This online art gallery is run by the National Children’s Bureau and the University of Kent as part of their Living Assessments project in partnership with the University of Cambridge. Find out more here.


We’re currently collecting submissions around the theme of ‘Identity’, in whatever the word means to young people who identify as social care experienced and/or as having a disability and are under the age of 25. 

A £200 gift voucher will be awarded to the best artwork submission and second and third place will also receive prizes! The first 5 submissions will also receive a £20 gift voucher. 


Click here to enter a submission or email us at onlinegallery@ncb.org.uk.

The competition for this theme will be open until the end of April.

Current theme: "Identity"

A manga-style drawing of a young person  with short blonde/white hair and dark, punk-style clothing. The person's face is drawn multiple times around the main figure, and word bubbles say "Excuse me", "They/them", "hehe!". Three manga-style stickers decorate the drawing's corners: a ghost with non-binary pride flag colours, a young boy, a smiling toy.

Evie, 12

Taylor, 12

"Head in the stars"

"This art work represents how I feel daily living with autism and how I zone out in to my own world when things are overwhelming."

A drawing of a girl facing away from the viewer so that we can't see her face, wearing a striped t-shirt and backpack. Her hair is done up in braids and there are tiny stars, moons and planet rings all around and above her head, representing the 'head in the stars' theme.

Troy, 21

"Being your own"

Years ago I never knew where I should be or who I wanted to be it took me long to find what made me who I was I am special in my own way. Who wants to give so much to the community and empower so many young people like me to have a voice and never be scared too.

What I love about me is having a disability Autism, what I like about me is I’m gay. What I enjoy about me I see my friends and spend time with my family, what I am proud about me is I’m a activist for young people making a big difference to the community.

Identify means to recognize and decide that you belong to something. But it really means being yourself, finding what makes you and what connects you and gives you a calling in you life to embrace the true meaning of being a young person and adult. What makes me who I am is me as my mum was my inspiration, who gives so much to young people and want to make a change in their lives which enables me to make a difference and be the person I am today.

What I love about me is having a disability Autism, what I like about me is I’m gay. What I enjoy about me I see my friends and spend time with my family, what I am proud about me is I’m a activist for young people making a big difference to the community. 

Chapman Shum, 13

"Harmony in Darkness"

Chapman, 13: Harmony in Darkness (Part 2).mp4

"Harmony in Darkness" captures a poignant moment in Chapman's musical journey, depicting him passionately playing the piano in the dark. Despite being born blind and facing numerous challenges including autism and learning difficulties, Chapman's connection to music remains unwavering.

The image speaks volumes about Chapman's identity as a musician and the transformative power of music in his life. Born during Learning Disability Week, Chapman's story is a testament to resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The serendipitous alignment of his birth date with World Music Day (or Make Music Day) underscores the profound connection he shares with music, serving as a guiding light amidst life's challenges.

Chapman's journey into music began at the age of 5, when he was enchanted by the melodies of Disneyland. This pivotal moment ignited his musical passion, propelling him to teach himself to play the piano. Despite the absence of sight, Chapman's musical abilities have flourished over the years, culminating in remarkable achievements such as attaining Grade 8 proficiency in piano and Grade 6 in drums at a remarkably young age.

In "Harmony in Darkness," Chapman's identity as a musician is illuminated by the fervor and intensity with which he plays the piano. The darkness surrounding him serves as a metaphor for the challenges he faces, yet within this darkness, music becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration. The image captures the essence of Chapman's resilience, determination, and unwavering love for music, showcasing the profound impact it has had on his identity.

Summer

"Identity"


Identity, identity makes you who you are, 

Your identity makes you a star. 

Your identity might be odd, 

but not in the eyes of God, 


Don't be afraid of who you are, 

because you're a shining star. 

Without your identity you wouldn't be who you are, 

Without you life would be bizarre. 


Identity is not what I promised others, 

identity may be what I look like. 

identity may be how I am inside, 

but no matter what I'm true to myself. 


Identity is what I see in the mirror, 

even if I change, I'm still me. 

after giving me my best try, 

but no matter who I am I'm the most perfectly unperfectlly me. 


No one has control over me, 

life is about me. 

I have lots of pride, 

I'm filled with my identity inside.

A manga-style drawing of a young girl’s head and shoulders. The drawing is split in half so that the left side shows the girl’s face, brown hair and blue eye, and the right side of the girl’s body is a mix of rainbow colours, patterns and words. Here, the top of the girl’s head contains words such as autism, nice, polite, bright, love, respect, friendly, positive, negative, and biggest of all at the centre stand “family” and “friends”. The right eye is drawn as a cat’s or serpent’s eye – yellow, with a sharp black pupil.

Lucy, 11

Oldham

Marley, 12

Drawing of a pensive girl with long brown hair and her eyes closed. Just behind her head stands a mask of herself, with dark eyes and a scary grim, staring ahead. Below, a writing reads "Who am I?"
Online Art Gallery - Identity entry.mp4

Lucian, 11

Kane, 12


This is my art work for identity. It is made out of a jigsaw puzzle, and all of the pieces are what makes me “ME”. I have left one blank as nothing in my life is perfect. I am happy with the results and I hope that you are. 

Two paper hearts. The one on the right is made of jigsaw-like pieces, each indicating a part of Kane's identity, such as a pair of glasses, music notes, the number 12 - except for a blank one. The heart on the left hand side also has puzzle-like pieces that make up a photo of Kane's. Two notes say "this is me" and "my identity".
A collage/composite of photos of Amy's friends as well as musical notes, hearts, plush toys, flowers , pets. At the front is a faceless drawing of a girl with blonde hair and earrings.

Amy, 17


This is my art work for identity, I have chosen to make a collage of people and things that I love that makes me “ME”

 

The painting of me is faceless because some of my identity is hidden, there is more to identity than that meets the eye.

Types of content you can submit

Visual artwork from our launch party

During our launch party in June 2023 we invited a graphic recorder to create this amazing poster. It captures key themes spoken about during the event in an egaging and exciting way. Zoom in on the picture to see some of the amazing messages shared by our attendees! 

Our online gallery aims to inspire and encourage young people to explore different forms of creativity, share their diverse lived experiences, and establish a sense of solidarity within the social care community. 

Want to find out more about our launch party and the project? Read our news story here.