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Opportunity: ELEVATE Startwell™ Challenge

Opportunity: ELEVATE Startwell™ Challenge

9 November 2014
by Marion Lean

A brand new programme from the British Council will give cultural innovators the chance to collaborate with peers across the world, hone their professional skills and see their ideas realised with special project funding.

Developed and presented by the British Council, ELEVATE is a programme that aims to build a global community of problem-solvers, who will meet practical challenges with innovative solutions to social problems, such as urbanisation, aging populations and sustainability.

The first stage of the programme will be the ELEVATE StartWell™ Challenge, which will open for applications on Monday 10 November from entrants in Australia, Burma, China, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines and the UK.

Applicants can be anyone who uses creativity in their work and life including (but not limited to) artists, designers, performers, digital technologists, and architecture.
Those with the best ideas will become the first ELEVATE Fellows, and will be invited to attend a fully-paid residential Innovation Camp at Yamaguchi Centre for Arts and Media [YCAM], in February 2015.

After the innovation camp, ELEVATE Fellows may be chosen to receive a share of the ELEVATE support money (SGD 50K), with which they may realise their play space idea or continue professional development. Fellows will also have access to a bespoke digital platform (from March 2015), which will include resources and educational content from leading organisations such as the Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE), Goldsmiths, University of London.

The ELEVATE StartWell™ Challenge is developed in partnership with Singapore philanthropic house, the Lien Foundation, in line with Lien Foundation’s StartWell initiative, which aims to rethink the priorities of childhood in Singapore. The partnership between the British Council and the Lien Foundation grew out of a mutual concern for social issues and an ambitious approach to harness creativity and values-based decision-making.

The ELEVATE StartWell™ Challenge asks applicants to present innovative new concepts to improve the element of play in early childhood (0-8 years), reimagine urban spaces and playgrounds, and the way young children interact with space.

“Play is how children navigate experiences, cultivate curiosity and creativity, and most importantly, learn, ” said Mr Lee Poh Wah, Lien Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is their natural way of discovering new knowledge and vital to their development and wellbeing. If we want happy & healthy children, we need to nurture their playful instincts, and provide stimulating environments. The Challenge is to identify these playful possibilities and transform it into serious opportunities to positively impact children’s learning and development.”

Applications for ELEVATE Startwell™ Challenge open Monday 10 November 2014 and close Monday 5 January 2015.

To find out more about ELEVATE, visit