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Looking Out from Lockdown | Art Competition

Interpret your lockdown experience through art to win prizes and support VP

Lockdown: a word most of us had probably never spoken a year ago, if we even knew it. A word now so common that Collins Dictionary named it 2020’s Word of the Year. A word that encapsulates the shared experience of millions of people around the world as we grapple with the physical and existential threat of Covid-19. A word that forms the theme of our 2021 lockdown Art Competition.

Looking Out from Lockdown. What does that phrase mean to you? Do you feel trapped, isolated? Like time or opportunities are slipping away? Or are you looking forward hopefully to a time in the vaccinated future? To embraces with family and friends? Has lockdown brought about positive changes, such as an appreciation of the little things in life, your local area?

Art is a way of expressing our shared experience. So we’re inviting you to interpret this theme - Looking Out from Lockdown - through the artistic medium of your choice. Important: you don’t need any prior experience of making art to enter! It’s simply about having a go and expressing yourself - and raising a bit of money to support the development of our online programme. We’ve got some cracking prizes to encourage you:



2D art (painting, drawing, collage, digital art etc)

Writing (poetry & prose)

First Prize Choose a Jessops Academy photography course Bespoke picture framing of your winning piece by TPF Studio Choose a Creative Writing Ink course
Second Prize Two books of your choice from Introducing Books Two books of your choice from Introducing Books Two books of your choice from Introducing Books

Our Sponsors

  ThePictureFramers_MasterLogo_RGB  jessopsScreenshot   ICONLOGO_blueword_PLUSBOOKS-icon-books-book-cover-jacket-design-designer-mark-ecob-uk-england-britai

We're incredibly grateful to our wonderful sponsors without whom this competition wouldn't be possible.

  • Jessops Academy offers a range of photography training around the UK and a variety of experiences and workshops to enable you to grow your photography skills and knowledge.
  • Creative Writing Ink is run by Olive O’Brien, a writer and publisher. Olive has a Masters in Journalism and previously worked as a features writer and news reporter. She has had three children’s books published and is the director of the independent book publishing company, Silver Angel Publishing.
  • The Picture Framers, Meldreth was established in 2010 by Kevin Jones. With a degree in illustration from UWE Bristol and 20 years’ experience in the picture framing industry, Kevin’s caring, consultative approach ensures your custom picture frame is a perfect match for your item.
  • Icon Books' Introducing Graphic Guides bring to life complex, theoretical topics like Quantum Theory, Logic or Postmodernism, and help you get your head around thinkers from Aristotle to Zizek.

Click their logos to find out more about them.

How we'll judge it

There’s no hard-and-fast criteria, no scoring matrix, and no lower or upper age limit. We’re simply looking for art which relates to the theme and speaks to us in some way.

We’ve assembled a group of art-loving amateur critics from our supporter base. They will whittle down the entries into a shortlist before finally deciding on a winner and runner-up in each category. There is also a “People’s Choice” prize for the piece of work which gets the most likes on our Instagram feed, where we’ll post every single entry.

Terms & Conditions

  • One entry per person, per category
  • Winners will be decided by a panel of judges chosen by us on the basis of creativity and relevance to the theme. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • There is no cash alternative and the prizes are not transferable
  • Winners will receive their prizes within a month of the closing date
  • Winners will be informed by email within seven days of the closing date, and must respond within 28 days to claim their prize
  • Copyright to the entries will remain with the entrant but the entrant licences Villiers Park to use images of their entries online and in print in perpetuity
  • The winners and runners-up in each category will be named unless they object to their details being shared. Please tell us when you submit your entry if you don’t want your full name disclosed. In that case, we will use your initials
  • Entrants will be tagged on social media posts about their entry if they supply their username

Meet the judges

Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing videos from a few of our esteemed judges, some of whom have had long careers in the category they're judging. First up is Ian, who'll have a critical on the written entries. Watch the video to find out what he's looking for. 

Read more about how Villiers Park helped spark Ian's passion for learning

How to enter

Entry fee

Like most charities, the past year has been really tough for us. More than ever, we rely on donations to help us develop the resources our Future Leaders need to reach their potential. We also recognise that many of our supporters have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. So rather than having a mandatory entrance fee, we’re asking you to please give what you can, with a suggested minimum donation of £10.

Donate here

How to submit your artwork

  • Simply send us the best quality picture of your entry that you can to by 5pm on Friday 19 March. If your piece is 2D (drawing, painting etc) and you can scan it, all the better. Larger files may be too big to email as an attachment. In that case, you could use DropBox, WeTransfer, Google Drive or another cloud storage system to send it.

  • Include a few words about your piece: how it meets the theme, what inspired you to make it and so on. You can say as much or as little as you like.

  • Please include your full name, address and age with your submission. We’ll only ever use your initials when posting a picture publicly, e.g. "EW, 23, Brighton". We will use full names when we announce the winners, unless you ask us not to.

  • If you have Instagram and want us to mention you in our posts, make sure you give us your username when you submit your piece. 

Need inspiration?

Here are some amazing examples of other lockdown art from the past year:


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