These are a selection of the winning artwork from Never Such Innocence Centenary Competitions, from 2014 - 2018. These competitions were inspired by the Centenary of the First World War, and over 11,000 children and young people took part to commemorate this important part of our global history and heritage. Winning work from all four years has been published in a beautiful anthology, available on Amazon here.
2014 Pilot Competition
In 2014 Never Such Innocence piloted a poetry and art competition to schools in England, encouraging them to engage in the history of the First World War and respond creatively to their learning. The pilot was a success, with over 600 entries received and a demand to expand the competition to include primary schools.
In the second year, a new Gaelic category was added and the competition was opened to children and young people worldwide. In total there were 1,653 entries to the 2015-16 competition, from as far and wide as Orkney, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, New Zealand and the USA.
In 2016-17 the competition grew yet again, with a new Welsh poetry category and the launch of the Songs of the Centenary project - a global quest for songs inspired by the First World War. In total this third year saw a 40% increase in entries, with 1,910 submissions - including entries from all corners of the UK, as well as Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Romania.
The fourth and final Centenary Competition in 2017-18 was bigger than ever, with submissions from more than 40 different countries, territories and dependencies spanning five continents. The final centenary competition received 7,136 entries from across the world. More than 10% of these were submitted by young people from Greece as part of the Salonika Remembers project, in partnership with the British Council, British Embassy in Greece, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Museum for Macedonian Struggle.
The 2017-18 Competition also included two bonus strands, Thank You and the War in the Skies (RAF100). Together with The Royal British Legion we invited young people to pay tribute and say Thank You to the First World War generation. And in partnership with RAF100 we encouraged children to consider the war in the skies as part of their contribution to mark 100 years of the world’s first independent air force.
In 2018 we also piloted two unique projects, Together and the Island of Ireland Project. For Together: a UK-German Centenary Project, in partnership with UK-German Connection, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, the British Embassy in Berlin, and the British Council in Germany, we invited young people from the UK and Germany to draw on the events of the First World War to create poetry, art, and songs with a message of hope and unity. And working with the Glasnevin Trust we were delighted to extend the competition into Autumn 2018 for schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and celebrate the amazing creativity of children and young people across the Island of Ireland.