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Shaping the future of the creative industries

13 June 2017
Shaping the future of the creative industries

For Ottilie Thornhill, an English undergraduate studying at King’s, the journey to a career in the arts and the impetus to continue her studies with a Master’s degree began by participating in the annual King’s Cultural Challenge.



Ottilie’s idea, Allusion, aimed to link together the various outputs of cultural organisations using QR code technology. Through a mobile app, objects, performances and artworks would be coded and, when scanned, other, similar items would be suggested at participating organisations across London. Her idea led to a summer’s paid internship at the Royal Opera House, which in turn led to an 18 month freelance contract helping the Opera House manage their social media platforms. Since then Ottilie has written editorial articles, assisted on film shoots, managed three separate corporate social media presences and become a valued and respected member of the Opera House’s team. She’s also started studying for an MA at King’s.

Since the Challenge I have started doing ballet on a regular basis, created things that have been seen across the world and have learnt that opera and ballet are for me and for everyone else. I have embarked on a Master’s degree and have been surrounded by people who are passionate and focused and who won’t stop until something is good.’

Ottilie Thornhill

The Challenge – now in its fifth year at King’s – involves around 150 students each year and gives them the tools to deliver real change that positively impacts on society. Through skills development sessions and interactive talks from industry leaders from King’s cultural partners, the Challenge not only inspires the next generation of thinkers and leaders, it puts students’ ideas to work. Four of the best ideas win their creators a paid internship within the Challenge partners: the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, the Roundhouse and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Thinking of entering King’s Cultural Challenge? Applications for 2018 open in the autumn. Find out more: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/Cultural/Cultural-Institute/Education/For-Sudents/For-Students.aspx

Southbank Centre and the Roundhouse – two of the locations Challenge winners intern at.

The 2017 winners all answered the question: Art changes everything: In a divisive social and political climate, how can arts and culture drive social change? They included:

  • An online forum – Synthate – from English and Film Studies student Sam Davies brought together makers and performers to focus on the creation of art that encourages both diversity and a positive attitude towards learning about what makes us different.
  • Josephine Pachta-Reyhofen, a Culture, Media & the Creative Industries student, developed the Sign Stages Festival, celebrating work with and by deaf performers and aims to introduce hearing audiences to new experiences and promote the quality of work by an under-represented community.
  • Medical student Mandeep Singh’s Cultural Adventurers scheme that rewards individuals who take cultural risks with discounted tickets to mystery events. Scheme members would meet before the event in facilitated sessions and meet people they wouldn’t ordinarily engage with, encouraging powerful conversations and introducing cultural partners to new audiences.
  • Subha Robert William, an English student developed BAME Youth Immersion Scheme – a mentoring, placement and events curation scheme for BAME students, aiming to move towards a more ethnically diverse workforce in arts and culture.
  • Liberal Arts student Ally Faughnan’s PARTYforPOLITICS, a London-based events company hosting arts and cultural events across the capital that aims to engage students and raise awareness of current and upcoming political events was recognised as the best pitch.

Ottilie’s story is one of many with 2016 winners Amber Boothe and Anaelle Prioux winning experiences at the Royal Opera House and Roundhouse respectively.

All images (c) David Tett/King’s College London

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