Photo Credit: King’s College London

The phrase ‘King’s Cultural Challenge’ has inevitably cropped up in many of our KCL inboxes within the past weeks. Alas, as the busy students we are at this time of year, we may have shamefully blindsided all emails that don’t concern coursework deadlines of late. Roar spoke to Emma Waslin, Organiser and Manager of the Cultural Challenge at the College to find out more about the exciting event. 
So, what exactly is the ‘Cultural Challenge?’
The Cultural Challenge is a great series of opportunities for all students to generate new ideas working alongside exciting partners from the Arts and Culture sector. The series of talks and workshops expands students’ awareness of the opportunities the Arts can have to change the world. My role, as the new Creative Learning Project Manager for the Cultural Institute at King’s, is to deliver such projects that connect King’s students with the Arts and Cultural Sectors in London.
How is the Challenge run? What kind of events can students sign up to?
This year there are three hack events: Arts and Society, Arts and Health and Arts and Global – the hack events are there for students to generate new ideas, learn to pitch whilst having a great time, eat pizza, drink beer or soft drinks!
How can we continue this experience? What’s the ‘next phase?’
Following the hack events, the second phase of King’s Cultural Challenge is that individuals can submit responses to a provocation set specifically for the challenge. This asks students to devise projects that can bring arts and culture to the forefront of making change. The submissions for this will open at the end of January, so please visit the ‘Cultural Challenge’ website for more details.
And the final stage?
A number of students will then be selected to go forward to the final of King’s Cultural Challenge. The finalists will have ‘surgeries’ with leaders from partner organisations to refine their ideas, and a pitching surgery before taking part in the final challenge. At the final challenge, partners will select the winners – and the prize is a paid internship with one of our key partner organisations; Royal Opera House, Roundhouse, Southbank Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, Breathe Arts Health Research and Science Gallery.
Can we expect to see any new features in this year’s ‘Cultural Challenge’?
Newly introduced this year is that even if students don’t win overall, there is a chance of winning various shadowing/mentoring opportunities from other prominent organisations.



Wow it sounds brilliant! So why should I, as an arts student myself, involve myself in the scheme?

Well, aside from the opportunity of the internships, you will have the chance to work with like-minded students from across the whole of King’s, enhance your CV by learning new key skills and finally, you will be offered a unique opportunity to influence organisations at the forefront of arts and culture in the world with your expertise and ideas. No other current projects at the College allows you to get this close to the forefront of the action in the arts sector.
How long has the Cultural Challenge been running?
For 6 years! Following this substantial time-period, the scheme is well known across the arts sector, and many interns have gone on to have paid work, either part-time or full-time.
What else have specific past-participants achieved since?
A nice anecdote is that one of the winners from a few years back is now a prominent staff member at the Southbank Centre. They are also responsible for mentoring the Cultural Challenge winners on their internships at the Southbank Centre. I personally see this as evidence that the King’s Cultural Challenge opens doors across the Arts sector in London.
Is the event exclusive to Kings College London students?
Yes: this is an opportunity exclusive to King’s students – and one that should be taken advantage of! Not only will students develop employability skills, but through the developing and pitching new projects, they will be able to increase their employability status significantly.
Now I just can’t wait to take part! How can we get involved?
While, two events (the ‘Arts and Society’ hack at the Strand Campus and Arts & Health) have already taken place, there are plenty more upcoming opportunities for students to throw themselves into!

The Cultural Challenge is a uniquely immersive opportunity which encourages students to not only appreciate the Arts but to be actively engaged. Change for the better can come through any medium, but here, the students of King’s have been invited to make it happen through the art of our ideas. To find out more about Cultural Challenge, click here.


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