More than 1,000 pieces of creative writing and artwork tackling the theme of race equality and cultural diversity were celebrated at the finals of the Arts and Minds Awards 2012.
The competition encourages primary, secondary and special school students to use their creativity to promote discussion and debate about important issues such as tackling racism, prejudice and inequality.
It is organised by the NASUWT teaching union and supported SecEd as well as organisations including Love Music Hate Racism and the Anne Frank Trust.
This year saw more than 1,000 entries submitted across the creative writing and art categories, and judges spent four days whittling them down to a final shortlist of 12. The overall UK winner was chosen this year by television presenter Gok Wan.
At a national ceremony held in London last week, the finalists all received their awards and the overall winner was unveiled – via a pre-recorded video message by Mr Wan – as being a piece of art work entitled We Are All Equal, which was created by a group of year 4 to 6 pupils from Beaufort Special School in Birmingham. The school won £1,000 with all the pupils getting gift vouchers.
Mr Wan said of the winning entry: “I think we sometimes take for granted a phrase like ‘We are all equal’, we over use the term, but sometimes we can forget the strength that comes from behind these words. This piece really does reinforce the strength of that. Diversity and being one is so simple and so elegant and so necessary.”
Among the 12 finalists, eight entries were from secondary-aged students, including Nicole Davidson, an S2 pupil from Greenwood Academy in North Ayrshire who won the Anne Frank Poetry Award for her piece Set Free. Nicole was presented with a bronze Anne Frank bust by Gillian Walnes MBE, executive director of Anne Frank Trust. Greenwood Academy will keep the bust for the next year.
Other winning entries included The Dress of Many Cultures which had been created by year 7 to 9 students from Bishop Milner Catholic School in the West Midlands. A full list of secondary winners is printed, right.
Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The standard of entries throughout the competition was very high and I know the judges had great difficulty in choosing the winner. The quality was strong throughout all of the age groups and categories. Pupils and their teachers have evidently worked very hard to produce such highly imaginative entries, which came up with new responses to the issues of diversity and equality.”
For more on this year’s winners see below or visit www.nasuwt.org.uk/artsandminds CAPTION: Arts and Minds: (from top) Helena Wright, Jhanelle White and Simran Kaur with The Dress of Many Cultures; Anne Frank Poetry winner Nicole Davidson with Gillian Walnes MBE, executive director of Anne Frank Trust, and the bronze bust of Anne Frank; the overall winning artwork with two of its creators from Beaufort Special School
Arts and Minds 2012 – secondary winners
Lauren Botterill for Music Shop (year 7, Lea Valley High School, Enfield).
Bayse Genc for Chess Pieces (year 8, Lea Valley High School, Enfield).
Zara Azmat for Small Steps (year 9, King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham).
Anne Frank Poetry Award
Stephanie Skett for We All Fit In (year 9, Redhill School, West Midlands).
Polly Banks and Zoë Jervis for Together As One (year 8, St Mary’s School, Essex).
Students from years 7 to 9 at Bishop Milner Catholic School, West Midlands, for The Dress of Many Cultures.
Students from years 9 and 10 at Calthorpe Special School, Birmingham, for We Are Here.
Set Free by Nicole Davidson I am proud to be meBut sadly now myReligion is all people can seeAll because of the blinding hatredCast by the enemy His is like a shadowHiding in the darkHis faultsAre unseenHidden beneath the twisted smileTorturing Jews all the whileMy days of life could be ticking awayI could die tomorrowOr even today!Death is the only way out of this HellWhen will it end?No-one can tellMy star has marked my fateAll I can do now… Is wait One day the Nazis shall pay for their crimesBut I am finally free!Free to run, free to playNo more suffering filling up my dayHitler will die along with his hateMay the Demons of HellDecide his fate.