The Bicentenary Medal

Bicentenary Medal

Recognising outstanding contributions in design since 1954.

The RSA Bicentenary Medal was instituted in 1954 to commemorate the founding of the RSA over two hundred years earlier and has been awarded to a variety of individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of design in industry and society.

For over 260 years, the RSA has been at the forefront of promoting design through its competitions and awards, social and public improvement initiatives, education and professional training, furthering of the arts, and lobbying of government.

We remain, more than ever, committed to championing design as an enabler for creating a world where everyone can participate to create a better future. The Bicentenary Medal is one way of continuing to do just that. Historically, the medal has been awarded to inspirational designers because of their outstanding contribution to society. These include Andrea Cooper in 2015, Sir John Sorrell CBE in 1998, and Sir Terence Conran in 1982.

In 2021, the medal was awarded to a person who has made an outstanding and demonstrable contribution, through their design practice, towards an equitable and regenerative world where people and planet flourish hand-in-hand in the long-term.

This aligns with The RSA’s evolving ambitions for where design’s application is most needed today, in response to the climate emergency. It also coincides with the publishing of our recent research about the value of regenerative design to help transition to a thriving future.

2021 Medalist – Dr Daniel Christian Wahl

Dr Wahl works internationally as a consultant and educator in regenerative design, whole systems design and transformative innovation. His vast catalogue of forward-thinking work (notably his book Designing Regenerative Cultures) has inspired and enabled people from all walks of life to apply regenerative design to their own contexts. He has worked with individuals, organisations and communities globally to transform the regenerative design field from a specialist practice, into a widely recognised approach to help us transform our failing systems.

You can find out more about Daniel’s work here as well as by reading his articles Constructing a regenerative future and Sustainability is not enough: we need regenerative cultures, and exploring his LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Medal award ceremony: 7th December 2021

Dr Daniel Christian Wahl was awarded the 2021 Bicentenary Medal on Tuesday 7th December. Click below to watch a Replay of the event featuring a talk from Dr Daniel Christian Wahl.

The nomination process

As part of The RSA’s ongoing journey to adopt more inclusive and equitable practices, in 2021 we launched a semi-open nomination and review process. We invited a group of 10 nominators across our global community of fellows and partners to nominate up to 3 potential medallists each. Nominations are reviewed by a panel that include a Fellowship Councillor, a Master RDI, a partner, an SDA alumni, and members of The RSA leadership team. A recommendation is made to the RSA’s Nominations and Governance Panel for final approval.

Regenerative Futures

Discover more about this RSA programme which explores how we can create a future where people and planet flourish hand-in-hand.

Past Bicentenary Medal winners

From 1954 to present day, explore previous winners who have been recognised for their outstanding contribution in design.