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Student Design Awards briefing pack for educators

This pack provides a range of short films you can use to brief your students on the RSA Student Design Awards, along with a suggested running order for a briefing session.

Suggested running order

Our suggested running order for a briefing session using these films includes some recommended viewing, plus flexible sections where you can pick and choose the films you feel are most relevant to your group.

1. Setting the scene

The RSA (recommended viewing - 2:56 mins)

Design for social impact (recommended viewing - 4:02 mins)

2. Impact stories

Choose one or two films from the collection. Browse the film descriptions below and pick the films you feel are most relevant to your group.

3. The 2020-21 Design Briefs 

At this point we recommend you introduce the 2020-21 RSA Student Design Awards briefs to your students.

Setting the scene

The films in this collection provide an overview of the RSA, the RSA Student Design Awards, and some of our judges and sponsors’ perceptions on the design for social impact landscape.

Find out about the organisation behind the RSA Student Design Awards, and the range opportunities award winners can access through the RSA’s global Fellowship network.

Designers can play an important role in tackling complex problems – hear from some of our judges and partners about where they see the potential of design to make an impact.

Why enter the RSA Student Design Awards? Explore the life-changing impact of the awards through candid reflections from past winners.

Insider insights

These films provide advice from judges and the RSA team on how to create a compelling submission and behind-the-scenes footage of the judging process and Awards Ceremony.

What are the judges looking for? And how does the judging work? This film combines tips and advice from judges and the RSA team with candid behind-the-scenes footage from judging sessions.

Behind-the-scenes bonus footage from the 2017 Awards Ceremony – award winners from 1982, 2011 and 2017 discuss their experiences of working in design roles at different stages of their careers, and how the awards have influenced their professional journeys.

Impact stories

This collection captures stories from participants and alumni spanning different disciplines and generations, including images of their winning work, and reflections on the impact the experience had on their lives and careers.

Ben Terrett, RDI, designer and CEO at Public Digital, shares his experience of winning an award in 1997 and how it landed him his first job.

Elena Dieckmann won an award with her team mate Ryan Robinson in 2016. Elena explains how winning the award supported them in taking their project forwards and launching it as a business.

An insight into one winners’ paid placement award. 2018 winner Gabriella de Rosa won a 3-month placement at Kinneir Dufort as part of her award – find out how she got on...

2017 winner Nelson Noll reflects on the capabilities he developed and the opportunities he accessed through winning an RSA award.

2014 winner Oliver Brunt looks back on how he developed and refined his solution to make it as robust as possible – and how that led to a job with one of the sponsors.

2017 winner Pippa Bridges reflects on the design process she went through, the personal impact of winning, and the array of opportunities she’s accessed through the RSA.

Sanjan Sabherwal, now a Policy Designer at Policy Lab, entered the RSA Student Design Awards twice as a student. He didn’t get shortlisted or win an award, but Sanjan explains how through the process of working on the RSA briefs, he developed insights and portfolio pieces that shaped his career.

Tom Tobia, 2003 winner and co-founder of Makerversity, shares his journey from winning the award to setting up his own business – and how his career took a big left turn when he picked up the RSA brief.

2012 winner Rebecca Penmore describes how she approached the brief, explains her winning project, how her career has unfolded since – from a placement award leading to a job at Pentagram, and later setting up her own design studio.

Design briefs

See all the 2020-21 design briefs