Sixth Formers redesign the future

Towards the end of last term, a group of Sixth Formers were invited  to participate in a Project ReDesign Workshop held by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in the Oxford University Examination Halls.

This was the fifth such workshop held in the UK and was attended by 27 teams of students aged 16-18.  The teams were challenged to come up with solutions to reduce the amount of rubbish which is sent every year to landfill and to explore whether the UK’s waste problem could actually be seen as a materials opportunity.  The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, set up five years ago by solo round-the-world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur, endorses the framework of a “circular economy” in which waste is not just thrown away, but, through a redesign of products and services, is actually converted to become food for another cycle or progress.

MacArthur said, “It has been a pleasure to work with young people in Oxford.  We are stuck in a cycle of bad design and need to challenge business and society to rethink the materials we use and revolutionise the manner in which we make them.”  The team from the Foundation was extremely excited about working with such an enthusiastic and engaging group of young people, “The students were amazing – showing how much more skilled they are than the older generation at thinking outside the box.”

Although the Bancroft’s team of Sophie Brand, Catriona Phillip, Samar Islam,  Omar Chohan, Syed Shah and Ayako Henson did not win on the day, the students did get an “honourable mention” for their  “amazing ideas”.  Dr Oakes, who accompanied the group, said that the team itself learnt valuable lessons in particular that, “ a strong simple message seemed to be received with more warmth by business leaders than a lengthy and erudite essay (albeit one presented as a poster)”


ellenmacarthur(Photo of the Bancroft’s team with Dame Ellen MacArthur courtesy of Ellen MacArthur Foundation/Rhoddy Stewart photography)

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