Young Brits competition: In search of the brightest new talent in the arts, enterprise and innovation


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The Independent Culture

The Science Museum, Wired and i newspaper have come together to support a nationwide talent competition for young people in the arts, enterprise and innovation.

The Young Brits competition, open to people aged 16 to 25, and launched by the British design label Jack Wills, seeks to recognise and champion emerging talent. Eight winners will each receive a cash prize of £5,000 and professional mentoring.

The four categories - creativity, enterprise, innovation and endurance - are intentionally open in the hope of attracting the greatest variety of entries.

Applicants have six weeks to enter - the deadline is 15 May - before the public is invited to appraise their ideas and 40 semi-finalists are shortlisted. They will then be interviewed individually by judges in their category and the panel will select two winners from each group. 

The judges include the Curator of Digital at the V&A, Louise Shannon, the Science Museum's Inventor in Residence, Mark Champkins, the businesswoman and FA director Heather Rabbatts, and the Editor of i, Oliver Duff.

“Young people excel in such a variety of ways and in different areas,” said Emma Sheller, Jack Wills chief marketing officer. “We've kept the categories broad so we don't miss the world base-jumping champion or the person who travelled to 100 countries before they were 21.”

Olivia Solon, Deputy Editor of the science and tech website, is a judge in the innovation category. “Some ideas might be fully-formed prototypes while others may be less well developed,” she said. “It will be the idea - rather than the level of polish - that will stand out to me.”

Fellow judge Mr Champkins, whose recent projects at the Science Museum include levitating cutlery and a word-count pencil, commented: “Children are encouraged to be endlessly creative at primary school but then at secondary school it all gets knocked out of them.” He is eager to see what he calls “applied inventiveness”.

“Where is this invention going to be useful? How will the product impact on people's lives and help them? To me that is the mark of a good invention,” Champkins says. “I'm also looking for that magical quality that brings a smile to people's faces.”

More details can be found at: