Blackwood Design Awards reveal top judging line-up for 2017

Panel includes representatives from the BBC, Scottish Sunday Times, The Courier, and Harper MacLeod 

A number of top industry experts, including representatives from the Scottish Sunday Times and the BBC, have been revealed as the panel of judges for a Scottish Dragons’ Den-inspired event for aspiring designers, engineers and inventors.
Among the judges announced for the annual Blackwood Design Awards – to be held at the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre on 20 January – are Gordon Aikman (BEM), a journalist and columnist for the Scottish Sunday Times, as well as a Motor Neurone Disease campaigner; Anne Walker, a Blackwood board member; 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, a partner at Harper MacLeod.
The awards, which generally attract gifted amateurs as well as seasoned design professionals, are designed to showcase and reward innovations which have the potential to transform the lives of disabled people.
Walker said: “I am over the moon to have been asked to judge at 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, 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.
Colin Foskett, head of innovation at Blackwood, said: “Our aim is to enable our customers to live their lives to the full and by investing in future technologies and new innovative designs we believe we are successfully able to do this.
“Many previous entrants have gone on to achieve great things so it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity for all budding designers out there.”
Last year, 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.
Blackwood has been a leading name for 40 years in the housing and care sector, operating throughout Scotland, and is renowned for its work in adapting properties to let people who are disabled, elderly or have sensory impairments, to live independently.
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