Student teams from two United Learning schools have reached the final of the Design Museum’s Design Ventura 2020 competition, out of more than 15,000 entries.
The annual competition for Year 9 students, run by the London-based museum and sponsored by Deutsche Bank, regularly attracts thousands of national and international entries. This year, two of the Group’s schools have been shortlisted for the final – Parkside Community College in the state school category and Guildford High School in the international and independent school category.
The competition brief was for students to design a product that would improve everyday life and could be sold in the Design Museum Shop for around £10. Importantly, products must also make use of sustainable design methods and simple manufacturing processes and be targeted at a specific audience.
All the shortlisted teams now need to submit a three-minute pitch video for their entry, which sets out why their design deserves the winner’s title. The final celebration event is due to be held in-person in June, dependent on government guidance, where each finalist will receive personalised feedback from the judging panel and discover who has won the competition.
Parkside’s group of Year 9s – Anjali, Esther, Emily and Agnes – was shortlisted for their product design Shoe Button, a tool that helps children learn how to tie their own shoelaces. Judges praised it as a “well researched, clever and strong response to the brief” and commended the prototype, packaging design and instruction video that the girls had put together.
Year 9 Anjali said of Parkside’s entry:
“The idea for the Shoe Button originated through experimentation with the shoelaces and cardboard. When I was younger, I struggled tying my shoes and learnt by using the 'bunny ears' technique. This is where the function aspect of the design originates.
“It's very exciting to be picked for the Design Ventura 2020 Competition. We are really looking forward to the next stage and know we will learn a lot.”
Craig Morrison, Executive Principal of Parkside Community College, said:
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have continued to encourage our young people to engage in exciting opportunities like this that go beyond the curriculum, as part of what we call ‘Education with Character’. The Design Museum’s competition, in conjunction with Deutsche Bank, has been a brilliant example of how students can learn a range of concrete skills, whilst also stimulating creativity and ingenuity.”
Meanwhile, Guildford High School’s shortlisted team of five – comprising Rebecca, Charlotte A, Charlotte H, Natalia and Katie – created a Memphis-style house which acts as a reward chart to help younger children engage in activities around the home. The product aims to provide a tangible way to track their achievement and can be customised, flat-packed and produced from sustainable materials.
The judging panel was impressed with the school’s “creative” response and felt that it would appeal to the target audience of families as something that children and parents could build together and decorate.
Guildford High Year 9 Charlotte H said of the experience so far:
“I have really enjoyed taking part in the Design Ventura competition. It has been a great experience as I have developed my organizational, teamwork and designing skills to help create a product which could actually be used in everyday life.”
Her teammate Charlotte A added:
“It has really stretched us creatively, and helped us become better team members. We are currently working hard for the next round and can’t wait to get filming our video pitch!”
The winners will have their design made into a product that is sold in the Design Museum Shop, with proceeds going to charity. Students will also get the opportunity to host their own ‘pop-up shop’ to help sell their product to museum visitors.