An initiative developed to identify and promote design thinking; providing students with a platform to innovate, conceptualize and ultimately produce products, systems or services with real-world applications. The initiative exposes students to business practices and process whilst encouraging collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. A rigorous process of ideation and prototyping culminates in an array of products and solutions ready for the industry partner to review and further refine for possible production.
Project 81 in collaboration with Belgotex and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
On April 16, 2021, Inscape became Africa’s second institution to be profiled by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) for its adoption of the Circular Economy in its formal programmes. The institution joins a list of 54 international universities exploring the impact of the circular economy through programmes and courses specialising in design and engineering.
Project 81, an Inscape initiative to identify and promote solutions designed by students in response to problems or opportunities presented by partners in industry. The project includes a five-day-design-marathon including guest lecturers, energy drinks, coffee, collaboration, new knowledge and exploration culminating in the presentation of solutions, products or processes. In 2021’s iteration, 1st and 2nd year undergraduates were encouraged to creatively solve a real-world factory yarn or carpet waste challenge presented by Belgotex, a long-standing industry partner, harnessing Circular Design strategies, principles and resources provided by the EMF.
The brief: Whereas traditional unsustainable linear economies take non-replenishable resources to make things that are used and quickly discarded as waste, circular economies focus on regenerating natural systems, reducing and eliminating waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use indefinitely. Students must harness circular design strategies to maintain and prolong product lifecycles, reuse and redistribute, refurbish for manufacturing or recycle. Students are challenged to work effectively and efficiently towards a Friday deadline, submitting pre-recorded audio-visual presentations that communicate each group’s ‘Big Idea’ towards solving the brief challenge.
This year’s programme saw 550 students supported by 80 lecturers, representing campuses in Pretoria, Midrand, Durban, Cape Town and Stellenbosch, collaborate virtually in groups to solve a real-world industry-based problem. The week was further enriched by presentations featuring six international guest lecturers. From the Isle of Man, Reniera O’Donnell and Joe Iles representing the EMF facilitated an eye-opening workshop on the Circular Economy. Providing students with case studies on the capacity for circular design strategies to revolutionise businesses, products and systems across the globe, thus moving industries towards a sustainable and future-fit economy. Terry Clapperton, sustainability officer of Belgotex, shared thoughtful insights and experiences of Belgotex as a leading South African business committed to sustainability, circularity and ethics. Additional presentations included those by Wacy Zacarias (Woogui and Karingana Textiles) from Mozambique, from Zambia, Betty Bulongo (Black Forest fashion label & Bulongo Incubator for Fashion and Creative Arts), from Mauritius, Dr Mahendra Gooroochurn representing various circular design collaborations and from England, Hannah Robinson from the British Council. All groups successfully completed and presented their projects via digital recording. To checkout student presentations visit www.inscape.ac
As profiled member of the EMF, Inscape will continue to explore and support global initiatives in the circular economy. The institutions profiling also provides opportunities for international collaboration as well as life-changing student exchange opportunities and exposure with universities across the globe. The institution currently participates in student exchange programmes with the Thomas Moore University in Belgium.