When John and I set up the Sorrell Foundation, our aim was to find ways to inspire creativity in children. We ended up being inspired by them.
On our Joinedupdesignforschools project, children of all abilities and backgrounds took on the role as clients, working with some of the UK’s top designers to generate design solutions to problems in their schools.
The children took almost everyone by surprise, turning out to be, as designers and teachers acknowledged, first class clients who weren’t afraid to criticise, who quickly assimilated design language and thinking, and who contributed creatively and constructively to robust and attractive design concepts. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising – after all, who else knows more about what works or doesn’t work in school, than the pupils themselves?
That’s the thing about working with children. It’s tonic for the soul. It moves you, humbles you and restores your faith.
I am also involved with Mencap, a charity for people with learning disabilities. We have run a competition over the past four years in which we asked the entrants to tell a story about their lives using photography and words. You should see the work. It’s on at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London from 18 June. Come and see it. You’ll be inspired. I promise.