Contests and Awards

AWDA, all the award-winners of the 5th edition

The awards ceremony for the 5th edition of AWDA, Aiap Women in Design Award, took place on Friday 10 November, at Triennale Milano.

The award ceremony was both a celebration of the award-winning designers and an opportunity to reflect on the communication design discipline, its transformations, its social and economic role in the activation of processes of awareness and contrast to gender disparities. The ceremony opened with the greeting of the curators Cinzia Ferrara, Laura Moretti, Carla Palladino; Marco Sammicheli, director of the Design Museum of Triennale Milano; Marco Tortoioli Ricci, president of AIAP (Italian Visual Communication Design Association, project leader of AWDA); and Jonas Liugaila, general secretary of ICoD (International Design Council, institutional partner of AWDA). In addition to the images of the sixty shortlisted projects and the ten winners, protagonists of the evening were the voices of prominent figures and designers representing international design associations from all over the world (Canada, Ghana, England, Iran, Lithuania, United States, Sweden, Turkey), all members of the international jury and the research jury. An emblematic and recurring question was the thin thread that linked the different moments of the ceremony: How many women are in the room? an invitation to never lower our guard on the theme of female presence and representation in design as in any disciplinary field.

Honorable mentions were awarded, one for each category of the award (Students, Researchers, Professionals), plus four jury’s special mentions, and finally the main Aiap Women in Design Award 2023. In addition, the different partners of AWDA awarded their special prizes.

Many were the Iranian participants in the fifth edition of the award and AWDA gave them a space to voice their cry of protest. During the ceremony, Mahnaz Ekhtiary read a passage sent by the juror Zahra Pashaei who wasn’t able to attend the ceremony due to her visa being denied. It was greatly emotional for the entire audience to hear the vibrant testimony of the cause of Iranian women and to accept the invitation not to leave them alone. The motto Woman, Life, Freedom recurred in the video in which the submitted projects were displayed on the rhythmic notes of One Eyed Giants of Bowland.
In the fifth edition of AWDA, a new AWDA for Rights! award was introduced: it was awarded by curators and jury to projects that address social issues of women’s rights and work, and more generally gender inequalities in all areas.
John L. Walters, editor-in-chief of Eye magazine, the world’s leading design magazine, was the protagonist of a talk dedicated both to women who do historical research and translate it into scientific writing, as well as to the subject of their studies, that’s to say those great women designers of the past, whose stories are waiting to be known and told.

One of the mission of AWDA is to explore the past to reveal those distinctive figures of women designers who, with a dense and innovative professional path, have given their contribution to the dissemination of the culture and the history of visual and communication design. Aoi Huber Kono received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Marco Sammicheli, director of the Triennale Milano Design Museum. Mario Piazza, scientific director of AIAP historical archive (Center for Documentation on the Graphic Project), presented the Career Award for Historic Achievement for Michela Papadia to her brother Francesco who attended the ceremony.

At the end of the evening the stage was occupied by the winners, the jury and the full AWDA team: the initial question How many women are in the room? was thus turned into a tangible composition, reassembled through the juxtaposition of the flag-prizes raised by the winning designers. The flags, that have become modern banners of a peaceful but firm revolution to fight gender inequalities, were realised thanks to a precious collaboration with the "custom service" section of the historic Lanificio Leo, the first Italian textile company to believe in the relationship between design and the world of textile more than twenty years ago. On the flags the words were born from the interweaving of threads, using an innovative jacquard knit technique, arranged in wefts and warps recalling the nature of a project like AWDA, originated from a spirit of plurality and diversity of shared ideas.

Appointment in May 2024, when we will present the final exhibition of the 5th edition of AWDA in the context of BIG - Biennale internazionale grafica -  and then, again, in 2025 for the sixth edition of the award.


Sophie Rubin (WePlayDesign)_CHE
Filmar en América Latina

For its ability to build an archaic yet futuristic language, as composite as essential, as powerful as simple, the AWDA 2023 award goes to FILMAR, the festival dedicated to Latin American cinema and cultures. The small hands drawn by the Mayan glyphs become huge hands that cross the spheres of time and come to describe movements related to the cinematographic practice, conquering the entire space of posters and graphic artifacts speaking a universal language that is that of signs.

Aoi Huber Kono

Michela Papadia

Roshanak Keyghobadi (State University of New York)_IRN/USA
Iranian Women in Graphic Design

Special Mention
Valeria Luisa Bucchetti, Francesca Casnati, Michela Rossi (Politecnico di Milano)_ITA
Manifesto for a gender-sensitive communication

Maria Calzolari (HEAR Haute école des arts du Rhin, Strasbourg)_ITA/FRA
Action cleaning

Special Mention
Federica Caputo (University of Westminster)_ITA/GBR
The Circle. The study of a shape

Barbara Predan, Špela Šubic (University of Ljubljana)_SVN
How is a vase like a house?

Special Mention
Roshanak Keyghobadi (State University of New York)_IRN/USA
Iranian Women in Graphic Design

Giulia De Benedetto (TassinariVetta)_ITA
SISSA – Visual Identity

Special Mention
Maria Donata Bologna_ITA
Museo Fabbrica delle Parole

AWDA 2023 Partners Prizes

Valentina Casali_ITA
Pritzious Schrift font development
Zeynep Yesilmaden (Bilkent University)_TUR
SUB - Posters & Zine Design Project

Parasto Backman (Studio Parasto Backman)_SWE
Svensk Bokkonst 2021

Award by MOAK
Eda Gündüz (Studio These Days)_TUR
The Good Wild

Carin Marzaro_ITA
Volta Pagina

Award by BIG Biennale internazionale grafica
Giulia Gatta (RUFA - Rome University of Fine Arts)_ITA
Tra il grido ed il silenzio



Contests and Awards