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King's Cultural Challenge 2015

"The process of taking part in the Challenge alone was invaluable – with the chance to test my ideas with professionals from the four institutions involved. I feel exceptionally privileged to have been given such an amazing opportunity, which may even result in putting my proposal into practice!" Lauren Holden – 2014 Participant, BMus Music Student

"The Cultural Challenge gave me the unique chance to work at a world famous institution, an opportunity I would probably not have got on my own. My internship at the Victoria and Albert Museum has given me great insight into the cultural world and the skills necessary to get a job in it." Stella Toonen – 2013 Participant, CMCI Graduate


The King's Cultural Challenge is an annual event where all students at King's are invited to submit ideas to respond to or answer a key challenge facing the cultural sector in the UK. 

From hundreds of entries, 12 finalists are selected by a panel of experts from our four participating cultural partners, the V&A, the Roundhouse, The Southbank Centre and the Royal Opera House.

The 12 finalists receive coaching and their ideas are developed to a stage where they are then pitched to four senior figures from our cultural partners in front of a live audience. Four winners are selected from the 12, and each winner is offered a paid internship with one of the four partners to work to develop their idea and receive invaluable work experience. 

Cultural Challenge 2015

The challenge for 2015 was:

"How can cultural organisations inspire, transform lives and influence the world over the next decade? Design an innovative cultural project or programme that addresses this question, and which could be implemented by one or more of the King’s Cultural Challenge partners: the Southbank Centre, the Roundhouse, the Royal Opera House and the V&A Museum.

In order to help students explore and prepare their ideas, Culture at King's ran a 'Cultural Hackathon', where industry experts worked with groups of students over the course of a day to mutually uncover the potential challenges and opportunities faced by the sector.  

You can watch a short film about the Cultural Hackathon 2015 on YouTube.

cultural-hack-lecture-1Following the Hackathon, 12 finalists were selected from almost 70 applications from students across the university. They were invited to pitch their cultural ideas to an expert panel of King’s Cultural Challenge partners, the Southbank Centre, the Roundhouse, the Royal Opera House and the V&A, in the hope of winning one of four paid internships with the cultural organisations.

The evening was hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Zeb Soanes and introduced by Deborah Bull, Director, Culture, King’s College London. The competition was fierce as an audience of King’s staff, students, finalists’ families and supporters, and representatives from King’s cultural partners, heard 12 inspiring, innovative and at times radical ideas for how the cultural sector can increase engagement with the next generation of audiences and artists.

King’s is delighted to announce the 2015 King’s Cultural Challenge winners as:

Emma Lawrence – BA English with Film, Faculty of Arts & Humanities for her idea:  #Flashculture – Bringing cultural organisations’ work out onto the streets, a programme of public ‘flash’ performances and the release of an app linking  the hidden histories of towns and cities to the programmes in arts and cultural organisations.  

Marie Ortinau – MA Education in Arts and Cultural Settings, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, for her idea: Hack the Opera – Upending expectations of opera through accessible imaginative programming which links opera excerpts, comedy and improvisation in small local venues to large scale Opera House programming, for the purpose of attracting new audiences to the ‘real thing’.

Kat Pierce – BA English Literature, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, for her idea: The Grid – An innovative scheme to rebalance the distribution of cultural funding across the UK, based around three initiatives: Be a Boss, Transport a Brain, Influence the World.

Ottilie Thornhill  – BA English Literature, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, for her idea: The Start Code – A game-based initiative designed to accessibly deliver professional cultural sector knowledge and skills to young people.

For any questions about participating in future King's Cultural Challenges, please email Stella Toonen at Please note that the competition is only open to current King's students (of all levels).

Please also read the Terms and Conditions.


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