Brighton student design teams bag coveted global awards.

Two teams of University of Brighton design students have won awards in a prestigious global competition run by the Royal College of Art.

The students – in their first year of BSc Product Design with Professional Experience have won both of the two Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design Fixperts awards for 2021. Fixperts is a learning programme that challenges young people to use their imagination and skills to create ingenious solutions to everyday problems for a real person. Fixperts, and its sister programme FixCamp, are conceived and run by the people at Forth – a community interest company who believe in the power of creativity as a tool for social change.

Adam Boult, Cleo Morgan and Anwen Parnis won the RCA Helen Hamlyn Fixperts Award Selection Prize for their design and film – A Glove Device for Jo. Joanna Williams runs a company specialising in cleaning GP surgeries, and the demands of her job requires Jo to constantly replace her gloves each time she enters a new space, a “fiddly and time-consuming job that can’t be avoided”.

Working with Jo, the Brighton team designed a device that helps her put PPE gloves on quickly and easily. Now in its ninth year, this prestigious award celebrates the best submission demonstrating ingenuity, empathy and innovation in human-centred design across all undergraduate disciplines.

The RCA Helen Hamlyn Design Awards Designing in a Pandemic Award Selection Prize was won by Eddie Cockroft, Ben Talbot and Oscar Van Til, for their design and film – Illuminated Mask for Ben.

In its second year this award recognises projects that directly address the challenges that have arisen or have become prominent during the COVID pandemic. Working with critical care paramedic Ben Spashett, the team identified that they could address an issue Ben has with poor communication when wearing airtight masks. The team developed a solution which illuminates the mask when the wearer speaks, helping to draw the attention of others for lip reading or signing in critical situations.

Professor Daniel Charny, founder of Fixperts, said: “It has been a challenging year to run Fixperts – and, in fact, any inclusive design project. But somehow it’s turned out to be a bumper year with great designs and lovely communications between team members and Fix Partners.” Fixperts, and its sister programme FixCamp, are conceived and run by Forth – a community interest company who believe in the power of creativity as a tool for social change.

Product Design course leader, James Tooze, a Principal Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Design, said: “We have only run the Fixperts project for the second time this year and were up against entries from universities across the world. There were only two prizes available and we were blown away to win both. This is another great accolade for the Product Design course at Brighton, building on the award won at New Designers in 2020.

The award-winning films chronicling the student’s design projects, A Glove Device for Jo and Illuminated Mask for Ben, can be seen alongside other Fixperts films made by students on the Brighton Product Design Youtube channel.

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