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Students from the Royal College of Art have been exploring how bio-design can shape future food production

Seven projects exploring the future of food are showcased in a White City exhibition over the next few days.

Students from the Royal College of Art, Wood Lane, are presenting bio solutions to food issues facing the planet – including a remarkable scheme to boost bee populations with a little help from their winged friends. 

The BioDesign Challenge – the inaugural exhibition by the college at its new west London site – is open to the public from 2-4 June, with one chosen winner representing the UK at an international summit in New York at the end of the month.

Students from the RCA have been exploring how bio-design can shape future food production.

The projects they have developed range from agriculture on Mars to tackling food waste, with the innovative solutions the students propose representing collaborations between artists, biologists and designers.

Arts and minds

One team has been addressing declining bee populations by developing an orchard management system to encourage flies to be more efficient pollinators where bee numbers have slumped.

Flies are already inadvertent pollinators, accounting for about 30 per cent of all pollination. The students’ pollination device emits pheromones to manipulate fly movement patterns, ensuring pollination and guaranteeing future fruit harvests.

Another team has created Pulpe, a system that tackles textile waste, pollution and food waste. A home-craft kit converts waste food into fashion.

“Biodesign allows you to look beyond what a handbag is to what it could be,” explained student Alice Potts.

Design, fashion and textile departments at the RCA have pooled their resources and collaborated with scientists from Imperial College in a project organised by Helene Steiner and Dr Thomas Meany.

The seven student teams worked on producing sustainable food futures supporting the whole ecosystem.

Prototypes, photographs and films documenting the students' research processes are on display in a pop-up exhibition at White City Place until 4 June.

Other issues tackled include listening to the gut to better understand the microbial relationship between the digestive system and the brain; making use of the fungal network between plants to distribute nutrients; and devising ways of preparing food on interplanetary journeys.

A jury of scientists will choose one of the teams to travel to New York for the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Museum of Modern Art from 23-27 June, competing against student teams from 22 universities.

The Food Futures RCA BioDesign Challenge exhibition is open to the public from 11am-6pm, 2-4 June at Unit 6, Westworks Building, Wood Lane.

Boosting bio-diversity

Residents have an extra few weeks to make sure they have their say on what can be done to make Hammersmith & Fulham a haven for wildlife.

H&F’s Biodiversity Commission will work alongside the council to find ways to improve the borough for animals and plants.

The commission, comprising a concerned group of Hammersmith & Fulham residents, launched a survey seeking residents’ views on what can be done by the council and individuals to improve the local environment for wildlife.

The consultation closes on Monday 19 June, so be sure to click the link and have your say before then.

Royal College of Art in White City

This autumn, the Royal College of Art will open its schools of humanities and communications in Wood Lane, by the BBC’s former Television Centre complex

Together with the research campus being built by Imperial College, it shifts the capital’s creative axis to the heart of west London. The RCA is also moving part of its school of architecture into the former BBC building at 201 Wood Lane.

The RCA’s new hub will open in the Garden House building at 201 Wood Lane in September. A three-storey building totalling 40,000sqft, it shares a garden with the neighbouring 230,000sqft MediaWorks building.

More than 700 students and staff will be based in the RCA, which has scope to involve the community in exhibitions, live projects and digital partnerships.


The proposed RCA building in White City

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