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Burberry Design Scholarships Support Design Talent Across the RCA

Since 2012, The Burberry Foundation has supported scholarships at the RCA enabling UK and EU students to reach their full potential regardless of their financial circumstances. In 2017, The Burberry Design Scholarships were expanded to support more scholars and the Burberry Foundation enabled the establishment of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group. The new Group is the first explicit ‘STEAM’ research centre at a traditional art and design university, applying radical thinking to invent more sustainable materials, transform consumer experience and advance manufacturing for the benefit of industry and the wider community.

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost Professor Naren Barfield commented: ‘The RCA is grateful for the support of The Burberry Foundation, which enables us to continue fostering outstanding creative talent across art and design – both through their support of scholarships and the Burberry Material Futures Research Group. By supporting our students and researchers in pursuing creative approaches to some of the most pressing global challenges, The Burberry Foundation is helping drive innovation in the field of materials and advanced manufacturing.’

Pam Batty, Burberry’s VP of Corporate Responsibility and Secretary to the Burberry Foundation: ‘The Burberry Foundation is proud to have partnered with the RCA in establishing the Burberry Material Futures Research Group, which will combine radical design with cutting edge science to invent new sustainable materials and advance manufacturing processes in the fashion industry. Inspiring the next generation of creative talent is key to the sustainability of our industry, so we are supporting students of all backgrounds to fulfil their ambitions through the Burberry Design Scholarship. We firmly believe in supporting the next generation to reach their full potential, regardless of their financial circumstances, and are thrilled to hear about the learnings, experiences and ideas of our Burberry Scholars who are innovating for a more sustainable future.’ 

Burberry Design Scholarships provide the opportunity for transformative experiences at the College and are available to students studying a range of Programmes. Some of the current Burberry Scholars, explained how this support has enabled their development at the RCA. Read more below.

Akvile Terminaite, Information Experience Design (IED)

Akvile Terminaite
Akvile Terminaite
IED student Akvile Terminaite is interested in how museums can reimagine storytelling and construct narratives through objects and interactive exhibitions. At the RCA she has been considering how science can be communicated to museum visitors through the senses. Her current project is a large-scale installation that explores how boredom can ignite curiosity through objects that have been “hacked” with simple electronic circuits and sensors that make them come to life.

Akvile explained: ‘I'm interested in technology and find it fascinating how it’s constantly reshaping our lives and makes us question what it means to be human. In the age of machine learning and AI, I think it is imperative to be a part of this discussion. The potential and future of such technology, to me, evokes a strong sense of the sublime and I am interested in creating work that engages the public and encourages them to claim their agency in this topic.’

Akvile Terminaite
Akvile Terminaite

Emmie Hubbard, Jewellery & Metal

Emmie Hubbard
Emmie Hubbard

At the RCA Jewellery & Metal student Emmie Hubbard has been tackling the huge questions of sustainability and materiality by using prehistoric methods of bronze casting. She has been exploring the potential of locally sourced material through casting metal from beeswax into a mix of clay, horse manure and animal hair collected from a local farm. Through shared interests in foraged materials Emmie has also begun collaborating with Ceramics & Glass student Chloe Bell, which has enabled her to be more scientific in discovering the fire cycles of clay when casting bronze and silver.

Emmie commented: ‘My first year studying MA Jewellery & Metal at the RCA has been filled with meeting, collaborating and learning from the collective of artists working at the College. My work has developed in its thinking significantly with support and encouragement from the technical staff. The Burberry Scholarship has made it possible for me to be part of this engaging artistic community.’

Emmie Hubbard
Emmie Hubbard

Hannah Jones, Textiles

Hannah Jones
Hannah Jones
Before coming to the RCA, Textiles student Hannah Jones developed a new sustainable material BioMarble, which uses an innovative patent pending approach to recycle paper. At the RCA, Hannah has been developing ways to colour and seal BioMarble taking into account the whole life of the material and ways its disposal might benefit the environment, working with a range of natural materials including starches, different types of algae, wood, chitosan and sodium bicarbonate.

Discussing her time at the RCA so far Hannah commented: ‘I’m very grateful for the Burberry Scholarship, which has meant I was able to accept my place to study at the RCA. The Textiles programme is very outward facing with close links to industry – last term I worked on a brief with Envisage Group Ltd, thinking about how the aesthetics and functionality of BioMarble could be developed to be applied to vehicle interiors. My research has also been informed by the opportunity to meet with Dr Miriam Ribul from the RCA’s Burberry Material Futures Research Group.’

Hannah Elisabeth Jones
BioMarble, Hannah Jones

Lea Marolt Sonnenschein, Innovation Design Engineering (IDE)

Lea Marolt Sonnenschein
Lea Marolt Sonnenschein
Coming from a background in computer programming, Lea Marolt Sonnenschein has gained new skills and perspectives on her goals as a designer through the fast pace of the IDE Programme. From taking apart a printer, to designing a chair and using machine learning to improve sleep – it has been a year of learning, exploration and experimentation. She explained that the Burberry scholarship has: ‘been absolutely instrumental in my success. It has afforded me the peace of mind to focus on my work and invest the necessary time to familiarize myself with a plethora of different tools and processes.’

‘When I started, I could program, design, and manage a product’s lifecycle. Now, I can bend wood, weld metal, think critically about behaviour change, and move with ease between designing for the physical and the digital world. These new skills now allow me to be a multi-faceted communicator of ideas and a translator of complexity into simplicity – and that, to me, is key to creating valuable interactions between people and the world around them.’

Lea Marolt Sonnenschein
Lea Marolt Sonnenschein

Martina Taranto, Design Products

Martina Taranto
Martina Taranto
Design Products student Martina Taranto has recently worked on a series of artefacts she has named ‘Relativistic Objects’. These physical objects have been constructed to help people re-learn an awareness of time passing without relying on the structures provided by clocks and calendars. Her final project will explore the future of craftsmanship in a scenario that is dominated by the exploitation of wild material resources and environmental collapse.

Discussing her time at the RCA, Martina said: ‘I’ve grown as a person and as a professional. I have learnt how to push myself and balance the expectations I have of myself with the effort I’m willing to put in a project. I’ve also learnt how to trust, be cautious, and resilient when what you had in mind doesn’t reflect the reality of things. I’m trying to lead my practice towards social challenges, environmental issues and cultural effort because I believe that without these three cooperating factors the change we as designers aim to generate, and the world is expecting from us, will never be truly realistic.’

Martina Taranto
Martina Taranto

Find out more about the scholarships available at the College.