SCALE: Scaling up Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) for Europe

IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) are designed to give children and young people the creative behaviours and thinking skills that when applied to real world challenges help them develop innovative solutions. One hundred and fifty young people will be involved in IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs across Europe between now and March 2023 to help address the climate crisis.

“Our climate and environment are in crisis, and young people have reacted to the urgency of this in recent years. It’s high time we empower not just young people, but the experts and organisations they will meet through the project.”

Sarah Mumford, Programmes Manager at IVE

Check out the SCALE website, to learn more about how this  project addresses current local and regional environmental and climate change issues faced by communities across Europe.


IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) aim to give children and young people the creative behaviours and thinking skills they need to develop innovative solutions to real world challenges, in the classroom or via remote online delivery.

We begin the process by presenting young people with an overview of what the ‘challenge’ is (ie. air pollution), we then deliver our bespoke creativity training and give them access to a resource-bank of ‘experts’ from industry, business and universities. Young people then explore, develop, refine and prepare to pitch their best original, applicable solutions to the challenge to a panel, dragon’s den style. The best ideas are considered for further development.

Watch a video description of the ACL process here.

What’s involved?

The SCALE Project will create an online resource for educators and policy-makers to use to support twelve to seventeen year-0lds to develop creative capacities towards solving specific challenges in relation to the environment and climate change, and equip them with a suite of transferable skills that address this need.

Working with Aspire I-Gen and European partners in Latvia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal and Spain, the SCALE project objectives are:

  • To replicate the ACL methodology on a wider, pan-European scale.
  • To lay the foundations for the implementation and uptake of the ACL methodology at a systemic level.
  • To enhance critical thinking among learners, as well as parents, educational staff and other stakeholders through ACLs.
  • To raise awareness of the huge potential of harnessing young peoples’ natural creativity in producing innovative solutions to European environmental issues.
  • To cultivate an ACL network through which teachers and trainers can exchange resources, knowledge and good practices.

Follow the SCALE project on Facebook.

What are the impacts?

By applying creativity to real-world challenges – such as air pollution – learning becomes ‘real’ and young people take an active part in creating their own futures. We enhance and develop the creativity of children, young people and also staff in schools (via our CPD programme ‘Developing Independent Learners’).

Read the Final Impact Report from our project with schools in Leeds: #breatheLeeds final impact report


IVE will partner with organisations in Belgium, Bulgaria, Latvia, Portugal and Spain and the UK to deliver the project.

UK – Aspire-igen: a Yorkshire based social enterprise committed to changing lives for the better through learning and work.

Belgium – The Square Dot Team: an organisation who specialise in training, mentorship, and educational policy.

Spain – Gestión Estratégica e Innovación SL: an adult training organisation specialising in entrepreneurship, leadership, and online delivery.

Portugal – Municipio de Lousada: a local council who are focussed on interventions to enhance curriculum & coordination of education policy.

Bulgaria – Institute Perspectives: an organisation who implement European integration policies, develop, test and implement innovative methods in non-formal education and entrepreneurship including sustainable development.

Latvia – Austrumlatvijas Tehnologiju Vidusskola: School and higher education provider who specialise in STEM.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Erasmus+ Programme Grant Agreement number: 2020-1-UK01-KA201-0789.

As part of the Erasmus+ funded SCALE programme to scale Applied Creativity Labs up Across Europe young people working with our Bulgarian partners, Institute Perspectives have shared their experiences of delivering and offering Applied Creativity Labs on a regular basis to develop their creative thinking skills and find new solutions to climate issues.

Follow this link to watch Youth coordinators summarise their involvement in ACL (Applied Creativity Lab) piloting!

Get involved

Follow this project on Facebook.

If you would like us to bring an Applied Creativity Lab to your school or youth group or would like to get involved as an ‘expert’ offering your perspective on any of these problems please contact:

    “I thought the way you communicated with us and organised the presentation was very structured and professional. [The Labs] gave the young people a taste of a working environment which was well thought through and considered. IVE brought the young people in and gave them credit. There was respect and confidence in everyone […] and it was a pleasure to be included!”


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