UWE Bristol triumphs for second year running in RSA Student Design Award

Issue date: 01 June 2012


Design by Rebecca Penmore

UWE Bristol Graphic Design student Rebecca Penmore, has won a national award from the RSA www.thersa.org with her project 'The Pub Hub Club,' a scheme that aims to keep pubs at the heart of local communities by maximising the space and social aspects that already exist. Rebecca won an internship at Waitrose in the Graphic Design Department, under the immediate direction of the Head of Graphic Design.

There were 50 entries from 22 colleges and universities across the UK into the RSA Student Design Awards 'Shared Assets' brief. Three students from the University of the West of England were among the eight short-listed entrants.

The RSA Student Design Awards is the longest-running student design awards scheme in the UK, if not the world, having been run continuously since 1924, and is the only student design competition that focuses squarely on asking young designers to apply their skills and training to today's most pressing social challenges.

Rebecca's win is the second year in a row that a UWE student has won a top award in the RSA Student Design Awards. Last year James Eelbeck won for the project brief 'Make Something Disappear' about using design to tackle over-consumption and over-production. James's winning project 'Love Toast' is a product and service scheme that makes it easier for people to replace parts of their toaster rather than throw it away when one part was broken. http://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/UWENews/news.aspx?id=2001

This year's RSA jury was particularly impressed with Rebecca's work because of her efforts to use existing assets most efficiently and effectively and she had also considered several scenarios for how her scheme could be implemented. The jury felt that Rebecca's outstanding graphic design skills lent further credibility to her idea and displayed it brilliantly.

Speaking about her prize Rebecca says, “I had been to several pubs that were beginning to diversify their business through the introduction of new services such as book swaps and sewing services. It seemed like a great way not only to increase the local service provision but also to build up relationships within communities. During my research I interviewed several landlords, who were all more than happy to share their success stories. This got me thinking that there ought to be an easy way for them to share their hints and tips with one another. 'The Pub Hub Club' not only encourages sharing on a local level but also within the wider network of landlords with the website acting a platform for content sharing and participation.

“The UWE Graphic Design course includes a lot of social design, which I feel definitely set me up well for the competition. Winning the award has already opened up so many doors for me - it has been such a fantastic experience.”

Rebecca was one of three UWE Bristol Students shortlisted for the award. The other shortlisted UWE Bristol students are Luke Smith for his project 'Divide – More is Less', a concessionary travel scheme aimed at providing reduced cost travel to people of all ages and backgrounds and Grace Watling for her project 'Paper Chain,' an initiative where people can relay their messages and stories of grief onto pieces of paper and contribute to a community paper chain.

Rebecca Penmore was also awarded a 'Commendation' in this year's annual International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) Student Assessment Scheme. She was one of only two in the UK to receive a commendation. Altogether 17 third year UWE Graphic Design students who submitted projects to this year's ISTD Student Scheme were given awards and five were awarded with a 'merit' out of only 11 in the UK.

Rebecca's tutor John Paul Dowling says, “Rebecca has been a diligent, hard-working student who has continued to develop as a creative practitioner throughout her time on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course. She is a student who represents the varying aspects of this course, and what we as a course team hope to evoke in our cohort. She is comfortable working across a range of media, choosing appropriate solutions to any given problem. I have no doubt that her future career will continue with national and international successes.” Gabriel Solomons, Rebecca's lead tutor for the RSA brief said, “In tackling the Shared Assets brief, Becky used design in innovative and engaging ways to shift aspiration from private property to the sharing of assets, in this case communal spaces. The work addressed the social challenges of maximising community potential and the need for collaboration when challenging our ideas of 'shared ownership'. The final presentation set out a clear method of implementation and showed how the project could evolve over time.”

-ENDS-

Editor's notes:

The RSA Student Design Awards is the longest-running student design awards scheme in the UK, if not the world, having been run continuously since 1924, and is the only student design competition that focuses squarely on asking young designers to apply their skills and training to today's most pressing social challenges. The RSA Student Design Awards are regularly embedded within the design curriculum at over 75 colleges and universities around the UK, including in the faculties of industrial design, product design, graphic design, interior design, architecture, fashion design and design management at both the undergraduate and post-graduate level. The RSA works with leading design educators to ensure that the scheme nurtures the development of young professionals who, while having all the formal skill and practical optimism associated with design, are inclusive in their processes and able by their influence to help other people and communities to be resourceful.

The 2011/12 projects address important social issues, such as the workplace and working conditions of the future (Tomorrow's workplace); education and three-dimensional understanding (In the round); intergenerational relationships (Something for everyone); collaborative consumption (Shared assets); and high quality public design (Postage stamps and Recharging stations).

Shared Assets brief

The 'Shared Assets' brief in the 2011/12 competition asked students to think about how to use design to shift aspiration from private property to sharing assets by designing a product or service that gets better or more useful the more people use it, so that sharing it becomes more attractive or viable. The brief was sponsored by Waitrose and Springetts.

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