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There’s been a lot happening on the site over the last few weeks.

  • NEW STYLE DESIGN CONTEXTS – all the design briefs have been revised to make them more easily accessible and to give students starting points to find out more if they’re interested. Click here to go to new contexts.
  • NEW BUILDINGS CONTEXTS AND SUPPORT MATERIALS With lots of help from the Centre for Alternative Technology, we’ve added seven new buildings contexts plus Power Points and support materials. Click here for new buildings contexts.
  • NEW STARTER ACTIVITIES two new starter activities, designed to help students understand the implications for design choices on future generations, and on people living elsewhere in the world, have been added. Click here for new activity 7.
  • GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE The award has been evaluated to identify what’s worked for teachers, and examples of how they’ve adapted it to suit their own needs. Click here for more.
  • THE SUSTAINABILITY HANDBOOK If you haven’t already ordered your copy of the pack, suitable for all key stages, contact us. In England, contact Angela Hill 01926 634519, email [email protected]. In Wales, contact Ann Macgarry 01654 705936, email [email protected]. Later this year we hope to have a pdf version of the handbook linked to the site. You’ll be able to click on the Handbook front cover to download additional copies.


  • Official funding for SDA stopped on 31 March, 2007. We have been fortunate to have been supported by both DFID and the EC over the past four years. This has enabled us to provide resources, training and support free of charge.
  • We will continue to offer SDA certificates to AS and A2 students. Unfortunately, unless we are able to gain additional funding, we will not be able to offer students individual support through the enquiry service.
  • We hope to be able to offer training for teachers in sustainability in D&T and to continue to produce resources. We’ll post details on our websites and through the usual D&T channels.


Those of you who have attended DATA conferences over the last four years will know we feature the work of inspirational students prior to the dinner. We have seen some exceptional products in that time. This year, we hope to have an appropriate display featuring one of the pilot year students, Emma Berry. Emma has remained in design, and graduated this year from Goldsmiths College, London. She will be talking through her experiences of sustainable design from her early SDA beginnings to  professional experiences now.

Emma pictured right, with her friend Kirstie Nichols, at the DATA conference 2003. Both students designed and made methods by which entrepreneurs in East Afica might package their products with re-used or recycled materials.



Another former SDA award winner, Emily Cummins, has had phenomenal success since her AS project took her to DATA at Sheffield Hallam University in 2004. Then she had designed and made a water carrier to enable women to carry more water per journey in their daily routine.

The following year, Emily designed and made a sustainable, solar-powered fridge, again for use in Africa. As a result of being nominated by SDA to the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, she won a grant that enabled her to visit Namibia to see what interest there was in her fridge.

When she returned, she was nominated for the Shell Woman Technologist of the Future award, sponsored by Shell. In competition with other far older and more experienced than her (a Ph.D, a woman Formula 1 team member) Emily was chosen in the 18-35 category – the only teenager in the final six.

Emily’s experience is testimony to what sustainable design can achieve. We look forward to hearing more about the exploits of this remarkable young woman!

For more details of Emily’s work, go to her personal website,




Students' work displayed at DATA conference



Emily Cummins - a sustainable fridge

Emily Cummins - A sustainable fridge

Emily, an A2 level student from South Craven School, Keighley, had her AS level water carrier displayed at the DATA Conference last year. This year she’s done it again, with her design for a sustainable fridge.

Emily was inspired by the keynote address she heard at DATA last year from Ed Gillespie. She was especially interested in his predictions for the future if we continue to design and make in the way we do now. As a result she decided to look at the idea of making something for anyone who wanted to keep things cool, wherever they are in the world.

She has made sensible use of stakeholders, and kept sustainability in mind throughout her designing and making.

Robert Hulse - A sustainable bar stool

Robert, an AS level student from Ysgol Dinas Bran, was keen to see how it might be possible to re-use used car parts to make a new product.

He also wanted to produce something that was stylish and that would appeal to young people of his own age.

The result was a sustainable bar stool, which includes the use of a wheel hub and bearings.

His project shows it is possible for re-used materials to be successfully used to create a new product which is fit for purpose, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable.

Robert Hulse - a bar stool made from re-used car components

     Aran Dasan - a sustainable cooking stove

Aran Dasan - A sustainable cooking stove

Aran, an A2 level student from Simon Langton GS for Boys, Canterbury, is a keen camper and was dissatisfied with the camping stoves he’d used in the past, both from a safety viewpoint, but also because he thought they contributed to climate change.

  One of the strengths of his projects is his clear analysis of the sustainability of existing products, and his careful use of the better elements of those products in his initial designs. He also had the courage to change the emphasis of his product part way through his project.

  He has understood the weaknesses of his final design, and the limitations of solar power, which has its own safety issues. However, he has been conscious of sustainability issues throughout his work.

Gemma Jephcott - A biodegradable remembrance tribute 

Gemma, an A2 level student from Hurstpierpoint College, Sussex, has produced one of the most unusual projects we’ve ever seen. She was inspired by a friend who wanted a roadside remembrance tribute.

Gemma’s work is a remarkable effort to produce a tribute that meets legal requirements in terms of size and structure but which also meets her own sustainability brief.

Her research into suitable materials for the structure, and into plants for the tribute, has been exacting. She has come up with an aesthetically pleasing design which will naturally biodegrade at the roadside.


Gemma Jephcott - a biodegradable remembrance tribute

Jemma Westling - a sustainable house

Jemma Westing - Halfpenny Cottage: a sustainable house

Jemma, an A2 level student from Midhurst Grammar School, Sussex, has produced one of the most thorough pieces of sustainable research and design that we’ve seen so far in SDA.

She’s thought about everything, and has completed as much research as physically possible to find the most sustainable materials to use in many aspects of building a house.

From choice and style of the frame to the discovery of bio-degradable flooring materials, she has done her best to produce a design for the cottage which fits in with the locality, uses local resources, and uses sustainable materials.

If you were looking to build a sustainable house, you have a job to beat it – and she even reckons the price wouldn’t be prohibitive!

Lucy Pritchett - A fruit juice container for Kenya

Lucy, an A2 level student from Northampton School for Girls, chose to attempt a Practical Action design brief from the SDA website and handbook. It involved designing and making a fruit juice container suitable for production and use by vendors in Kenya.

One of the strengths of Lucy’s project is her regular contact with her stakeholders for feedback on her ideas. She asked pertinent questions throughout, and incorporated answers into her designs, and her choice of materials.

Her graphic work is lovely, and she has come up with designs that are highly appropriate to the Kenyan market.

Lucy Pritchett - a fruit juice container for Kenya


Robert Hulse shows his sustainable bar stool

Robert Hulse showing delegates how his sustainable bar stool works

Practical Action at Sheffield Hallam University

Practical Action's Cai Cheadle setting up the stand at Sheffield Hallam University

Emily Cummins receiving her SDA

DATA's Chief Executive, Richard Green, presenting Emily Cummins with her Sustainable Design Award

Ed Gillespie - Futerra

If you were at the 2004 DATA conference, you will probably remember Ed Gillespie's keynote address to delegates. Since then, Ed has given keynotes at a student study weekend and a conference for initial teacher educators. His original presentation is now available for you to use - download.