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The Midlands Maker Challenge

Join our making challenge series that aims to empower young people to be the makers of the future.
The launch days for the second challenge are on the 12th & 13th of March at the Museum of Making
Sign up by 1 March to get 20% off travel costs

The Midlands Maker Challenge is an exciting programme for young people (13 and upwards) and draws on the rich manufacturing heritage of the Midlands and our Climate (in)Action challenges will run throughout the 2023/2024 academic year

The Midlands Maker Challenge encourages an open and exploratory mindset to help young people feel empowered to make a difference in their communities and to learn and develop new skills.

Register now

Send us an email on to register your young people and to receive the discount.

Introducing the Midlands Maker Challenge video



MMC Cover image



About the Midlands Maker Challenge

The top 5 things you need to know about the Midlands Maker Challenge

  • It offers a fantastic opportunity for pupil-led discovery and making
  • It encourages young people to be creative, to learn new skills, and to develop exciting solutions using learning gained during the challenge. 
  • There’s a chance for teams and their teachers to be inspired by the collections at the Museum of Making, Derby’s new museum that celebrates 300 years of making on site of what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory
  • Each participating team will receive focussed support delivered through contact days at the Museum of Making, support from mentors and a FREE Making Kit to support the prototyping of their ideas.   
  • There’s a chance to win fantastic making themed prizes for teams and schools! 

Who is the Midlands Maker Challenge for?

We have designed the challenge to be relevant and meaningful to different age groups, offering different challenges for age groups 13-16, 15-18 and 16-21 years, giving tailored activity that reflects the age and experience of those taking part.

All teams are encouraged to imagine, design and create a solution to the challenge that puts people at its core – key to this is learning the importance of empathy, researching and understanding the user, thinking up big ideas and creation of a prototype.

We actively encourage teams from SEND educational providers- get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss how we might adapt the challenge to suit the needs of your team!

How is the Midlands Maker Challenge run?

The main challenge programme runs over 8-12 weeks and is designed to be included in the curriculum or as an extracurricular activity. The challenge includes two contact days at the Museum of Making, a mid-point review visit from mentors and use of Canvas, Derby Museums’ online learning platform.

The journey through the Midlands Maker Challenge

The challenge launches with a context day at the Museum of Making, offering the chance for teams to be inspired by the collections on site. On the day, they will learn skills to set them up for the rest of the challenge, delivered at schools or colleges via Canvas, Derby Museums’ online learning system. It will then finish with a celebration day back at the Museum, where we’ll share and celebrate team ideas!

The challenge uses a person-centred approach to articulate the content that the participants will access, this is based on a series of modules designed to expand on the brief by developing contextual understanding of climate change, making and the user. This is followed by information to help the participants come up with ideas and then develop those using the maker kit that each team receives in school into a prototype that communicates their ideas.

The infographic below provides the overall structure of the challenge.

You can also download a pdf with more information about the process and the key phases – MMC Climate (in)Action challenge – Participant Journey

The Midlands Maker Challenge participant journey infographic


Empowering young people through making

We want young people to identify as makers in whichever capacity they enjoy working. Making encompasses many practices and tools, and it is important that we recognise and encourage this through the challenge. Each school will receive a maker kit, full of materials to get teams making and prototyping their ideas! This develops hands on making skills, whilst delivery of content online encourages big thinking, collaborative working and creativity.

Collaborating to create impact, driven by innovation

The challenge uses a person-centred approach, encouraging collaborative working, listening and co-operation.  Emphasising skills in creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and making, young people are given tools to help them develop and maintain an open, collaborative mindset. The challenge encourages teams to work collaboratively and build on each other’s ideas to think BIG. It aims to show young people how really big impacts can come from small ideas.


About the Climate (in)Action Challenge Series banner

CLIMATE (IN)ACTION is our chosen theme because it is one of the key concerns for young people today and is driven by the idea that local action can have global impact. It allows young people the flexibility to tackle not only climate change, but the inaction of others should they choose to. 

Climate change affects the future of all of us – but is a major concern of many young people today, with many reported to worry about it on a daily basis. With the negativity surrounding the topic in the news, it can make young people (and older) feel overwhelmed. The challenge offers the opportunity to show that change can be made in many ways and can be made by anyone. 

With a variety of live briefs that change each term, teams are encouraged to focus on a single problem tied to the Climate (in)Action theme and encourage research in that area. Through offering the opportunity for young people to be changemakers, it allows them a chance to engage and feel they are making a difference!


Outcomes from participating schools and young people banner

What teachers have said

“They really grasped the journey of designing / making to solve problems and achieve a goal. The support from their mentor supported the pupils to think creatively, open minded but with understanding as to ‘why’ they made these decisions for each scenarios” Nottingham school

“They have learnt to experiment with designs and solutions, without getting too concerned about the completed product, which makes them better designers.” Derbyshire School 

“We integrated the challenge into their A level NEA coursework, with great success. Working to a real design brief has added value to their work. As their teacher, it has enabled me to meet the demands of the curriculum, whilst giving the students an enriched experience and the chance to meet and learn from industry professionals.” Derbyshire school 

Feedback from young people

100% of students reported to see themselves as makers at the end of the challenge- with 100% saying that they weren’t sure or that they weren’t makers at the beginning.

100% of students would recommend the challenge to a friend.

The solutions designed by challenge participants

Dresses made in response to a biomimicry brief, including sustainable materials and messages Resinktoloo - A household waste water filter, re-using sink water to flush the loo, created in response a water use brief. A coral reef replanter that dispenses genetically modified coral polyps, resulting in new coral reef growth, created in response to a biomimicry brief


Upcoming Climate (in)Action Challenges

Dates for the 2022/2023 academic year are shown below, to register your interest please email 

Challenge dates for the next academic year will be announced shortly


Find out more about taking part in the Challenge


Download the SCHOOL INFORMATION PACK – 2022-2023 for more details on the challenge theme and the activity as part of the challenge

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about entering a team or teams onto the challenge please email

Follow us on social media

Midlands Maker Challenge on Twitter / @MakerMidlands

Midlands Maker Challenge on Instagram / @midlandsmakerchallenge


Background to the Midlands Maker Challenge

The series kicked off with the Summer Challenge in July 2020 and was followed up by the first Climate (in)Action challenge, April to June 2021. Seven schools, 24 teams and over 80 young people took part in this challenge.  During the 2021/2022 academic year we worked with over 110 young people from five schools in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

The Midlands Maker Challenge supports young people in the development of skills that will make them adaptive and resilient, empowering them as they take ownership of their futures. Key to this approach will be a focus on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication and practical skills; and the desire to have a positive impact on communities, from the local to the global.

The Midlands Maker Challenge is brought to you by Derby Museums and IMI plc. to celebrate the opening of the inspirational new Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill, widely regarded as the site of the world’s first modern factory. The Museum of Making celebrates 300 years of making to inspire and support the makers of tomorrow.


The engineering firm IMI plc have provided a donation to run this challenge to build on the Midlands’ position as a place for innovation.

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