TV presenter Gok Wan chooses Nottinghamshire pupils as national Arts & Minds winners

Pupils from a Nottinghamshire school are celebrating today after their artwork was crowned overall winner of the 2014 Arts & Minds competition organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK.

Arts & Minds is an annual, UK-wide competition aimed at promoting race equality and diversity in schools. Children and young people from primary, secondary and special schools are judged in two categories: art and creative writing.

The winning entry, a captivating photograph entitled ‘What’s The Problem?’ which explores the issue of faith in the community was produced by a Year 12 class from Dawn House School, which specialises in providing education for children and young people with severe or complex communication difficulties.

The entry had already been selected from hundreds of entries from across the UK as a winner in the special schools section.

It went on to be chosen as the overall winner by TV presenter and Arts & Minds competition judge Gok Wan.

Pupils from the school received their award at a national awards ceremony in London today.

Gok Wan said of the winning entry:

“It is striking, I love the relationship between the characters, the proportions, the composition, the line work and the lighting, it is stunning.

“It is really relevant to today. The message behind the picture is about unity, community spirit, forgiveness and acceptance, regardless of where you are in the world. That is why I think it is absolutely beautiful and brilliant.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Huge congratulations to the pupils at Dawn House School.

“Their powerful artwork perfectly captures the competition’s message of celebrating equality and diversity. The image is clearly designed to challenge prevailing stereotypes about race and gender by pupils who themselves admit to often feeling excluded and isolated.

“The judges found it particularly hard to choose the winners, as the standard of entries throughout the competition was very high across all the age groups and categories.

“Pupils and their teachers have obviously worked very hard to produce such highly imaginative entries, and to come up with new and thought-provoking ways to convey the important issues of diversity and equality.”



Notes to editors

A photo of the pupils representing Dawn House School receiving their prize at today’s award’s ceremony is attached. Pictured are (left to right) Alex Kendrick-Allen and Thomas Hitchen. Please credit Brendan Kelly/Mousetrap Media if using images.

The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, 9 October at the St James’ Court hotel, London.

The Arts & Minds competition is divided into early years, primary, secondary and special school sectors. Within each sector there are separate creative writing and art categories with individual and group prizes being awarded in each.

The overall winning school receives £1000 and every winning child receives a gift voucher.

The 2014 competition is the 11th Arts & Minds competition.

The competition was conceived for the purpose of celebrating teachers’ and pupils’ artistic and creative writing skills as a powerful way of promoting discussion and debate among young people about important social and ethical issues.

The Arts & Minds competition is sponsored by Love Music Hate Racism, SecEd, Primary Teacher Update, The Anne Frank Trust UK, Unite Against Facism, Think Global, VSO and the YMT.