Freedom and unity defines a world without prejudice say Britain's youth

Young artists express their views in major art awards

16 June 2010

The final 100 shortlist in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Young Brits at Art awards paints a telling picture of what young people think ‘a world without prejudice’ would look like. Unity, freedom and body image dominate the shortlisted artworks of the 11 to 19 year olds.

Freedom of expression is a common theme; freedom to choose one’s own religion, freedom to express one’s sexuality but most importantly, freedom to be who you are. Essentially the budding young artists see a world without prejudice as a world where people are bound by their similarities and celebrated for their differences.

The shortlist was whittled down from a record 1,700 youngsters who entered the award, which challenged them to ‘imagine a world without prejudice’.

Entrants were given the opportunity to express their ideas on prejudice and equality using various art media including but not limited to digital animation, sculpture, film and more traditional forms such as print and oil painting.

Neil Kinghan, Director General of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said;

“Young people too often get a bad press.  We sometimes forget the great array of talent in our schools and youth clubs and the contribution which the vast majority of young people make towards making our society more tolerant. Young Brits at Art gives them an opportunity to have those talents recognised; and if we happen to unearth the next Oliver Payne it would be a fantastic bonus.”

Ten overall winners will be selected from the shortlist of 100 and revealed at an awards ceremony on 22 June. A judging panel, consisting of several prominent arts figures and equality champions, will select the winners with all 100 shortlisted pieces displayed at the awards ceremony at the Southbank Centre.

For the ten winners, a month of being an exhibited artist is in store. The Saatchi Gallery, one of the most celebrated art venues in the country, will exhibit the ten winning artworks for the whole of July.

Neil Kinghan added; “The shortlisted artworks deal with prejudice in an imaginative and thought-provoking way. For the winners to have their artwork exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery is a special recognition of their talent. It is an indication that Young Brits at Art not only highlights an important issue to the next generation but is also a major youth art award designed to find real and credible young talent.

“The art world can all too often seem like a 'closed shop' and this is an opportunity for the great artists of tomorrow to have their talents recognised today.”

This year’s judging panel includes notable artists and equality champions. The full list of judges is:

  • Alison Lapper, Artist
  • Anne Bamford, University of the Arts
  • Camilla Batmanghelidih, founder, Kids Company
  • Gus Garside, National Arts Development Manager, Mencap
  • Heather Stewart, Cultural Programme Director, British Film Institute
  • Jane Fletcher, Director of Innovative Projects, Leonard Cheshire Disability
  • Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool
  • Maggie Maxwell, Head of Equality, Scottish Arts Council
  • Oliver Speight, founder Speight of the Art, the Mark Speight Foundation
  • Peter Monkman, Director of Art, Charterhouse School
  • Sarah Maple, Artist
  • Stephanie Winn, YBA 2008-2009 Top 3 winner
  • William Packer, Art critic


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Notes to editors

Young Brits at Art

Young Brits at Art is a national art awards which invites young people aged 11-19 to create artwork expressing their vision of a world without prejudice.

The award promotes equality and human rights while complementing the National Curriculum in England and Wales, and the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

Key Skills qualifications:

  • developed a critical appreciation of rights and responsibilities, fairness and justice
  • communicating directly and with integrity to share information and ideas through visual and written means
  • using art and creativity to aid enquiry, evaluation, problem solving and critical analysis
  • improving learning and performance across the curriculum

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.