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Exhibition Celebrates Creative Solutions for Designing the Future

Creative solutions to some of the biggest challenges of the next 20 to 100 years, featuring the work of almost 200 pupils from nine Kent secondary schools, are now on display at the Designing The Future exhibition, which runs until July 10 at No1 Smithery, at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

The students attended a series of workshops over three days led by architects and designers, all graduates and alumni of the Royal College of Art. During the workshops they addressed such issues as how communities would survive if Medway was permanently under water, what good use could be made of redundant equipment superseded by technology, and what it will mean to be human when aids and prosthetic devices surpass “natural” capabilities.

The Designing The Future project, overseen by Professor Alan Cummings, is a partnership between the Rochester Bridge Trust – in the centenary year of the reconstruction and re-opening of the Old Bridge – and The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Professor Cummings said: “This is a major turning point in humanity where we need to make big decisions about how we continue to influence our planet and respond to the many changes that are occurring.

“We need to focus on how we can survive and the ways we want to live. To do this we need to bring together all our best creative young minds to design solutions that will meet the huge challenges ahead.

“The aim of Designing The Future is to bring young people together to share ideas and address the issues ahead. This is the first project of its kind and it is a concept which I would like to see grow and taken up across the country to inspire the designers and engineers of the future.”

Awards were made to participants who demonstrated the greatest enthusiasm, creativity and team working ability during the project workshops.

The top award went to Nicholas Backshall, of Maidstone Grammar School. Other award winners were Josephine Biggs, of Valley Park School, Maidstone; Lucca Pereira-Martins and Robbie Bridges, of Chatham Grammar School for Boys; Georgi Payne and Riya Patel, of Tonbridge Grammar School; Marcus Yeung, of Maidstone Grammar School; Lewis Samuel, of Gravesend Grammar School; Robbie Maisner, of Trinity School, Rochester; and Laura Davis, of Cobham Hall.

Alex Patterson, Collections and Galleries Manager at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Designing The Future which is an exceptional project and has resulted in an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition.” Designing The Future also received the backing of Arts Council England, University of Kent School of Music and Fine Art; ReachoutRCA and the Creative Mentors Foundation.

View images from Designing The Future workshops.


1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.

2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

For more information:

The Rochester Bridge Trust
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125

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