What is Young Brits at Art?

Learn more about Young Brits at Art

For young people

What happened last year?

In 2008/9, almost 1,700 pictures were sent in on the topic of what young people thought and felt about living in Britain today.

The top 100 pictures were displayed on our website and the top 10 came to a star-studded awards ceremony hosted by E4 Music's Sarah-Jane Crawford. See pictures and video from about last year's awards >

Stephanie Winn, one of the top three winners, said about the competition: 

"I felt I managed to send out a positive message about discrimination and I hope I've encouraged other young people to create a piece of art that speaks from the heart."

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For teachers

Who are the awards for?

The awards are open to all 11-19 year olds who live in England, Scotland and Wales. We encourage young people from all walks of life to apply. This year, we are asking young people to show through artwork what the world would look like if we lived without prejudice

The awards also provide inspiration and resources for educators in schools and youth settings in England, Scotland and Wales to deliver art projects that complement and reinforce the national curriculum.

What are the Young Brits at Art awards for?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission's job is to break down inequality, build opportunity and support a civic society where fairness and the right of the individual to a life of dignity and respect is not merely an ideal but a fact. One of our key priorities is to work with young people to build a 'generation without prejudice'. This is essential if we are to develop a society in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve and lead a fulfilling life.

As part of a wider programme of work with young people, the Commission's Young Brits at Art awards are open to all 11-19 year olds from all backgrounds and walks of life who reside in England, Scotland and Wales. This academic year, young people are asked to show through their art work what the world would look like if we lived without prejudice.

The awards are not limited to schools. They can benefit young people in youth clubs, Connexions one-stop shops, Pupil Referral Units, faith groups, libraries and leisure centres and other local council facilities. Charities and museums can use the awards as part of their existing youth programmes. Individual young people can also develop their own artwork and enter independently.

Young Brits at Art challenges young people to make and share art that explores the meaning of equality and human rights and how these concepts can help us build a society free of prejudice.

A little history

The awards were launched in 2008/09 and received 1,639 entries. The standard was very high, both technically and creatively. In May we announced the top 100 shortlisted entries which were put to our panel of judges selected from the world of arts, media and education. The judges chose what they thought were the most creative, thought-provoking and engaging submissions: our 10 winners.

How was 2009's Young Brits at Art award different?

In 2009 the award criteria focused on portraiture and identity, and we asked for submissions that were two dimensional. This year we’re being more ambitious. We want to:

  • get even more people involved and make a bigger splash
  • support more young people from vulnerable and hard to reach backgrounds in taking part
  • encourage young people to choose from a wider range of themes to explore all the ways equality and human rights are relevant to our daily lives
  • reflect current art practice by inviting more varied visual artwork in a wider range of media, including 3D and digital art.

How do the awards link with the National Curriculum?

The award is not limited to schools but is aimed at young people in the UK from all different settings. The activities outlined here can motivate and help young people to enter. Entering shouldn’t be a compulsory aspect of a project. Projects are designed to be adaptable for groups in a variety of settings, including schools, Pupil Referral Units and youth groups. Common learning outcomes across the UK

Although the exact terms may vary in the formal curriculum statements of each UK country, these describe the learning outcomes of the activities as they are commonly understood by educators:

Citizenship: The activities give opportunities to develop a critical appreciation of rights and responsibilities, fairness and justice in relation to contemporary society in the UK, underpinning learning in the key principles of Citizenship: Democracy and Justice; Rights and Responsibilities; Identities and Diversity.

Personal and Social Education: The activities give opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills to live healthy, safe and productive lives, to reflect on their own values and attitudes in relation to other people.

Communication skills: The activities give opportunities to communicate with authenticity and impact, sharing information and ideas through visual and written means.

Creative skills: The activities give opportunities to use imaginative thinking and creative processes such as sketching, photography and experimental making to aid enquiry.

Critical thinking: applying skills of research, problem solving and critical analysis, improving learning and performance across the curriculum.

‘A day of activity like this demonstrates how much you can do in just five hours, because the students have worked on and produced an incredible range of activity. Anyone worrying about what they might explore on a day like this, I don't think they should be cautious at all.’
Susan Trigger, head teacher of Bitterne Park School

Watch what happened at our workshop dedicated to filmmaking.

What kind of art will the judges be looking for?

Read the press release about Young Brits at Art 2010 >

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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2014