Education, Traditional & Culture

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2021

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge is a prestigious annual summer school programme which has a tremendous reputation and impact since 2015. Pre-university students from Japan and the UK attend a series of university-style lectures on a wide range of subjects by academics from leading UK universities including UCL (University College London), and engage in UCL Grand Challenge Workshop. Participants also experience British university student life through staying in halls of residence at University of Cambridge and UCL. In the seventh year 2021, they would like to hold our programme online, the same way they did last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions. However, they believe that this virtual programme increases opportunities to participate in it, for those who would otherwise not be able to do so.
This programme was established in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Choshu Five and the Satsuma 19 students’ arrival at UCL. The Choshu Five were the first Japanese students who studied in a UK university, and upon return they played leading roles in modernising Japan. Since then, UCL and Japan have been enjoying close ties.

Programme outline

Dates: 3rd August – 24th August 2021 (4 weeks, weekdays only)
Time: 9.00 am – 12.00 pm in UK time (BST), 5.00 pm – 8.00 pm in Japan time (JST) (tbc)

1. UCL Grand Challenge Event Theme: Art and Design for Sustainable Future

Through the past UCL-Japan Youth Challenge programmes, we have provided opportunities for young students to look into social problems mainly through science and technology. This year, we would like to highlight the cultural side of the issues and discuss how art and design could contribute to solving those problems and developing the sustainable future. Once in the history, art and science were inseparable and the ultimate objectives of these disciplines were the same— understanding the world better. Although these two disciplines became more and more apart from each other through historical developments, these days we are, again, realising that art and science are both essential for our future. Pure technology is not enough to make our life better because we cannot live without culture and we cannot live without joy and delight to live a life. Design is likewise an unmissable element to achieve that together with engineering. We need to think about our future and solutions to make it sustainable through this wide perspective ranging between art, design, engineering and science. We aim to use this year’s programme as an opportunity for young students to know the most advanced practice in art and design, which is not merely for visual aesthetics but also powerfully connected with social issues in various dimensions. Interactive discussions will be encouraged between professionals and students, wishing we altogether can gain a new vision to see our future through our programme.

Programme presented by Dr Hideki Yoshimoto

Hideki Yoshimoto is a designer, artist and researcher. Hideki graduated from the University of Tokyo with BS and MS degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics,
then moved to London and completed PhD in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art. He founded his own studio TANGENT in 2015 in London, and has been leading the team’s creative projects utilising his inter-disciplinary knowledge. He was appointed as a Visiting Associate Professor in Art Science at the Osaka University of Arts (2018) and as a Project Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (2020), where he was one of the founding members of the Advanced Art Design Laboratory.
Hideki has received many awards in both of engineering and design fields, such as Best Conference Award from the Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence (2010), Super Creator Certification from the Japanese Information-technology Promotion Agency (2010), Red Dot Design Concept Best of the Best Award (2012), Lexus Design Award Grand Prix (2013) and Milano Design Award Best Engagement Award (2016).

2. A series of lectures
Academic lectures
We will provide a number of academic lectures, which cover science, technology, and social
Japanese culture
This includes various lectures on Japanese culture, such as calligraphy, manga, anime, tea
ceremony, flower arrangement, cooking and so forth.
Study abroad
UCL students from Japan will share their experiences. UCL will explain how to enter British
universities. We will also provide information on how to go on to Japanese universities for British


Week 1: Introduction on Tuesday 3rd August
Lectures on Wednesday 4th, Thursday 5th, Friday 6th August

Week 2: Academic Lectures on Tuesday 10th August
Lectures on Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, Friday 13th August

Week 3: Lectures on Monday 16th August
UCL Grand Challenge Workshop on Tuesday 17th August
Preparation for Presentation on Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th, Friday 20th August

Week 4: Presentation on Monday 23rd August
Discussion & Final Ceremony on Tuesday 24th August

Academic Lectures in Week 2 : Welcoming three lecturers in the fields of art and design.

Prof Ryohei Kanzaki
Director | Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology | University of Tokyo
Ryohei Kanzaki is a director and professor of Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), The University of Tokyo.
He received his B.S., M.S. and D.Sc. degree in Neurobiology from the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba in 1980, 1983 and 1986, respectively. From 1987 to 1990 he was a postdoctoral research fellow of the Arizona Research Laboratories, Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona. From 1991 to 2003 he was successively an assistant professor, associate professor, and professor of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba. From 2004 to 2006 he was a professor of Department of Mechano-Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo. Since 2006 he is a professor of the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), The University of Tokyo.
He is interested in clarifying behavioral and neural basis of adaptive behaviors (or biological intelligence) using interdisciplinary approaches combining biology, informatics and engineering.

Ms Corinne Julius
Journalist, broadcaster and curator
Corinne Julius is a leading champion of new design talent in the United Kingdom.
A judge of many applied arts and design awards, she is an astute and passionate critic of contemporary craft and mentor to contemporary craftspeople.
In 2008, Julius was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and in 2014, she launched ‘Future Heritage’, a ground-breaking showcase of contemporary craft which is the highlight of design trade show, Decorex International.

Dr Hideki Yoshimoto
Project Associate Professor | Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology | University of Tokyo

VIDEO from participants from JAPAN

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