Winners 20-21 - RSA

Student Design Awards Winners 2020-21


Judging is now complete and we are pleased to announce the winners of the RSA Student Design Awards 2021!

Finalists completed a series of interviews in May and our judging panels selected the top entries for each brief. The high quality and range of entries was impressive, particularly with all the challenges presented by Covid-19. With the judges' feedback and support, some students are continuing to develop their ideas further. If you are interested in collaborating with or speaking to any of the winners, reach out to the SDA team at [email protected]

2020-21 RSA Student Design Award Winners:

1. Redistributing health 

How might we design systems that provide seamless and cost-effective access to quality health services for underserved communities?

Philips Award of £2,000
Dhyani Parekh, BDes. Product Design, Graduate, National Institute of Design, India
Mitigating Antimicrobial Resistance: A systems-oriented set of resources and tools for communicating about risk and disease prevention related to human and animal health.

Highly Commended

Caitlyn Yu, Carrie Dam, Erica Sua, Gina Hsu and Jessie Huang,
BA Design and Product Management, University of Waterloo, Global Business and Digital Arts, Canada
Medley: An online web platform offering accessible sex education and resources targeting LGBTQ+ youth.

2. A new leaf

How might we utilise local woodland resources to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic activity?

Joint Winners, John Makepeace Award of £2,000 

Harry Peck, BA 3D Design, Northumbria University, England
Raw Furniture: A sustainable timber furniture range grown and crafted in Cornwall utilising an array of tree species and their unwanted offcuts, with a manufacturing process committed to supporting and celebrating the diversity of local woodlands.

Marianna Lordou, BSc Product Design, University of Dundee, DJCAD, Scotland
Potium: A biodegradable plant-pot made from converted infected waste from mandatory felling measures in response to Phytophthora Ramorum (tree disease), creating environmental and financial growth from suffering woodlands.

Highly commended:

Zil Shah, BA Product Design, University of Dundee, DJCAD, Scotland
IMLI: A sustainable material alternative made entirely out of otherwise discarded tamarind shells & seeds. It aims to create awareness of the hardships involved in farming minor forest products.

3. Bridging the divide 

How might we harness social media to bridge societal divides by supporting social connection, collective action and reducing polarisation?

Twitter Award of £2,000

Izzy Tippins, Ella Coldray (Watson) and Jared Appleton, University of the West of England, BA Graphic Design, England
Hacked!: A board game for 8 -11 year olds that educates and informs youth on the ways algorithms can shape our everyday lives, and how to combat them.

Highly Commended

Yuan Lynn Tai, Amirul Firdaus Bin Sani and Joselin Piay Jia Min, BA Design Communication, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
PrePair: An educational and fun parenting tool to encourage the practice of healthy cyber-habits, preparing the future generation of children and parents for a safer online environment.

Tianli Hu, Msc Integrated Product Design, Brunel University London, England
Ambient: A smart wearable device that deters polarisation in social media using technology and sound to prevent impulsive actions led by negative mood.

Hanna Hoch, Brunel University London, MSc Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Design, England
COSM: A virtual world designed to connect community members and support the local economy by promoting online and offline interaction via digital gameplay.

4. The right to breathe

How might we ensure that everyone living in areas with poor air quality is guaranteed their right to clean air?

Circular Design Lab Award of £2,000

Emily VanderMey, Liz Wang and Samantha Tung,
MDes Interaction Design, California College of the Arts, USA; MFA Interaction Design, School of Visual Arts, USA; BSc User Centred Design, Loughborough University, England
Pulsair: A wearable sensor that collects worker data, teaches workers ways to protect themselves and reduce their pollution output, and informs companies how to create cleaner work environments and reduce costs.

NCR Placement Award

Emma Brookes, BA Graphic Design, University of Portsmouth, England
Kuki: An air quality pet for young children, which uses gamification techniques to inspire, engage and encourage the adoption of positive behaviours, creating responsible adults that will reduce air pollution in the future and inspire long term change.

