Captivating ‘Grand Challenges’ Poster Exhibition at UCL

Last week, students from Foundation to Level 1Plus spent Monday through Thursday at the Grand Challenges exhibition in the South Cloisters at UCL, a new and exciting addition to the Academy calendar. The exhibition formed part of the Grand Challenges initiative surrounding the themes of Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Cultural Understanding; Human Wellbeing; Justice & Equality and Transformative Technology, with the focus of this particular exhibition being Climate Change, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Justice and Equality.

Day 1 – Students collected data from UCL students and staff on their thoughts about the exhibition.

Day 2 – Students were on site answering questions from exhibition visitors about their work.

Day 3 –  Professor Alan Thompson Pro-Provost (London) announced the winners at the Prize Giving ceremony.

The Climate Change Grand Challenge project poster winners were (left to right) Eric Sebastian Mihai, Zoe NioTakis and Amber-Lilly Cooke (not in image). Foundation Level students, Amber-Lilly, Eric and Zoe created a poster about how we could make the UCL Academy carbon- neutral by 2030. They included ideas such as solar panels and a vegetable garden on the roof, recycling and compost bins, and a biomass boiler. Occupying a central position in the centre of the poster was a poignant quote, ‘you’ll die of old age, I’ll die of climate change’. All pupils expressed their concern about the future state of the planet, and therefore want to find innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint.


The Sustainable Cities Grand Challenge project poster winners were Horace Worall (left) and Santiago Cardoso (right), two keen Level 1Plus mathematicians. Horace snd Santiago worked on the poster during maths club, using the opportunity to evocatively illustrate mathematics’s impact in creating future sustainable cities.


Level 1Plus students also worked on the Grand Challenge of “Justice & Equality”, initially looking at Protest Art to push and inform ideas.

The Justice & Equality Grand Challenge project poster winners were (left to right) Anna Ivankiv, Rahim Ali, Rahma Mohammed and Nova Goldgaber.

In the words of the students:

“Our collage is about the cost of living crisis. It is meant to show the difference in life depending on how much money you have. The pavement is made of money and jewels, and those who are rich and have financial stability get to walk and live. But those without financial stability fall through the cracks and suffer.”

Day 4 – Students once again on site to welcome visitors, answer questions and mark the end of a hugely insightful exhibition.

The collaborative efforts of students produced some awe-inspiring work, which thanks to our sponsor UCL, had exposure to a wide range of UCL students and academics as well as the visiting public. Weaving conversations about these hugely important topics into day-to-day life can catalyse far wider-reaching positive changes, something our students undoubtedly played their part in last week.

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