International Success for Sligo Student in Prestigious Design Competition

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) have announced the winners of their annual Student Design Awards. In a competition spanning 27 countries across 4 continents, Institute of Technology, Sligo, 4th year Creative Design student Nora Costello has been awarded a category first place and the RSA Industry Award of £1000.

Speaking at the Awards Ceremony in London on Thursday, 27th June, Nora said “I’m still getting used to the idea that I won but suffice to say, it really is the icing on the cake of an experience that I truly enjoyed. It’s no accident that my new product design start-up company will focus on products for accessibility and social impact. From my experience of entering the RSA Design Awards I know this is what I want to do.

Previous winners of the RSA Student Design Awards include Jonathan Ive, Head of Design at Apple. It is the world’s longest-running student competition and the premier programme focused on design for social change.

“We have been entering this competition for a number of years and are delighted to finally get such a fantastic result with a first prize. This has been the culmination of a lot off hard work by Nora, her tutor Nevil Walsh and lecturers,” said Diarmuid Timmons, Programme Chair of ITSligo’s Creative Design Programme.

He continued: “The RSA Student Design Awards have an extremely rigorous judging process, examining not just the execution but also the design thinking. The shortlisted entrants are interviewed by expert panels and must demonstrate the thinking and processes they have developed in response to the brief. The judges praised her strong user research and iteration process, the magic and playfulness evident in her approach, and her clear passion for designing accessible but non stigmatising solutions.This is a hugely valuable learning experience, demonstrating the importance of not only developing a creative idea, but also in researching, pitching and promoting it.”

Nora’s design entitled “CarouCel, Levelling the Kitchen” is a re-imagined kitchen space with a motorised system, allowing users to adjust counter heights and relocate modular kitchen units.The competition encouraged the design of an inclusive, accessible and multi-generational kitchen space that works for all ages, including disabled and non-disabled family members, so they can prepare, cook and serve food, entertain, engage in hobbies or work and enjoy life together. It is in this category entitled EAT, SHARE, LIVE, that Nora was awarded first prize.

For Information relating to the Creative Design programme at ITSligo check out the website: or email or +353 71 93 18510

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