Just two days before the London 2012 opening ceremony, the former Leeds Met student and internationally-acclaimed designer has been honoured for his significant contribution to the arts. Edward started his career by studying for a degree in interior design, graduating in 1989. He met Jay Osgerby, the torch's co-designer, while studying for a Masters degree in Architecture at The Royal College of Art and, in 1996, the duo founded the industrial design practice, BarberOgersby.
The BarberOsgerby Olympic torch design saw off competition from some 1,000 entries to be selected by the London Organising Committee. The pair initially came up with the idea of perforating the torch to reduce its weight, soon realising that incorporating 8,000 holes would represent the number of runners carrying the torch. Also, as well as making it easier to grip the torch, the three-sided design symbolises the three times Britain has hosted the Games.
As well as receiving wide public acclaim, the London Olympic Torch has received one of the creative industry's highest accolades, winning the Design Museum's: Design of the Year award for 2012.
Alongside their eponymous studio, Barber and Osgerby founded the Universal Design Studio, a creative design consultancy working in architecture, interiors and exhibition design. In 2010, the pair followed this with the launch of Map, a multi-disciplinary design studio that provides design intuition, creative direction and research. Together they are responsible for design collections, furniture and one-off works for both private and public commissions, including designing the Science Museum's biggest-ever gallery.
A Professor of Design, Edward has lectured internationally and hosted workshops. His work is held in permanent collections around the world including the V&A Museum and the Design Museum in London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Other dignitaries receiving awards this week include Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle, Harry Potter and The Syndicate star Matthew Lewis, Red or Dead designer Wayne Hemmingway and England rugby union head coach, Stuart Lancaster, who has been awarded an honorary docorate in Sport. Completing the list of honorary awards are Colin Harrop, Pam Warhurst and The Guardian's Northern Editor Martin Wainwright.
The graduation celebrations will take place at the University's Headingley Campus from Monday 23 to Friday 27 July, where over 5,000 students will graduate over five days, alongside the ten honorary degree recipients.