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Reporting back from the WaterAid Design Challenge Workshop

Written by Postgraduate Community
Published date 08 February 2018
By Tracy Gordon MA Service, Experience and Design Innovation
at London College of Communication

University of the Arts London’s Postgraduate Community Programme has partnered with WaterAid to make a real difference in helping people get clean water. This is the first of the collaborations the Postgraduate Community Programme at UAL will be hosting to tackle social issues as a platform for our students to bring positive change in creative ways.

On Tuesday, February 6, Postgraduate students from all 6 UAL colleges and across participated in the first WaterAid workshop held in Central Saint Martins. They took part in the briefing session of the Design and promote WaterAid Challenge, aimed at designing a creative and ground-breaking public campaign to raise awareness and a call to action to ending the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis for good.

Water is one of the most vital resources all forms of life need to survive. Throughout the history of humankind, the strongest civilizations revolved and evolved around water because it enabled their socio-economic development. Up until this day, we still depend on this elemental resource for our everyday activities.


Simply put water is life. Can you imagine yourself living in a world where you have no access to water, and you have to walk several miles to get clean water, or training yourself to go to a restroom once a day because there are no toilets available? Sadly, this is the story for millions of people across the globe who are living in less than

favorable conditions without access to clean water. This is known as ‘The Wash Crisis’, and the numbers are alarming:

  • 844 million people in the world do not have clean water close to home.
  • 3 billion people in the world do not have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.

© WaterAid, Ahmed Jallanzo – Living without Safe Toilets

This is one of the most serious crisis of our time. The lack of clean water poses a serious threat to humanity. Needless to say, access to clean water is a basic human right.

WaterAid is an international development organization that works with impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific to help them get clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

Aligned with the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), through the implementation of Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030, WaterAid is working to give back dignity, security, creating opportunities and bringing change to these communities so they can thrive.

© WaterAid, Jon Spaull – Walking for water

All the participating postgraduate students showed a keen interest in changing the world and were motivated to explore and discuss possible solutions to this problem. Students will have the opportunity of collaborating in multidisciplinary teams.  UAL courses represented were:

  • MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation at London College of Fashion
  • MA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins
  • MA Innovation Management at Central Saint Martins
  • MA Service Experience Design and Innovation at London College of Communication
  • MA Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College of Arts
  • MA Painting  at Wimbledon College of Arts
  • MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins
  • MA Design Management and Culture at London College of Communication
  • MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts
  • MA Fine Art Sculpture at Camberwell College of Arts

The deadline for submissions will be Friday 16 March.

A judging panel will gather to choose top submissions. Winners will have the opportunity to gain exposure and recognition through WaterAid ’s own digital channels. First place will also receive an impressive prize gifted by one of WaterAid’s partners!

Make a splash! Join the WaterAid Challenge, water you waiting for?

Contact for more details.

Details for the March WaterAid Talk being held at Camberwell and the April Pop Up Common Room Workshops have been announced and can be found here.

Related Links:

Links to the UN Sustainable Development Goal Links: