2016 Awards Ceremony: with keynote by Richard Clarke

Posted by Rebecca Ford on

Category: RSA Event

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20th June 2016: a night to remember, as 200 RSA Student Design Awards finalists, judges, industry partners and friends filled the RSA House in London to celebrate the 2016 Awards – our 92nd year! – and the power of design as a force for good.

The 2016 Award Winners themselves arrived ahead of the main event for a packed afternoon of group bonding and RSA project-sharing, a special welcome to the RSA Fellowship, and a portfolio review session with industry experts.

Fast forward to 6pm and the doors to the RSA’s historic Great Room opened for ‘Designing  our Futures: The 2016 RSA Student Design Awards Ceremony’. Our very own Sevra Davis hosted the evening and opened with some highlights from the past year, before introducing keynote speaker and RSA Student Design Awards alumni Richard Clarke, now Global VP of Advanced Innovation at Nike. Richard mesmerised the audience with his personal story, sharing the impact that winning an RSA Award in 1988 had on his life and wowing everyone with insider insights into his work at Nike. He started by saying frankly that ‘I owe my career to the RSA’ – the award money enabled Richard to travel to United States and ultimately led to his career at Nike, where he’s led everything from footwear and sportswear to retail design, all the while pioneering Nike’s ‘Considered Design’ sustainability agenda.

Next RSA Chairman Vikki Heywood opened the presentation of the awards, and the 2016 winners took to the stage to receive their physical 'stepping stone' awards (designed by RDI Robin Levien) from Richard as their projects lit up the big screen. Then a surprise announcement came: the inaugural Bill Moggridge Award, supported by TechmerPM, and awarded to ‘the person and project that best demonstrates vision, beauty, sustainability, and development potential.’ Bill Moggridge won an RSA Award when he was a student and went onto have a legendary career in design, including co-founding IDEO, and sadly passed away in 2012. This special Award was given to a stunned Hoda Khoja from the Winchester School of Art for her project ‘Iro’, which created a new material from repurposed paint in response to the One Man’s Waste brief.

With the last Award handed out and formal proceedings over, the celebrations continued over a drinks reception, and rumour has it the festivities continued at a nearby pub long after the RSA closed its doors… The full awards ceremony is available to watch via YouTube on RSA Replay, Twitter activity can be perused using the hashtag #RSAdesign, and you’ll find some photos from the evening below.

The awards ceremony brought the 2015/16 RSA Student Design Awards programme to a close, and we’ll have our heads down over the next few weeks preparing for the launch of our 2016/17 Awards. We’ll be releasing the new briefs over the summer and our London Launch Event will take place at the RSA on 14th September 2016 – make sure to save the date, and sign up to our newsletter via our home page to receive event updates and invitations from us.

So to wrap things up for 2015/16, all that remains to be said is another massive congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists, and a huge thanks to all of the industry partners, judges, university tutors and participants who’ve made this, our 92nd year, such a fantastic success. You are wonderful – thank you!


RSA Student Design Awards: Class of 2016!


The 2016 Award Winners arrived ahead of the main event for an afternoon of getting to know each other, a special welcome to the RSA Fellowship, and a portfolio review session with industry experts


The 2016 award winners head up to get seated in the RSA’s famous Great Room…


Moments before the awards ceremony kicked off a packed room, with anticipation tingling in the air!


Richard Clarke, VP of Advanced Innovation at Nike, shared his personal story in his keynote talk – from enrolling in design school + winning an RSA Student Design Award, to leading Nike’s footwear, sportswear and retail design


The RSA’s Chairman Vikki Heywood opens the presentation of the 2016 Awards


NCAD students Megan Sands and Sarah Twaddell receive their Awards on stage from Richard - they won paid placements at GSK for their human-centred packaging design for HIV/AIDS medication


Sam Hemming (far left), Sam Troop (middle left) and Joseph Friend (middle right) from Loughborough University’s Industrial Design course celebrate their success at the drinks reception


Deborah Abidakun (left) from DeMontfort University, who won the ODI Award for her Interior Environmental Design response to the Inclusive  Cities brief


Award winners and finalists from the Graphic Design course at the University of the West of England enjoying the celebrations


Elena Dieckmann (left), from the Royal College of Art, with the RSA Student Design Awards Director Sevra Davis (centre) and RSA Chairman Vikki Heywood (right). Elena won the Natracare Award for her project ‘Aeropoweder’, a new insulation material made from feather waste


Max Pyuman (centre right) from the University of Nottingham, who was Highly Commended for the Mind your Money brief, with the judging panel Chair Nathalie Spencer (far left) and Selina Nwulu (centre left) and Rebecca Ford (far right) from the RSA Design team.


Sam Troop (second from right), who won a paid placement at PriestmanGoode for his winning response to the Project Rural brief, is pictured here with some of the PriestmanGoode team – including Rebecca Grover (second from left) and Richard Watters (centre) whose RSA Internship Awards in 2015 and 2012 led to full time employment.



  • By Rebecca Ford on in RSA Event

Updated on August 23, 2016 9:27 AM