The 1851 Royal Commission and the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee have presented the 2023 awards at a ceremony at Imperial College London.
The Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education was awarded to Professor Marie Redmond. Professor Redmond has been a consultant with the European Commission on digital media and related sectors. She has curated shows on robotic art and been a board member of theatre companies and film festivals and arts organisations.
The Sir Misha Black Awards Committee, in honouring Professor Redmond for her distinguished services to design education, recognised that her approach to innovation in design education resonates far beyond her own particular field and is true to the principles initially championed by Sir Misha Black in his work at both the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.
‘Professor Redmond has been a trailblazer in design education,’ said Mary V Mullin, chair of the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee. ‘She recognised the cumulative value of cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary education and has seen her graduate students play key roles in digital media and creative industries in Ireland and internationally. She can be credited with changing how design education was conceived, marrying creativity with advanced pioneering technology to develop viable and exciting commercial applications.’
‘I am so honoured to receive this award especially as it is for design education – something I have been committed to in my teaching, research and projects,’ Professor Redmond said. ‘Design was not part of my formal education and when I understood that this was a serious omission in developing my skillset, I included design as a key element in the education programmes that I developed. Misha Black is an inspiration to me and his pioneering work in both architecture and design has shown the importance of working across disciplines and how technology and the humanities use the same creative practices to develop more sustainable solutions.’
The 2023 Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education was presented to Haleh Moravej of Manchester Metropolitan University for MetMUnch, her award-winning sustainable, student- and design-led approach to the creation and delivery of nutritious food. Innovative and inspirational, MetMUnch is a creative programme of engagement and empowerment that has been reaching across all areas of the university as it sits simultaneously within and outside core disciplines.
In 2011, MetMUnch, led by Moravej, brought nutritional science out of the lecture theatre and to the public. Its central premise was to demonstrate how design-led techniques, combined with the keen creative minds of students and graduates, could make healthy foods more appealing and accessible, first to students and then to the wider public.
Sustainability is the underpinning ethos for every aspect of MetMUnch, working with diverse professionals nationally and internationally to design sustainable food systems, from production to distribution, and create consumer awareness. Consumers are empowered to develop healthy eating habits through informative and fun packaging and labelling. What might be considered ‘food waste’, such as coffee grounds, is used by students to grow mushrooms and food is preserved through fermenting.
The programme also promotes large-scale public-health and science-engagement events. One such involved the creation, design and building of a kitchen made entirely from recyclable cardboard in collaboration with external partners.
‘There is nothing more central to the health and wellbeing of a nation than proper nutrition,’ Mullin said. ‘However, the cost to the planet of food production and delivery over the last 70 or so years is only now being recognised. The cost in financial and physical terms of the consumption of ultra-processed foods is also lately being acknowledged. A design-led education programme to create awareness, develop solutions and demonstrate how this disastrous spiral can be halted, and turned around, through the marriage of science, system design and delivery deserves recognition by which it is hoped it will be widely copied and applied.’
‘I am sincerely grateful for being honoured with the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education,’ Moravej said. ‘It is not often that an entrepreneurial nutritionist, passionate about the climate emergency, receives such recognition and it highlights the significant impact that design can have in our world. Furthermore, the award confirms the effectiveness of creative collaboration across different disciplines in addressing complex societal challenges. I feel humble, following in the footsteps of legendary visionaries and genuine change makers who have previously received the award. It is an excellent source of motivation for me at a pivotal moment in my career to strive further and explore new horizons in design education, specifically in sustainability, social entrepreneurship and nutrition.’