Biodiversity Innovation Lab
to Jun 26

Biodiversity Innovation Lab

Click here for a video of this two-day design challenge.

Teenagers from Future Forum-  Ricards Lodge and Kings College School Wimbledon- and teams of the UK ArtScience Prize (part of an international programme where students develop art and design ideas inspired by a theme at the cutting edge of science, led by their personal passions and a societal issue that matters to them) Pre-Foundation students at Ravensbourne worked with a number of expert mentors in science, art and design for two days on 25 and 26 June to look at the challenges of biodiversity and come up with ingenious art and design ideas to respond do those challenges and protect nature.

Expertly led by Rick Hall, Director of Ignite Futures, the Future Forum students were inspired on various biodiversity themes to get the ideas flowing on the sorts of projects they may want to explore in teams.  A range of ideas were explored, including biomimicry as inspiration for architecture, looking at termite mounds, coral reefs and pollen structures for example.

A frantic and exhilarating “seed dating” session followed, where students had to pitch their ideas in a minute or less17 times to get their team members inspired to pair up with them on their project -– twelve teams eventuallywere created.

Meanwhile, the teams of UK ArtScience Prize Ravensbourne students, having already developed art and design projects inspired by biodiversity over a three-month period and been shortlisted to take part in this workshop amongst a wider class, worked with mentors to develop their ideas further and prototype with how they would bring them to life.

On day two the Future Forum and Ravensbourne teams worked together to share their ideas and learn from each others’ perspectives.  A scientist from University College London, an artist who works with arts organisation Invisible Dust, an expert in engagement, policy and biodiversity, and designers from the Royal College of Art and Ravensbourne were also on hand to lend their expertise and knowledge.

At the end of Day 2, joined by the UK ArtScience Prize teams from Landau Forte College Derby in partnership with the Derby Silk Mill- all groups presented their projects to an esteemed judging panel: Chris Toumazis from Ogilvy & Mather, Alice Sharp, founder, Curator and Director of Invisible Dust, Bob Bloomfield OBE, founder of, supporting multi-stakeholder perspectives on biodiversity, science, environment and sustainability, and Dr Laura Miller, Executive Director from Synchronicity Earth.

From the Future Forum team, ideas came from all sides: biological and medical applications (such as prosthetic limbs) and engineering ideas taken from biomimicry, ‘CressGods’, a website showing the effects of man-made environmental destruction using time-lapse photography to encourage a change in human behaviour and increase awareness, An environmental awareness campaign, ideas taken from bioluminescence in nature to conserve energy and face cream with ingredients drawn from the animal world.

The UK ArtScience Prize students then concluded the day to present their work, including ‘Civilized Wild’, a multimedia rewilding art installation and community project,  cinematically- beautiful film, ‘Nebula’, a personal voyage to discover life in the universe, and an architectural exploration of a multicultural space that embraces biodiversity,

After intense deliberation, the judges announced CressGods as the Future Forum winner for a work experience placement at Ogilvy Labs, the Multicultural gathering place as the winner of the Ogilvy Labs Rough Diamond apprenticeship scheme and the Civilised Wild project as the winner of the Invisible Dust work experience prize, that will include displaying their works at the Invisible Dust exhibition at upcoming festival Shambala.  Nebula won a special commendation and will also be aired at the Invisible Dust exhibition at Shamabala.

The Innovation Lab was supported by an UnLtd SPARK award funded by Santander.  UnLtd is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world.

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