Call for Nominations
Nominations for the 2020 Awards are now being accepted. Nomination Forms for both the Medal and the Award can be downloaded from the  links on the Nominations page.

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Introduction to the Sir Misha Black Awards
The Misha Black Medal honours those who have given distinguished services to design education. It was the first, and is the only, international award to do so. The Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education salutes innovation in design education in the United Kingdom
 
The Awards commemorate the work and life of the designer and architect, Professor Sir Misha Black, whose pioneering work played a crucial role in the development of design in Britain.
 
The first Medal was awarded in 1978 and the first Award for Innovation in 1999. The Awards are conferred by an independent Committee of representatives drawn from the premier design and engineering Institutions and Associations in the United Kingdom, administered by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
 
The present committee members represent Founding Bodies, the Design and Industries Association (DIA), the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI), the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the College of Medallists, Imperial College, London and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

Celebrating 40 years
The history of the Awards, together with essays on past and contemporary design education by Sir Misha, Medallists and Award Recipients can be found in the book ‘Fitness for What Purpose?’ edited by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling and Mary V Mullin and published in 2018 to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Awards.

Published by Design Manchester / Eyewear Publishing it is available to purchase directly from the publisher’s website or from the Images&Co online shop.

 

Misha Black
Misha Black (1910-1977) was born in Azerbaijan and came to England at the age of two where he was raised and educated. Despite receiving little formal art education, Black began designing posters at the age of 17 and in 1934 joined the Bassett-Gray design consultancy, later named the Industrial Design Partnership. During this period, he contributed to designs for a number of exhibitions including the interior for the British Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
 
In 1943, alongside fellow designer Milner Gray, Black founded Design Research Unit (DRU), one of the first international, interdisciplinary design practices with major clients in industrial design, architecture and graphics. Under Black’s leadership, DRU played an important role in post-war British design, contributing heavily to The Festival of Britain (1951) before going on to handle a number of other high profile projects, a well-known example being Misha Black’s iconic 1968 design for Westminster’s street name signs.
 
Having worked as an architect and designer for over 30 years, in 1959 London’s prestigious Royal College of Art appointed Misha Black as its first Professor of Industrial Design, a post he held until his retirement in 1975. With his wealth of knowledge and expertise, Black was arguably the most influential design teacher of his generation, a gifted speaker and writer on design whose international standing was an inspiration to students at the college.
 
Along with his role at the RCA, Misha Black also played an active part in UNESCO as well as helping to found the International Council for the Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) in 1959. Black became a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers, winning the Society’s highest award The Minerva Medal, and in 1972 was knighted for his contribution to design and industry in Britain. To add to this long list of achievements, towards the end of his career Black was appointed President of the Design & Industries Association (DIA), a position he held from 1974 to 1976.

 

The Sir Misha Black Medal
Set up to commemorate the legacy of Sir Misha Black, the Sir Misha Black Medal is awarded to individuals across the globe who have made a significant contribution to design education. The only international award of its kind, The Sir Misha Black Medal is awarded collaboratively by Britain’s leading design organisations with previous recipients including Max Bill (1982), Ettore Sottsass (1999), and Santiago Calatrava (2002).
 
All recipients of the Sir Misha Black Medal are automatically enrolled in the College of Medallists, a position they hold for life.
 
First awarded in 1978, the Medal began life as a biennial event but has since become an annual date within the design world calendar.

 

The Sir Misha Black Award
In 1999, the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education was created to honour the exceptional work of a teacher, team, department, or course within or between educational establishments in the UK.
 
The impetus behind the award was to acknowledge the collective excellence and leadership in design education within the United Kingdom that has long been held in high regard internationally, but until recently had received little formal recognition. In paying tribute to innovation in the developing culture of design education it is hoped that the award will not only honour design educators, but will also focus upon the crucial importance of their work in the industrial, commercial and cultural life of the country.

Sir Misha Black

Architect and designer

1910 - 1977

About Sir Misha Black and the Awards