Reflections Upon Co-Judging The Studio B.a.d./CHORA Award University Of Brighton


It was a privilege to hear the presentations of the seven students shortlisted for this award and without exception, engage in extraordinary, thought-provoking, conversations. It may be a cliché to say that all students were worthy of an award, but they were. However, given the subject of the award; design narratives, we sought to identify projects with the strongest, clearest and most articulate narrative.

It proved impossible to identify a single winner and eventually we chose to increase the award value by 50% and divide the award among three students, Kayleigh Healey, Corann Thompson and Geena Wood. Each narrative was beautifully articulated through a variety of mediums, and each narrative was rooted within an ethos of wanting to effect change for the better, in our increasingly dystopian and polarised world.

It is also clear how well-supported these students have been, exemplified perhaps by one student drawing deeply upon her own evolving identity who posited new paradigms of human relationships and designed places in which these paradigms could be enacted. For a student to draw so deeply upon self, in such a very personal way is of course courageous, but also exemplifies the atmosphere of support and encouragement engendered by staff, to perhaps ‘permission’ (were such permission needed) students to embark-upon a deep exploration of self. This depth of engagement was evident in all students we met.

Within our ‘post-truth’ epoch, I came away with a powerful sense that the future will be a better place in the hands of these three incredibly talented, thoughtful, and driven young women. In a Higher Education context that apparently increasingly seeks to provide a homogenised mono-culture, the Interior Design programme at Brighton stands as a point of resistance to such trends, and a beacon that illuminates fascinating possibilities in design education.

Roger Tyrrell and Darren Bray

June 2019.