04:41pm Monday 30 March 2020

Young people show where they belong

Where do I belong? logo (large)From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us at work, in school or college, within our communities, when exploring our identities and expressing our beliefs. The ESRC challenged young people for their unique take on society and the social sciences by asking them to take a picture of where they belong and feel at home. 

Over 2,000 images were received to the competition from 332 schools across the UK. That number was whittled down to 500 images for the panel in January, where 46 images were shortlisted. An exhibition of winning and shortlisted entries will be open between 18-23 March at the Strand Gallery in London. Winners, their teachers and parents/guardians have been invited to attend a private viewing and the awards evening at the gallery on 20 March 2014.

The judges included BBC journalist and TV presenter Ellie Crisell; Sophie Batterbury, Head of Pictures at The Independent and Ollie Smallwood, a freelance photographer. Picking the winners was hard, according to Ollie Smallwood: “The selection of winning images caused deliberation and debate among judges, which was largely instigated by the interpretations of the competition theme. It was fascinating to see how young people had used a visual art form to express their feelings on this subject”, he said.

The competition aimed to involve and engage teachers, as well as their pupils. For one teacher, Dave Allen from North Halifax Grammar School, the main attraction was that it gave his pupils the chance to closely focus on society: “I routinely ignore calls for competition entries, but this seemed a good platform. The connections between photography, society and history are very important to us”, he said. 

For teacher Norina Mingoia of Hinchley Wood School in Esher, Surrey, the theme of the competition was the key: “I think the reason why this competition has been so successful is because students were able to connect to a certain area to help them think about jumping out of their comfort zone and realise they can ‘belong’ anywhere”, said Ms Mingoia.

Both winning pupils and their schools received prizes. ESRC Chief Executive Professor Paul Boyle, who was also a judge, said: “One of the most important aspects for us was how the competition brought social sciences to the classroom, encouraging young people and teachers to explore the relevance of social sciences to their lives.”

ESRC Press Office

If you want to come along to the prize giving ceremony on 20 March from 17.30-20.00 contact:

Notes for editors

  1. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2013/14 is £212 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  2. The ‘Where Do I Belong’ free exhibition is at the Strand Gallery in London between 18–23 March and is open 11.00-18.00.
  3. The exhibition is part of National Science and Engineering Week.
  4. Details of the overall and regional winners, plus the individual judges’ favourites will be available midday on 20 March. A video will also be available showcasing all the winning entries. Preview on You Tube available on request to press office.
  5. Full details of the prizes, exhibition and judges (Social Science for Schools website)

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