2022 Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education to be given to Judah Armani

The 1851 Royal Commission and the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee have announced that the 2022 Award for Innovation in Design Education is to be given to Mr Judah Armani, Founder of InHouse Records, operating in multiple UK and USA Prisons and a Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.

The Award will be presented at a ceremony to be held at 6pm on Wednesday, October 12th 2022 at Imperial College, London.

Judah Armani has pioneered new ways in which design education, particularly service design education and practice, can be deployed to transform the lives and education of those serving prison sentences. He established InHouse Records, which is a fully functioning record label operating in seven UK and three USA prisons, along with Aux Magazine, a publication that is primarily educational but also engaging and entertaining. It is distributed in 48 prisons in the UK and USA. InHouse Records exploits a social innovation design approach, inspired by Judah Armani’s life experience as well as his Royal College of Art service design training and background. Over 10,000 learners in prisons have been through the InHouse programme and many of its graduates now enjoy creative employment at InHouse, at Aux Magazine as well as at its very supportive industry partners. The benefits of the programme include the effects on those leaving prison, their families and society at large. The process helps build human and social capital, providing hope and motivation for those who take part. Graduates of the InHouse programme have a re-offending rate of less than 1%.

All classes in prison are predicated on an ‘asset based’ approach, focusing on ‘what is strong and not what is wrong’. Classes are designed to ‘learn through doing’ and draw heavily on design methods. This design methodology is a metaphor for life outside prison. Learners join at an ‘aspirational stage’ – the aspiration to learn music. This means that they engage with literacy (lyric writing) and numeracy (rhythm) as well as business practice. This includes how to design and package performances including those in London’s West End theatres and design and create content for the Aux magazine. Graduates of InHouse Records and Aux are also active in supporting Judah Armani in teaching this innovative design approach for social innovation in other institutions including The Rhode Island School of Design, The Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins, in London.

Mary Mullin, Chairman of the Awards Committee, commented: “ Judah Armani’s vision and deployment of his service design training and background has ensured that members of our society, sadly often ‘written off ’ have, through his innovative design approach, given people a second chance and a real hope of a specialized education and, not only a possibility of leading happy fulfilling lives but also of contributing to the greater good of our communities. The very fact that his design led approach has been widely adopted in the UK prison service and also in the United States, speaks for its effectiveness.”

Mr Armani has commented:

“I am humbled at being the 2022 recipient of the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education. Education in design should be available to all, especially those on the fringes of the society. This award has inspired me to dig even deeper in exploring fresh ways of making design accessible, relevant and fun, to those who need it most. Thank you to the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee.”

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