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Beechwood college launches CREATE! Art for autism 2012 B

eechwood College launched the national art competition, Create! Art for Autism 2012, at a Parliamentary reception in London last month, hosted by Alun Cairns MP for the Vale ofGlamorgan.

In its second year, the competition has attracted high profile judges including British Actress Jane Asher, television presenter Gaby Roslin and Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society.

The judging panel also includes Alun Cairns MP, Michael Shaw, Times Educational Supplement, Darren Jackson, Principal of Ludlow Orbis Education, Lucinda Bredin, Editor of Bonhams Magazine, Hugh Morgan, Chief Executive of Autism Cymru and Brendan Burns, twice winner of the National Eisteddfod Gold Medal in Fine Art and Lecturer at The University of Glamorgan.

Create! Art for Autism 2012 is open to all young people aged 11-25 years who are formally diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) including Asperger’s Syndrome. The competition aims to dispel the myth that people with autism cannot be creative and to show that art can significantly improve their quality of life, facilitating experiential-based learning and instilling life-long skills.

Young people with an ASC from around the UK are invited to enter the four main categories: 2D Art, 3D Art, Digital Art and Poetry. There will also be a People’s Choice award, the winner of

which will be voted for by the readers of the Times Educational Supplement.

Finalists of the competition will be invited to attend a high profile awards ceremony in Cardiff in July, to celebrate the creativity of all the contestants, where the final winners of each category will be announced.

Students voice the issues T

The finalists’ artwork will then be rolled out into a national art tour across four UK cities – Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and London.

The competition closes on May 18th. Finalists will be announced on June 12th and the awards ceremony will take place on July 6th.

he BT Big Voice Project has enabled students aged 11-19 throughout the UK to submit film ideas exploring issues of importance to them in their local communities. Out of the nominations, 36 schools were shortlisted, and working together with their production partners with a £1000 grant from BT, their ideas are being made into short films. All completed films will be shown on city centre video screens during the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and at special Live Sites throughout the UK. This is a good example of how schools across the country are getting involved in the Olympic preparations, and bringing issues in their area and about their age group to a wider audience.

Julie Hindley, BT learning and skills manager, said: “Big Voice is a national competition for students, created by BT as one of three educational programmes that BT is running as a London 2012 sustainability partner. BT believes there is a great opportunity to harness the excitement building ahead of London 2012 by encouraging people to get involved in education projects that develop communications skills which can be used to help them achieve goals that are important in their lives. Big Voice also gives students the opportunity to highlight and address issues that are important to them and their community. Through opening up channels of communication, Big Voice aims to empower young people through the project and help them develop key communications skills that will be vital in achieving their life goals in the future.”

Five students from Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College have created a short film called ‘The BD3 Litter Club’ (after the postcode they live in) for BT Big Voice about littering. It tells the story of how littering in Bradford affects the local community, and is hoping to inspire people to take part in a litter pick up in their area. This is one of 36 shortlisted films which will be shown on city centre video screens in the run up to London 2012. This film is made by the youngest shortlisted candidates, who are all between 12 and 13 years old.

At a time when youth issues have been brought to the forefront by events such as the summer riots and the rising numbers of NEETS –

April 2012

young people not in education, employment or training (one in five 14 to 16 year olds in this country), this is a positive example of the importance of giving young people a voice, empowering them to make a difference in their communities and enabling them to learn vital communications skills in the process which will help them in later life.

Students from Cumbernauld High School have tackled the challenging issues of ‘Discrimination’ by creating a short film for BT Big Voice. They filmed at the weekend using their classrooms as the set for the drama. The film on discrimination is about a bully who torments her victims ruthlessly. She then has a dream where the roles are reversed and she is subject to the bullying she has previously taken part in. By the end of the film she realises the damage she has done and apologises to one of her victims. 5

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