Arts and Minds competition helps schools to tackle prejudice and promote diversity

The popular annual Arts and Minds Awards are once again helping schools to tackle issues of racism and prejudice and promote diversity and equality – and entries are open now.

The creative writing and art competition is open to primary, secondary and special schools and is organised by the NASUWT teaching union and supported by SecEd.

Individual students or groups are invited to enter art work or pieces of creative writing exploring themes of cultural diversity, race, equality and identity. Entries should reflect the competition’s aims to promote cultural diversity and equality and tackle racism in schools.

Children and young people can explore ways of expressing what diversity, equality and identity means to them and how this is reflected in their lives, families, schools and communities.

Once again, television presenter Gok Wan will be choosing the overall winner in the 2015 competition, with the national finals to be held on October 14 in central London.

Last year’s winning entry was a photograph, pictured above, composed and taken by a group of year 12 students from Dawn House School in Nottinghamshire. One of the students, Thomas Hitchen, aptly summed up what the Arts and Minds competition is all about. He said: “We wanted to show it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, what you look like or how you dress because it doesn’t change who you are.”

Over the years, schools and their students have been creative in their entries, submitting poems, stories, digital artwork, photography and collages.

The competition is used by schools as an opportunity to discuss and explore diversity and community cohesion with students. Teachers have incorporated the competition into lessons in various subjects, including history, humanities, literacy, art and citizenship, as well as school projects. Entries can be produced in lessons, after-school clubs or specific art or writing groups.

Entries making it through to the national finals will earn the school £350 with gift vouchers worth up to £100 for winning pupils. The overall winning school will get £1,000. 

There is also a separate prize for poetry inspired by the life and writing of Holocaust victim Anne Frank. A bronze bust of Anne Frank will be awarded to the winning pupil’s school for one year and the pupil will receive a prize of books and vouchers.

Arts and Minds is also supported by a range of organisations including our sister title Primary Teacher Update, the Anne Frank Trust, Love Music Hate Racism and others.

The closing date for entries this year is July 10. For more information, visit

For more information about the Anne Frank Award, visit

CAPTION: The winning Arts and Minds 2014 entry from Dawn House School, entitled What’s the problem? Photo: Brendan Kelly/Mousetrap Media