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01 May 2019

Product design students tackle social issues at the RSA Student Design Awards

Two of Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Product Design students have been shortlisted for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Student Design Awards — a global competition challenging students to respond to design briefs which tackle social, environmental and economic issues.

Aleksandra Borowska was among seven shortlisted in the ‘Hidden Figures’ category, which challenged entrants to ‘design a way to break down the physical, organisational or attitudinal barriers that people with hidden disabilities or impairments face in society, to enable them to live their lives to the full.’ Aleksandra responded with Empathise — an ‘empathy app’ for architects and designers, helping them to understand autism during their design process and allowing them to experience some of the issues that people on the autism spectrum face in their daily lives.

Josie Skinner was among eight shortlisted in the ‘Beyond the Kitchen Table’ category, asking students to design an ‘inclusive kitchen product or spatial solution that enables people of diverse ages and needs to prepare and eat food, entertain, engage in hobbies or work and enjoy life together.’ She responded to the brief with ‘SmartHob’ a kitchen table top which features an electromagnetic induction hob which can be removed when not in use. The idea developed when Josie conducted research which found that a majority of people report struggling with kitchen surface space.

Commenting, Andrew Marsh, Co-Course Leader for BA (Hons) Product Design said: “Josie and Aleksandra have done a fantastic job interpreting the briefs set by the RSA. They both thought creatively about how design is best placed to respond to social challenges, realising their ideas with professionalism and technical skill. I wish them both the very best of luck!”

The shortlisted entrants will be invited to present their designs to the respective judging panels for their category, before the winners are announced in May.

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