Architecture student Sarah Bradshaw has earned national recognition for her innovative thesis that drew upon her own family’s experiences as part of the Windrush Generation.

Sarah’s project, called ‘The Expedition’, saw her named as one of the runners-up in the Adobe Digital Edge Awards, making her just one of a very small number to be whittled down from applicants all over the UK.

The Adobe awards recognise students who put the company’s range of software like Photoshop or Illustrator to innovative use.

She designed a building that, had it been built from 1948 onwards, could have helped people arriving in London from the Caribbean settle into their new surroundings. Sarah’s grandparents and Mum made that journey from Jamaica, and while she says her Mum was shocked by her plans for her project, she is proud of her daughter’s empowering and powerful project.

Sarah drew up plans for a building in Camden, where many of the initial Windrush Generation lived for a time, and factored in her desire to make social justice integral to her project.

“It represents the journey of the arrival from the Caribbean to the UK, as well as something that reflects some of the history of the journey and their experiences when they arrived,” says Sarah.

“The project shows what could have been if there had been such a building for people after they had arrived, while a walk through the building would have been an historical and psychological journey.

“But I did not want to create a museum, I wanted to create something practical. It is also a historical reflection of what actually happened, and not the sanitised version of what everyone thinks the journey of the Windrush Generation was.”

Sarah’s recognition by Adobe follows a year after she was a regional winner of the Women In Property  National Students awards, but in addition to the honours going her way, she is proud at being able to channel part of her heritage into her career.

“I have really enjoyed the experience as it has been such a different way to educate people about my history,” says Sarah, currently on a placement year at Brewster Bye Architects in Leeds as part of her MArch.

“To educate people about a piece of British history has been really exciting, although I was a little sad I had to finish it. I wanted to carry it on, hopefully that will be next or I can look at other times in history and come up with solutions for problems even into the current day.

Bea Martin, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Technology, adds, “Sarah’s final project is the culmination of an audacious design proposition of grand poetic expression. It is thoughtful, piercing, and unapologetic.”