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Judges announced for innovative design awards

Expert panel for Blackwood Design Awards

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A number of top industry experts have been officially revealed as the panel of judges for a ‘Dragons’ Den’ inspired event for aspiring designers, engineers and inventors.

The annual Blackwood Design Awards attracts both gifted amateurs and seasoned professionals to showcase innovative designs which aim to change the lives of disabled people.

Now, the fate of all nine shortlisted entries lies in the hands of the confirmed judges who will select their favourites this Friday (20 January) at Dundee Contemporary Arts centre. This year, the competition will be made up of two distinct categories – Best New Product and Best New Concept.

Sitting on the panel is a range of well recognised names in the industry, including Gordon Aikman (BEM), a Motor Neurone Disease campaigner as well as a journalist and columnist for the Scottish Sunday Times; Anne Walker, a Board Member at Blackwood; Toby Mildon, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the BBC; Richard Neville, Editor of the Courier (Dundee Edition); Will Mitchell, Head of Design at 4C Design; and Tom Thomas, Partner at Harper MacLeod.

Anne Walker, Blackwood Board Member and tenant, said:

“I am over the moon to have been asked to judge the Blackwood Design Awards. Since the competition first launched, there has been no end to the innovative and life changing products I have seen being entered, and I am honoured to be able to share my thoughts on each entry this year.

“My own experience in living with a disability will be beneficial when judging the entries and deciding an overall winner – a massive good luck to everyone involved in the competition this year.”

Ian Gerono, Chair of Blackwood, is delighted to welcome the judges and believes they are the perfect line up to identify and champion breakthroughs that improve life for those with disabilities. He said:

“We’re delighted to finally be able to reveal this year’s judges. We believe the panel will bring a lot of credit to the awards and ensure the right winners are chosen. The annual awards have always shown high levels of imagination and creativity and have developed into an important way for us to discover genuinely revolutionary and life changing products.

“Some of the designs we have previously seen are ground-breaking and have benefited the lives of many others, and we expect this year’s designs to be no different.”

The competition has built a reputation of enabling great success for winners, and entries now frequently come in from all over the globe, including Canada and Pakistan.

Last year, ingenious entries included a hands-free computer mouse and an in-flight wheelchair. However, a spoon that doesn’t spill was crowned the winner, bringing benefits for people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and other conditions which cause shaking.

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