Dr Richard Blackburn receives second SDC Centenary Medal

Dr. Richard Blackburn, Associate Professor in The School of Design, has become the first person ever to win The Society of Dyers and Colourists Centenary Medal in two consecutive years.

The SDC Centenary Medal is awarded annually to the author or authors of the most significant paper published by the Society each year. Dr. Blackburn won the award for the first time last year for his 2017 paper concerning historical aspects of dyeing with madder. This year, his winning paper from 2018 is entitled “Food colourants: their past, present and future”, which was written with Dr. Tom Coultate, formerly of London South Bank University.

On the paper, the Editor-in-Chief of Coloration Technology, Dr. Andrew Towns, said, “This excellent article gives a readable commentary on technical and regulatory aspects of food colourants faced by industry and is very welcome. It summarises the current state of food colouration in terms of where it has evolved from and the directions in which it is likely to go next.

The authors start with a fascinating – and horrifying – account of how synthetic colourants were once used, before moving on to share their expertise of current practice. In this part of their review, they concentrate on naturally‚Äźderived dyes. The authors do so because of their belief that consumer opinion will spur on industry's drive to find new ways of using them at the expense of colourants produced by synthesis from petrochemicals.

They close by considering developments that might shape the future of food colouration, specifically the search for new economically‚Äźviable sources of natural colourants. This article will, therefore, be of great interest not just to specialists working within the food industry, but to those of us who literally watch what we eat!”

Dr. Blackburn said “I was absolutely astonished and highly delighted to find out I had won the SDC Centenary Medal for a second time. I’m very much looking forward to the ceremony in May and receiving the medal alongside my terrific co-author Tom Coultate”.

Despite the pair’s success, the SDC Day of Celebration ceremony, held on Friday 10th May at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York, will mark the first time the two co-authors have actually met in person.