env.infohackit 2016/17: Grand Final

It’s done. In three months we’ve visited 5 cities, spent 100 hours sketching, drawing vectors, working, reworking, and presenting scicomms infographics. I’ve personally clocked up over 1000 miles on this fantastic infographics road trip. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting nearly 100 PhD students from 14 different research institutions and over 20 marvellous creative professionals and students.

That’s the numbers, but what have we achieved?

We made some infographics

The two day infohackit format culminates in production of an infographic, and each of our teams produced incredible visual outputs of which we’re terrifically proud. Having seen this process now several times over I’m still constantly blown away by how much can be achieved within the time. You can see all the graphics from the programme at the end of this blog…

We learned about design

If the PhD students didn’t know what CMYK stood for, or the difference between a raster and vector, they certainly do now. Granted, not all of our participants are ready to start a design career after 48 hours, but a lot of them have a new approach, new skills and a much better understanding of how to design infographics.

We know how to collaborate

It’s fascinating to watch teams working together towards a common goal. Some of our teams established within the first hour what their final infographic was going to look like, others spent time researching their subject area before starting any sketching. Some people found it easy to work together – for a few it was more challenging. More often than not, by about 7pm, work had focussed in to one person’s computer with everyone else standing behind looking tense. Whatever the process, every presentation came together brilliantly towards the end of each day.

The Grand Final at envEXPO

Our funders NERC were also funding envEXPO 2017, a conference which helped to shape the agenda for environmental innovation, enterprise and research. We decided in the development phase of env.infohackit that it would be perfect to hold the national final during envEXPO. We were able to share the participants’ hardwork with an exhibition of all the infographics from the programme, as well as a having a prime slot on the second day of the conference to hold our final.

Each of our winning teams from Southampton, Plymouth, Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich were asked back to reprise their presentations. We were thrilled to bring everyone together at one celebratory event. Special mention must go to Cecilia from the team from Plymouth who caught the train right across the country (and the sleeper train back again) to attend specifically for the presentations.

Our Grand Final judging panel were:

  • Katherine Kennedy – Director of Blue Ltd – Small International Environmental Consultancy Co-organiser of env EXPO, Post-graduate student of conflict management
  • Trevor Tolhurst – Senior Lecturer in Coastal Processes UEA, Director of Coastal Science MKEN Vice Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Coastal Network
  • Jon Bliss – Infographics specialist and designer at MADE Agency and winner of the first Infohackit in 2015

And the winners are…

All teams presented extremely well and the judges scored everyone highly. For the first time we also had a live electronic vote for the people’s choice award. In the end, the people and the judges both chose their winning as team “Brain Over Prawn” who set out to inform the UK prawn-buying public about the ethical sourcing of these shellfish.

Our winning team picked up our stunning infohackit trophy (all sustainable wood environmental science friends…) as well as a year’s subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud which we hope they will continue to use to communicate science!

Alex and Luke have shared their experiences here…


The three months I spent running env.infohackit was one of the busiest and most enjoyable periods in my career. Introducing some very clever people to infographic design and seeing everything come together so beautifully was a great pleasure. We’ve received several reports of students putting their new skills to good use. Long may that continue! We’re currently planning two new infohackit events (more news to follow) and developing a new animated infographics programme. Watch this space!

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