Young London Print Prize helps children develop new art skills and express their feelings about climate change, with winning entries exhibited at a leading art fair

This will be the third Young London Print Prize, a competition that was established during the pandemic as a response to a surging demand for arts education that happens outside the classroom. For the competition, young people from across London have risen to the challenge of learning a new art technique then harnessing those skills to express their feelings about climate change.

By the time the winners are announced, more than 3,000 young London artists between the ages of 9 and 11 will have taken part from across the capital. The competition has particular relevance for this age group, as it gives children the opportunity to get involved in the debate about climate change (an area where they often feel powerless) by expressing their feelings through a visual medium.

Y L P P The Earth Is Sore By Tasmin Benalleg
‘The Earth is Sore’ by Tasmin Benalleg, one of the 2021 winners. Top, 2021 Young London Print Prize winners at Woolwich Print Fair

This year’s competition was launched back in in June, and winners will have their names in lights – literally – on Piccadilly Lights (the giant screen in Piccadilly Circus) in early November. The timing, a few days before the start of this year’s COP 27 conference in Egypt, is perfect. Over 25 schools across the capital have participated and this has included free teacher training sessions, plus more than 40 workshops where schoolchildren have learned how to make art using relief printing techniques – skills they then use to get creative for the competition.

“The Prize is driven by the idea that all young people can be artists in their own right”

All the work showcased by the Young London Print Prize is created, judged and curated by young people – and that’s really central to the idea behind the Prize. The works submitted to the competition by young people aged 9-11 are then judged by Year 12 students from across London. This means students aged 16+ get an opportunity to learn more about curating art, sharpening their critical appraisal skills and getting a taster of what it might be like to work in the thriving contemporary art scene.

Young London Print Prize is driven by the idea that all young people can be artists in their own right and its stated aim is to write a new future for contemporary art in the capital. There are so many empowering elements for all the young people who get involved, but surely the most important is that their original artworks selected for the final exhibition are then displayed at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair. This means prize winners inhabit the same space as exhibits by some of our finest printmakers.

* Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair takes place from 3-6 November at The Fireworks Factory, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

Further reading: Why study Design Technology