Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education

I am really excited and honoured to share with you the news that I have just been awarded one of the 2020 Sir Misha Black Awards for Innovation in Design Education. The Award commemorates the life and work of design and architect Sir Misha Black. It was created in 1999 to honour the exceptional work of a teacher, team, department, or course within or between educational establishments in the UK.

I set up Constructivist in 2019 with the vision of engineers and other built-environment professionals using creative design skills to lead us away from climate crisis and towards a better future. Our mission is to design and deliver training to enable this vision.

And so, to be honoured with such an award that singles out our work developing design education in the service of the fight against the climate crisis, feels especially meaningful.

Collaborators and champions

Working alongside me under the Constructivist banner to deliver this mission are Bengt Cousins-Jenvey, Nick Francis and Alexie Sommer. They each bring their unique understanding of design, sustainability, communication and organisations to help develop really great training. I would like to extend special thanks for the part they have played in creating the creative design training we offer.

I would also like to acknowledge four organisations that have provided a platform for my teaching. They are the University of Bath; the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College; the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership; and, the Institution of Structural Engineers. I am particularly grateful to three people who have champion my work at these institutions and in the industry: Mike Cook; Tim Ibell and James Norman.

Finally, I reserve a very special thanks for two people who have supported and championed me from the start of my career: Chris Wise and Ed McCann. My first experience of design education was their Creative Design course at Imperial College. They gave me my first job and then the opportunity to lead the Useful Simple Trust’s nascent design education company Think Up. I learnt a huge amount from these two, both about design education and on how establish a successful organisation to deliver it. To this day they continue to champion my work and for this I am extremely grateful.

Looking ahead

I see winning the Sir Misha Black award as an invitation to keep experimenting and sharing. In 2021 we plan to run at least two more cohorts of our innovative ‘Training on what to do after declaring a climate emergency‘. Alongside Constructivist training I will be regularly writing on the Eiffel Over blog. My focus here is creative tools engineers and other humans, and I expect we shall also see the return of the Eiffel Over podcast. If you have been following along this far, thank you for your support and keep an eye on this space.