Twelve King’s students set out their responses to questions facing the cultural sector in last week’s final of King’s Cultural Challenge, competing to win one of four paid internships with the V&A, Southbank Centre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House.
The finalists pitched innovative responses to urgent, real-world questions identified by the cultural sector in the areas of Access and Diversity, Programming and Curation for the 21st Century, Arts and the Digital, and Cultural Encounters. The project is an initiative of King’s Cultural Institute.
Kate McEnery, CMCI’s Stella Toonen, Mimi Doulton and CMCI’s Emily Browne were awarded internships at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the V&A, Royal Opera House and Southbank Centre respectively, as well as individual cash prizes of £400. CMCI’s Candy Chan collected the ‘Best Pitch’ prize of £400.
Taking on ‘Re-imagining the future’, the challenge posed by the V&A, Stella Toonen pitched ‘Designing the Future City’ , which seeks to challenge visitors to think about their urban environment and the ways they interact with it, both now and in the future, through an underground gallery.
Faced with Southbank Centre’s ‘New Cultural Encounters’ challenge, Emily Browne was awarded an internship for her ‘Art For Nothing’ initiative, aimed at developing partnerships with audiences outside of London. Emily proposed forming a Southbank Collective of workshops within local communities across the UK and an Art For Nothing Festival, celebrating the work of Southbank Centre for local communities.
The judging panel for the event, hosted by InnoCentive, comprised Deborah Bull, the College’s Director, Cultural Partnerships and Katherine Bond, Director of Innovation, King’s Cultural Institute, as well as key figures from the four participating organisations: Rob Greig, Chief Technology Officer, Royal Opera House; Ilaria Purini, Assistant Curator, V&A; Shan Maclennan, Creative Director, Learning and Participation, Southbank Centre; and Geraldine Collinge, Director of Events and Exhibitions, RSC.
Deborah Bull said: ‘It was fascinating to see how the finalists had approached some of the challenges facing the cultural sector, demonstrating what a new generation can bring to these real-world issues.’ She added: ‘The cultural leaders of the future are of course the students of today so I think these benefits are not one-way. Yes, the students who have won the internships will gain a tremendous amount but I hope that the organisations too will gain from the ideas and creativity of our students.’