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INDEX: Award 2011 Exhibition
31 August 2012 — 29 September 2012
Huddersfield, The University of
Prestigious exhibition to make first-ever visit to UK
• World’s first airbag for cyclists, glow-in-the-dark chador and 21st-century nursing bag among award-winning projects designed to improve lives
An exhibition based on one of the world’s leading design competitions will make its first visit to the UK when the University of Huddersfield hosts it later this month.
The prestigious INDEX: Design to Improve Life awards, whose €500,000 top prize is the largest of its kind, recognise sustainable solutions to global and local challenges.
A show featuring the 2011 event’s winners and finalists has been touring since November, visiting the likes of Bauhaus and Luxembourg’s Mudam Museum.
On August 31 it will open at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, which provided one of the finalists in the awards’ “body” category.
Dr David Swann created a nursing bag for the 21st century after discovering the iconic design that has prevailed for around 150 years could endanger patients’ lives.
His research revealed one third of a sample of traditional “Gladstone” bags used by community nurses contained the MRSA bug and 55 per cent were never cleaned.
Only six per cent were cleaned just once a week, despite diary analysis suggesting these bags are often used almost 20 times a day – usually for treating wounds.
Swann said: “We clearly showed the traditional bag used throughout the world is unsafe. It’s an unfortunate case of 21st-century professionals using 19th-century kit.”
Huddersfield’s radical update is made of non-permeable white plastic and is free from the pockets and folds that previously allowed harmful bacteria to accumulate.
It has easy-to-clean drawers and a hard surface that can be turned into a hygienic treatment area, sparing medics from having to work off tables, chairs or even floors.
Swann, whose design will be commercialised next year, said: “Taking part in the INDEX exhibition has really helped the process of disseminating the bag to a global audience.
“It’s obvious the university shares the same values as INDEX and recognises the power of design to deliver social and economic change for people and communities.”
Other exhibits at Huddersfield will include the Swedish-designed Hövding, described as the world’s first airbag for cyclists, which claimed first prize in the “play” category.
The airbag explodes from a custom-made collar whose inbuilt sensors constantly monitor movement for the telltale signs that an accident is about to happen.
Also on display will be a glow-in-the-dark chador – the dress worn by Iranian women – designed to save unseen female pedestrians in Iran from being hit by cars at night.
Established in Denmark a decade ago, INDEX: Design to Improve Life is a non-profit organisation that promotes the idea that design is key to creating a better world.
Huddersfield is the first British institution ever to host the INDEX exhibition and the sole UK stop on the current tour. It will stage the event until September 29.
Emma Hunt, Dean of the School of Art, Design and Architecture, said: “Our belief is that creativity is the currency of our time and that it has no boundaries.
“It’s about promoting a different way of looking at social problems. As we’ve shown, different design disciplines working together can spawn new ideas and new solutions.
“This sort of approach is vital to innovation, enterprise and competitive advantage – and vital to the overall goal of enhancing social, economic and cultural welfare.”