Individual Challenges2018-09-11T08:49:59+00:00

Individual Challenges: General Guidelines

All Individual Challenges are based on the theme of the 2018-2019 year, “Creativity: Beyond the Borders”, and all completed work should be linked to the theme.

  • All entries must be received by the given deadline on our website.
  • The categories below are open to individual participants; however, up to three individuals may participate in Short Film Challenge as a group.
  • The finalists will be announced on the TIC website on the given dates.
  • All judgments are final and interpretations of the guidelines are at TIC’s sole discretion.
  • Ownership and copyright of all entries remains with the applicants. TIC reserves the right to publish the applications without compensation for educational and promotional purposes, including, but not limited to publication on its websites, in brochures or for future contest promotion.
  • The applications should be directly or indirectly related to the theme given for the year.
  • Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any form.
  • An applicant can apply to challenges from different categories and qualify for more than one. They cannot participate in all of them at the finals however, in this case, one of the challenges must be chosen.
  • If an entrant is disqualified, the fees will not be returned.

Submission of entry implies acceptance of all the rules.

Failure to comply with the rules may result in disqualification.

Creative Writing Challenge

This challenge is all about raising awareness of this year’s theme. It calls on the intellectuals to express themselves in original and interesting ways through their writing. There are three creative writing categories:


You do not necessarily have to agree or disagree with the theme given, but the judges will look for thoughtful essays that show that the writer has considered the chosen topic in depth and has thought carefully about key issues and debates within it. There is no set essay structure and you may use information from book, journals and the Internet, however these must be cited carefully and in the correct way.

Short Story

Challengers can write a short story that addresses the chosen topic either directly or indirectly. The story can be of any genre, from realism to science or romance to fantasy. The judges will be looking for effective storytelling, a strong narrative voice and originality/creativity.


Poems may be any style, of any length, on any one of the subjects given above as long as they fit in a single page. The judges will be looking for an effective structure, good poetic form and use of stylistic language. Poems should relate directly or indirectly to the chosen topic.

General Guidelines

  1. All entries must be written in English.
  2. All entries will be submitted digitally through our email address. Please send your completed work and all required documents to Entries sent via post and fax…etc. will not be accepted.
  3. All entries should be on A4 size with 1.3” margins from each side. Text should be double-spaced, in 12-point type, preferably using Times or Arial fonts. Documents should be in PDF format. Please keep the layout simple although poets should format their poem(s) as they see fit.
  4. All work must be original, unpublished, and unaided (except for cited works.)
  5. The expected word count for the essay and short story is 500-1,500 words per entry; please do not exceed this limit. There is no word limit for poems but each poem must fit on a single page.
  6. Each applicant must make sure that his/her contact details have been entered correctly on the online form; this is to ensure that we can contact the contestant if their entry is selected as a winner or for publication.
  7. TIC may contact the participant’s teacher to confirm that a student’s work is consistent with the writing ability of the participant as performed in the classroom.
  8. Finalists will be notified by email if their entry is selected and names may also be announced on our website.
  9. Each entry can be written and submitted by one student only.
  10. There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make; however, the applicant must pay an application fee for each entry. Please note that contestants may only win one prize. This is to allow the maximum number of entrants to receive recognition.
  11. Videos, photographs, age, gender, and nationality information of the contestants may be used in publicity campaigns where parents or guardians have given their consent.
  12. The editorial board reserves the right to edit entries selected for publication.


  1. Preliminary round judges will initially judge all the entries and select the finalists. The winning pieces will then be chosen by senior judges, who are creative writing professionals. Our highly qualified judging panels will be formed by TIC. TIC reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.
  2. The chosen finalists will have 5 minutes to present their work to TIC judging panel and a live audience. Maximum of 3 minutes will be used for speaking and two minutes for answering the single question of the judges.
  3. Presentations of strictly up to 3 minutes can be oral only or it may include PowerPoint slides- limited to 10 slides or 10 PDF pages. This will be followed by a feedback/questioning session from the judges.
  4. Finalists may also prepare an optional poster, use notes, props…etc. to present their creative work. The posters should not be larger than 50×70 inches.
  5. Once presentation time is over, the judges will be given time to critique the finalists work. Student’s responses to these questions will inform part of the judge’s final decision.
  6. Once the decision of the chairperson of the judging panel is finalized, no further deliberation regarding the decision will be made.
  7. TIC reserves the right to include all entries in its annual TIC Writing Competition book.
  8. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony after the presentation scores are added.

Judging Criteria

  1. Content
  2. Organization
  3. Development
  4. Grammar/Structure
  5. Creativity
  6. Format
  7. Overall Impression

At the finals, presentation and speaking skills will be added to the previous scores of the finalist students. Syntactic control, vocabulary usage and fluency and pronunciation are of great significance in this assessment process.

