and Olly Starkey. Soundtrack: Jon Wilkinson. Lighting: Michael Straun. Set installation: Tim Warren. Project Director: Pip Roche.

Go Tell Fire

The following was written as the forward to the book WU LYF: The Archives published in July 2022.



Last November, in the Peak District National Park, my 5-year-old daughter and I waited patiently. After hours of anticipation in the crisp, chilly air, we witnessed something magnificent – a murmuration of starlings. Hundreds of birds suddenly appeared from the hedgerows and flew in a synchronized dance, creating intricate patterns and shapes against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. After a few moments of magic, the birds dispersed and flew back to their habitats, until the next time they wished to dance together.


The story goes that WU LYF split up in 2012 after the release of their debut album Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, but to me, as someone who shared the journey with them from 2009, calling it a split is too obvious, too much of a cliché for a quartet of artists who pushed themselves to think differently from everyone else.

‘But why would we do that, War?’ they’d ask.

And every time, I would think, ‘Yeah, why would we?’

It was apparent in everything they did:

A young Manchester band that had a total lack of interest in Manchester music nostalgia.

A band that ignored the clamour for a London show when the hype hit:

‘Where do you want to play then?’

‘Hyères, France?’

A band that refused interviews with national publications until they were ready to speak.

A band that turned down the safe comforts of a recording studio, with experienced hands on the desk controls, to hire a cold and derelict church to record their first-ever album on their own with a few mates for company.

A band that declined record label advances to form their own crowdfunded collective known as the LYF. [1]

To Evans, Tom, Ellery, and Joe, WU LYF was never something to be programmed – album cycles, release dates, contractual obligations – it wasn’t meant to be forecast or predicted. To them, it had to be more organic than that. They wanted their own ecosystem, one in which they were free to create as they desired.

When they started out, when no one was interested, it was just them, creating for fun.

When the conditions changed, they left the stage.

Joe, Evans, Warren, Ellery and Tom. Album release day. 11th June 2011. Paris, France.


This coming together of the 10th-anniversary reissue of Go Tell Fire and the magical collation of this book has all been done by people who were there at the start, all with a deep affection for each other. We’ve shared memories, photos, and anecdotes; it’s been immensely enjoyable – a shared experience and a whole bunch of positive self-reflection.

Like the time I collected Jon, my good friend and partner in the adventure, from the train station in Manchester, and we strolled over to An Outlet. We walked in, and the band was waiting with a surprise for us. The surprise was Concrete Gold – the first time we heard it, live, in a tiny coffee shop. It sounded holy.

And when Ellery and I walked through the streets of Brussels late one night after a gig – in the rain to add to the cinematic effect – him questioning the world, as great artists do, and us talking about the cooperative roots of the photographer, Robert Capa.

Or the many conversations I had in my office with members of the band – and the truths of youth always. ‘War, you’re just as much an idiot as we are,’ he said. Very true, Tom, WU LYF’s musical craftsman.

Or the late-night dinner with Joe, the quiet soul of the band, the actual soul of the band, who asked me what the genius of WU LYF was. When I said that I was unsure, he stated categorically, ‘Evans Kati.’ To that, I agreed.

And Evans, one evening in London, after the band had fragmented, and he was reflecting on all they had achieved. He said, ‘Don’t worry War, it’s not over yet.’ I have the picture he sent me framed on my desk.

For that moment, though, it was over.

But then WU LYF was never meant to be a permanent feature in the night sky.

Instead, it was nothing more than pure artistic expression from a bunch of lads from the north of England, who had the ability to leave a lasting impression on anyone that saw them, heard them, or experienced them.

WU LYF were magnificent.

And I hope this book reminds them, all four of them, of just how magnificent they truly were.

Enjoy the read.


[1] The LYF would now be known as a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation or a DAO for short.


La Blogotheque presents – Live at La Mécanique Ondulatoire

BBC Culture Show – Manchester International Festival

The Drone, Paris