The 1851 Royal Commission and the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee have announced that the recipient of the 2020 Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education is Professor Birgit Mager, Professor of Service Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany.
There are two 2020 Awards for Innovation in Design Education. They are given to Oliver Broadbent, Founder and Director of Constructivist Ltd and to Professor Daniel Charny and Ms. Dee Halligan, founders of FixEd.
The Sir Misha Black Medal and Awards will be presented at a Ceremony to be arranged later this year.
The Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education is global in reach and acknowledges the important contribution of individuals to the teaching of design at all levels, from anywhere in the world – as designers, as champions, as mentors and as educators.
The Award for Innovation salutes educators from across the United Kingdom and celebrates the innovative achievements of institutions and individuals.
Together the Sir Misha Black Medal and Awards recognise those who, by contributing to the theory or practice of design education and who, through innovation and vision, have ensured that the education of designers has been measurably improved and the profile of design education enhanced.
Professor Birgit Mager, recipient of the 2020 Sir Misha Black Medal, will join the distinguished College of Medallists – those who have received Sir Misha Black Medals since the first was awarded in 1978. Professor Mager is the first ever Professor of Service Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany. Since she was appointed in 1995, she has developed the theory, methodology and practice of Service Design. Her lectures, projects and publications have led to a new understanding of the economical, ecological and social function of design in the provision of public and private services.
Oliver Broadbent, one of the recipients of the Award for Innovation in Design Education, is Founder and Director of Constructivist Ltd. He has dedicated his career to injecting creativity into university-based engineering design education. In the last decade he has led the way to ensure that the climate emergency is a central driver in engineering design and advocating that the creative response of engineers must be central to ensuring positive change in the built environment.
Professor Daniel Charny and Ms. Dee Halligan, the other recipients of the Award for Innovation in Design Education, are the founders of FixEd, a 'think and do tank' working with schools, colleges and universities to foster design skills for a changing world. Their aim is to put social and environmental matters at the heart of practice across disciplines under the banner of 'applied creativity'.
2020 marked the 42nd anniversary of the awarding of the first Sir Misha Black Medal. The Sir Misha Black Medal is the only major international design award given specifically in the field of design education. The Sir Misha Black Medal was instituted as a memorial to Sir Misha Black, designer and teacher.
The Sir Misha Black Medal was set up by four bodies with whom Sir Misha Black was closely associated: The Royal College of Art, The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry of the RSA, The Design and Industries Association and The Chartered Society of Designers. In recognition of the growth of design studies in the engineering universities, this group was joined in 1996 by the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2020, the Awards Committee came under the wing of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and Imperial College London joined as a Founder Member.
Nominations for the 2021 Sir Misha Black Medal and Awards will be open from February this year.
“During the very challenging year of 2020 much was heard about the plight of students in all levels of education – and rightly so. However, little has been said in praise of the dedicated army of teachers, tutors, professors and administrators who, virtually overnight, had to alter and adapt their teaching methods to reach out to students scattered all over the world in varying time zones. These professionals have responded with compassion to individual needs – and out of kindness and dedication they have spent thousands of extra hours of work supporting their students over and above the call of duty. In highlighting the achievements of some, the Committee salutes all educators and is particularly pleased to honour those who have given distinguished services to design education and to acknowledge those who have found innovative ways of refocusing and applying design education in our rapidly changing world. Design – whether it be of equipment, environments, treatments or of the systems for delivering them – has never been more important than it is today and the education of tomorrow’s designers and design thinkers has never been more urgent."
Chairman of the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee
“The Sir Misha Black Medal is awarded to the very best of people across the world who have dedicated their careers to educating designers and those who commission designers. Promoting better design is core to the 1851 Royal Commission and we are very pleased to be associated now more directly with the awards. We are equally delighted to play a role in recognising those in universities and colleges across the United Kingdom who are creating innovative ways of delivering design education. Design is fundamental in the translation of technology to influence all aspects of modern life and the need to train the next generation of highly skilled designers is one of the functions that make these awards so important.”
Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851