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Diverse Devon

18th November, 2009
Devon is diverse and a welcoming county. We want to keep it that way, so the latest schools' competition invites entries to challenge prejudice and take a look at promoting better community relations...

SCHOOL children across the county are being invited to take part in a competition designed to tackle racism.

Young people will be asked to take photographs, make films, design posters, create assemblies and work on projects which explore prejudice in their communities and how to fight it.

Prizes include money for schools to spend on equipment, materials and books. Winning individuals and teams will also get prizes like trips to the theatre and a visit to the House of Commons. Some lucky pupils will also get to see their work shown across Devon as part of a county-wide anti-prejudice media campaign.

The competition is being organised by the Prejudice and Hate Crime Prevention task group, part of the Safer Devon Partnership.

Councillor Christine Channon, cabinet member for Schools and Skills, said: “As a county, we will not tolerate racism or extremism of any kind and how better to get that message out than through the talents of our young people? There are some fantastic prizes on offer so there’s no excuse for not entering this contest!”

The contest will be divided into five categories – photography, film, poster, assembly and project. There are two sections, one for primary schools and another for secondaries.

For the photography category, entrants will need to take a picture, or a series of pictures, on the subject Diverse Devon. The top prize is £500 for the winning schools to spend on photography equipment and the prize for the top four photographers are two days working in a studio or on location with a professional photographer.

Film-makers must make a short film exploring how prejudices develop, their impact on victims and the community or on what their school is doing to combat extremism. Film-making equipment worth £500 is the top prize and the winning film-making team will get to spend two days’ work experience with a professional film production company.

Poster category entrants will have to design a poster for an anti-prejudice Devon or one which promotes community cohesion. It can include art or text or a mix of both. The first prize is £500 to spend on art materials. The winning artists will also see their work used as the basis for posters which will be distributed and displayed around all Devon schools, libraries and post offices as part of the wider anti-racism campaign.

The assembly must raise awareness of the harm that prejudice can do and show students how they can help fight it. The winning schools get £500 for books and equipment and the winning teams win a trip to the theatre and/or the opportunity to take part in a theatre workshop.

The final project category will see students design and initiate a project to promote community cohesion and encourage pupils to be active citizens. It carries a winning prize of £500 for the schools while winning teams get to visit London and enjoy a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament.

Dave Wright, co-ordinator of the Prejudice and Hate Crime Prevention Task Group, said: “We hope that as many schools as possible throughout the county will encourage their pupils to get involved in this worthy campaign.

“We don’t think Devon is rife with prejudice or extremism but – as the Giraffe bombing in Exeter showed – there is no room for complacency and we must all work together to make sure marginalised groups are not attracted to extreme ideas.

“This competition will allow pupils to come up with some really creative ideas for tackling prejudice in all its forms. There are some great prizes for individuals and schools to be won, not least the chance to see their work turned into posters to help spread the anti-prejudice message across Devon.”

The deadline for all entries is 1 April, 2010, the last day of the spring term. The judging panels will meet over the Easter holidays and the winners will be announced at the beginning of the summer term, with an awards celebration to follow.

The judging panel has not yet been finalised and the organisers are still looking for judges to step forward. If you would like to be a judge or know someone who would make a good judge please contact Dave Wright by emailing dave.wright@devon.gov.uk. An interest in art and/or community cohesion is desirable.