Short Film Challenge

The short film challenge offers the opportunity for young intellectuals to gain new skills and show their originality and creativity. Participants have a fantastic opportunity to showcase their filmmaking talent as they attempt to capture the ubiquitous and unique theme of the year through their own personal lens. This challenge also aims to build relationships between young individuals as they connect through the filmmaking process. In addition to the screening of their short films, contestants will have the opportunity to participate in post screening Q&A discussions to share their ideas.

This is not a professional film competition! You will be judged on how your ideas engage the audience and how well they have been conveyed in a creative way. A digital camera, camcorder, phone or tablet can be used to create your film.


  1. Entrants must submit:
    • A completed entry form.
    • A download link (the short films should be uploaded on the Internet and a working link must be provided to along with synopsis.)
    • A synopsis of the short film (between 80-100 words.)
    • Entry fee.
  2. All short film entries must be between 3-5 minutes including the beginning and end credits. Any film shorter or longer may be directly disqualified; please send an email to about your specific case.
  3. Up to three participants can apply as a group but each one must pay the entrance fee separately if the group qualifies for the finals.
  4. The short films must be original and previously un-produced. The entrant(s) must ensure that he/she (they) is (are) the creators of the work and that the film does not violate any copyright rules.
  5. Entrants cannot contact the judges before or during the competition and the judge’s decision is final.
  6. TIC accepts no liability whatsoever for any claims of damages, real or perceived, by any entrant(s) as a result of their participation in this contest.
  7. At least one member of the short film must be present and registered to claim and receive any prize.
  8. The contestant will show their films and then answer the questions of the judges. This part is included in grading.
  9. The entrant(s) gives TIC the authority and permission to use the entrant’s names for publicity and promotions with no additional compensation. TIC reserves the right to promote and publicize any and all of the entered short films.

Photography Challenge

All photos will have an impact on their audience, pictures might inspire, motivate or relax, and they might also shock, upset or thrill their viewers. Our photography challenge allows participants to submit their best images, from journalistic to food, documentary to fashion, to be judged by TIC team. We want you to think outside the box and relate your artwork to the theme of the year where possible directly or indirectly. You need to clearly show our judges how you see the world when you come to the competition!


  1. Photos may be either black and white or color.
  2. Using editing programs is not permitted.
  3. The person submitting the image must be the real photographer.
  4. The photograph/s should be sent via email only to
  5. The photographer cannot participate in the contest with a photo that has already been published (on a website, magazine, newspaper etc.)
  6.  Pictures must meet the following criteria:
    • Format: .jpeg/.jpg
    • Saved with a medium to high quality.
    • Be at least 3,000 pixels in length.
    • Not exceed 20 MB in size
  7. The name of the photographer should not be visible anywhere on the photo
  8. Each student may enter with a maximum of three photos per entry.
  9. Uploaded entries cannot be replaced, deleted or edited after the application deadline.
  10. Photographers that enter this contest give permission for TIC to reproduce the photographs for display, promotional and educational purposes. Credit will be given whenever possible and the photographer retains the copyright of the photo.
  11. Photographers need to present their work to the judges in Cambridge.

Judging Criteria


Basic technique




Special techniques


Painting Challenge

Painting has remained an integral and indispensable part of human history. It began as a primary visual language, up to the present day where artists draw and paint to express what they are feeling and thinking. The artwork they create helps us to capture the world around us. This encapsulates the painting challenge. Students should produce a piece of original piece of artwork, in keeping with the theme of the year, which demonstrates their passion, feelings or emotions about a particular subject.


  1. All submission should be sent to with the artist statement.
  2. Paintings may use any traditional physical art medium such as oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastel, mixed media, gouache, egg tempera, pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, coloured pencils, scratchboard, markers, metal point etc.
  3. All entries must be submitted as digital files. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit but each item must be submitted separately.
  4. All artwork should be given a name by the artist.
  5. All artwork must be uploaded as JPG files and the size should not exceed 10 MB.
  6. Artist statements must not exceed 150 words.
  7. Paintings based on other people’s photographs are not eligible.
  8. Works published previously in a publication or exhibition are not eligible.
  9. Paintings should not be larger than A2 size (420 x 594 mm)
  10. The paintings must not include words, national flags or slogans, and religious or political messages.
  11. The name and/or signature of the artist may be written on the artwork if desired.

Judging Criteria

  1. Interpretation and clarity of the theme
  2. Creativity and originality
  3. Artistic composition
  4. Overall impression of the art
  5. Expression of Emotion
  6. Expression of Meaning