Creative Challenge in Brazil

Brasil Yawanawá explains work at the original Yawanawá settlement of Escondido.

Brasil Yawanawá explains work at the original Yawanawá settlement of Escondido.

In December 2014 Uwe Derksen,  head of the Enterprise Team at UCA,  visited the Amazon in Brazil, invited by the Yawanawa tribe, whose member Nixiwaka (also known as Joel) works for Survival International, the movement for tribal peoples and has been involved in the Creative Challenge for the last couple of years.

The aim of the visit was to seek information and answers to a range of questions, which could  be shared with UCA students. There was also the possibility of developing the project further, depending on the outcome.

The Yawanawá tribe people are one of many indigenous people of Brazil. They, that are a few hundred of Yawanawá people, live in small villages or settlements along the narrow Gregorio river. In order to reach the various Yawanawá villages it is necessary to travel from Tarauacá by truck on the BR-364 for 1.5 hours to the river Gregorio where at the Ponte Sobre there is an access point to the river with a number of small commercial outlets. From there using a small narrow light-weight aluminum canoe boat with an air-cooled long-tail outboard motor it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the first Yawanawá village and another 4-5 hours to reach the last settlement, which is about 80 km away. The Gregorio river is relatively narrow, depending on water levels and extremely windy whilst littered with tree branches and stumps. The river has become more hazardous due to a major recent flooding (November 2014), bringing down riverside trees as well as destroying some houses and equipment of indigenous and non-indigenous people living alongside the river. The flood apparently was the worst ever and illegal tree logging is being blamed as one of the causes.

Uwe said,

I experienced the people them as welcoming, warm and friendly, hard working and giving, humorous and helpful, trusting. My deep respect and thanks go to all those people (Yawanawá and others) who opened their doors to me as a stranger in their home. It was privileged to be among them, albeit briefly.

Flooding at Yawanawa tribe

Floodwater-ravaged banks at Yawanawa tribal territory

Uwe has written some blog entries about his experiences at


The enterprise of liberation

The Creative Challenge has kicked off with a bang this year, with a packed schedule of workshops in the UK and a residential in France for many students. There is a truly international flavour with students from ESADHaR as well as our own UCA students getting involved.

Both UCA and ESADHaR students submitted proposals this year; submissions were scored by external assessors and all successful students were offered an all-expenses paid place on the Residential Workshop held in Le Havre, France from Monday 24th to Friday 28th November. The trip to Le Havre was a great success, with forty-nine students from UCA and ESADHaR attending.

“Liberation” was the theme of the residential; student were grouped to focus on different aspects of liberation with the support of a facilitator and, for many groups, a previous Creative Challenge student. Each group was challenged to tackle their theme and to create a work to exhibit.


ICR was selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVA France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the ERDF

interreg logo

Creative Challenge Residential Nov 2014 gallery

interreg logo

Creative Challenge kicks off!

Creative Challenge in action

It’s all kicked off at the Creative Challenge, a free and inspiring programme where students have the opportunity to meet industry experts, showcase their ideas and, for some students, there is an opportunity for an all-expenses-paid residential trip to France to further explore their ideas.

After receiving advice from Enterprise staff and Creative Challenge mentors, over 600 students signed up for the Challenge programme 2014/15. 150 UCA students have taken part in four workshops at Epsom, Canterbury, Farnham and Rochester to work on their ideas that combine their view about society and the environment with their creative and entrepreneurial skills. 45 best concepts have now been selected to attend the Residential Workshop in Le Havre in November.

Jennifer Xu, studying on the International Foundation Diploma of Art and Design, attended the Farnham workshop. Jennifer says,

I signed up for the Creative Challenge as I thought it would be good to experiment with new things, as I have not attend a workshop like this before. And it indeed was a good experience for me. The workshop gave me inspiration as the tutors talked about the possibility of combining two random things and how to research m ideas. For me, the most valuable advice I received is that to actually think about the resources around and how I could develop my idea using these resources; I’ve never really considered how the resources I have can be used. And it gave me lots of inspiration to work on my sketchbook for my IFAD course.

UCA will now run workshops for the ESADHaR students at their campuses in Le Havre and Rouen, and selected individuals will be invited to join the programme and work on their projects alongside UCA students.

To see films and images from our events and workshop, please follow the Creative Challenge Facebook page:

More information: Marta at or check out

“Get the ball rolling because you don’t know where it’s going to lead.”

Cathy Busby, speaker at Creative Challenge 2014

Tony Benn: always our Creative Challenge inspiration

Tony Benn at CC 2012
Tony Benn at CC 2012

Tony Benn

Our round-up of the 2014 Creative Challenge wouldn’t be complete without revisiting the talk that the late Tony Benn gave at the Creative Challenge ceremony 2012. The audience at the 2014 celebration watched a video of Tony’s speech; we were honoured, inspired and moved by him then and we are so today. The world is truly the lesser for his passing.

Creative Challenge 2014 residential gallery