TechCul Ideathon winners tackle challenges in culture and creative sector

TechCul Ideathon winners tackle challenges in culture and creative sector

Teams from around the Asia-Pacific region were recognized by UNESCO during its first TechCul Ideathon for proposing cutting-edge digital solutions and business models to overcome challenges in the culture and creative sector.

A total of 443 participants from 34 countries signed up for the Ideathon Online Event on 6 December 2020. Twenty-five finalists were shortlisted by UNESCO and organizing partner FOSSASIA, a non-profit focused on open source software and open hardware, to present their ideas to the Jury members at the pitch event on 9 January 2021.

“With the new challenges the creative sector across the world has faced in 2020, TechCul is a great way to foster innovative ideas and digital solutions from the grassroots,” said Jury member Roxana Apostol, Programme Manager at the British Council.

The Roots Routes team from Thailand was the crowd favorite, garnering prizes from the British Council, International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) and Tencent, as well as startup support from Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency and the National Innovation Agency. The team proposed a travel platform that connects people to indigenous culture and local communities in a sensitive and sustainable manner.

Another popular winner was the WaH! Collective team from Hong Kong SAR, China, which pitched an online platform to connect culture enthusiasts with rural villagers through interactive workshops about local knowhow. The project won prizes from Huawei and ICHCAP, as well as mentoring support from the University of Hong Kong.

Other top prize-winning teams include:

Digital solutions to enhancing visitor experiences in museums
Myanmar Cultural Heritage VR Museum & Web Portal
Visitor’s Virtual Friend (Afghanistan)

Interactive games that contribute to enhanced understanding of cultural heritage 
Culture Quiz Maker (Viet Nam)
Nirvana of Ruins (China) – providing a gamified experience of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing

Online archive/documentation of cultural traditions that are vulnerable
Lao Voice Altas – capturing stories from elders for the younger generation

Online educational platforms that connect the public to culture and creative sector
Arts on Demand (Philippines) – linking artists with teachers/schools for arts education
Culturemy (India) – an online learning platform about culture
Hat Boi 101 (Viet Nam) – promoting appreciation of Vietnamese traditional opera
UpStage (New Zealand) – a virtual stage

Substitute for existing digital heritage conservation tools
LiDAR Project (Malaysia, Myanmar, Viet Nam) – providing affordable hardware and software solutions to create 3D scans

“There is no better way to bridge the past and the future than through the application of technology to preserve and encourage cultural enrichment. Through UNESCO’s TechCul initiative, we create opportunities for traditional arts to embrace digital concepts to increase cultural reach,” commented Jury member Michael Macdonald, Chief Digital Officer at Huawei Technologies.

The winning teams will receive a range of prizes, including cash, tech gadgets, cloud storage, mentoring and incubation support by UNESCO and prestigious partners. The support will help them further develop their ideas into prototypes.

All 25 finalists will be provided cloud credits by Amazon Web Services. Regional prizes were offered by leading technology companies such as Huawei, along with cultural institutions like the British Council, ICHCAP and the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Civil Society and Governance.  Thailand-based partners included the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, the National Innovation Agency and Tencent (Thailand).

UNESCO launched the TechCul Initiative to bring together a new generation of new technology and culture innovators, such as artists, photographers and museum curators. Both seasoned professionals and students took part. The youngest team was a sister duo from Singapore, ages 11 and 13. 

For further information about the Ideathon-winning ideas, prizes and the UNESCO TechCul initiative, please visit:  


For TechCul related inquiries, please contact:

Culture Unit
UNESCO Bangkok
Tel.: (66 2) 391-5077 Ext. 509
Fax.: (66 2) 391-0866



Media contact:            

Jeremy Clay Walden-Schertz
Media Officer
UNESCO Bangkok