Highly Commended:

Tai Rosemin, BA Design, Lancaster University, England
Crystal Hive: A radical service proposal that transforms Thailand’s sugar industry into a sustainable closed-loop system using advancements in vertical farming technology and eco-friendly manufacturing practices.


Aaron Conneely and Enya Carroll, BA Product Design, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland
Re Place: An alternative solution to traditional home hearths, which requires direct user interaction and acts as a social space and homage to our heritage.

5. Material world

How might we apply biomimicry to create textiles, processes or systems that enhance nature?

Joint Winner, Biomimicry Institute Award of £1500

Kerri Cooper, MSc Healthcare and Design, Graduate, Imperial College London, England
ReDress: A plant-based medical textile made from wood-pulp bioplastic that can reduce waste and be used in the management of complex wounds.

Joint Winner, Biomimicry Institute Award of £500

Katie Allen, MA Textiles, Graduate, Bath Spa University, England
Soil-to-soil Knitwear, Farm to Finished Product: A regenerative farming operation and clothing line that uses minimal textile production methods to create sustainable wearables from a flock of rare breed sheep.

Highly Commended:

Monique Wiesner and Lorcan Looney, BA Product Design, National College of Art and Design, Ireland
Denim soul: A shoe making kit for the creative consumer that enables them to upcycle used denim into fresh custom footwear.

Xuefei Bu: MA Textiles, Chelsea College and Art and Design, England
Microfiber Filter: An affordable and sustainable air purifier that can be attached to industrial and domestic sewing machines to reduce textile industry workers’ exposure to indoor microfiber dust.

6. Home sweet home

How might we harness age-friendly design to 'future-proof' homes so they are sustainable, safe and inclusive places to live and enjoy?

Centre for Ageing Better Award of £2,000

Athul Dinesh, Graduate, MDes in Universal Design, Graduate, National Institute of Design, India
Four Walls: An app and service design concept which helps individuals to update their homes by signposting accessible home design options.

Highly Commended:

Frankie Woolf and Leonie Woolf, BA Interior Design, Graduate, Northumbria University ; Computer Science with Innovation, University of Bristol, England
Nifty Wall: A product that reimagines internal home partitions as tools to support community and wellbeing, creating adaptable multi-generational living environments.

7. For the long time

How might we encourage people and community to think and act for the long term?

Joint winners, The Long Time Project Award of £1000

Liana O’Cleirigh and Renata Dima, BA Interaction Design, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland
Granted: A digital tool to help migrant community organisations grow by guiding them through the process of funding, capacity building, and handover.

Sarah Heffernan, MA Service Design, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland
The Futures of Food: A speculative design project applying long time thinking to our food culture and eco-system, to shift the restaurant industry model towards a circular, regenerative collective.

Joint winners, Natracare Award of £1000

Aniela Fidler Wieruszewska, MA Fashion Futures, University of the Arts London, England
Community Couture: A vivid bespoke garment created using fabric waste and zero waste pattern cutting to tell community stories and share past experiences.

Poppy Howell, MA Fashion Design, Nottingham Trent University, England
Solastalgia: A fashion exhibition sustainably designed and inspired by Hull’s heritage and identity that can be exhibited as part of a community conversation to help people imagine a future affected by rising sea levels.

8. Moving pictures

Conceive and produce an animation to accompany one of the two selected audio files that will clarify, energise and illuminate the content 

Marketing Trust Award of £2000 in memory of Mary Davies
RSA Events Staff Choice Award of £500

Mark Churcher, BA Product Design, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland
A Sinking Feeling (Category 1): A stop motion animation using 3D models. The animation centres on a cube which rotates revealing different scenarios to show the various futures that are possible if we act - or not - on climate change.

CIM Award of £1000

Zoe McCarthy, BA Illustration, National College of Art & Design, Ireland
How To Be A Good Ancestor (Category 2): An animation exploring climate change through a blob shaped ancestor character and their society, highlighting our impact on the world around us and the message that we can leave it better than we found it.

Highly Commended:

Lauren O'Brien BA Graphic Design, National College of Art and Design, Ireland
Choose your future (Category 1): An animation set in a game show world that highlights the personal burden felt by having to make a choice for your own future and for the future of the planet.