2 mins

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs is holding its 11th annual youth art contest. Thousands of 11 to 18-year-olds from around the world will be submitting their art.
The common thread?
Each work of art is a declaration of care and concern for ocean conservation.

The funny thing about climate change

The theme for the 2022 contest is “The funny thing about climate change.”
It offers a different twist to climate change conversations, which can often be despairing.
The prompt calls for art that will conjure humour, positivity, satire and irony.
Submissions are now open.

“Although climate change is no laughing matter, studies have shown that humour can break down barriers. It offers a safe way for people to approach, understand, and start conversations about divisive topics,” says Linda Cabot, founder of Bow Seat.
“Our 2022 Contest provides students with a platform. They can use humor or other unfamiliar or unexpected approaches to raise awareness of climate change, empower people, and instil hope, without minimising or undermining its severity.”


Bow Seat art by Mayumi Dimalanta 2020

Artwork: Mayumi Dimalanta – submitted to and awarded by Bow Seat, 2020

The contest is very inclusive.
Visual and performing arts, poetry and spoken word, creative writing, film, and multimedia submissions are accepted.
Winners will be selected from each category and receive awards of up to $1,500 each.

The Bow Seat Resource Studio

Furthermore, to support students’ participation, Bow Seat curates a unique online Resource Studio.
It is a creative space available  to students and teachers. It uses mediums like inspirational artwork, videos, journalistic media, primary literature, and interactive quizzes.
It’s an approach that helps students learn about climate change and its impact on the ocean.
Similarly, the studio also teaches how humour and other fresh approaches can be used as powerful science communications tools.

We All Rise

In addition, the 2022 contest also introduces the “We All Rise Prize.”
It is a prize for participants from the U.S. who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or Latina/o/e. The creation of this Prize seeks to increase the engagement among those most affected but often underrepresented in conservation efforts.
Twenty We All Rise Prize awards will be granted for a total $15,000.


Bow Seat Art by Qinlin Li

Artwork: Qinlin Li – submitted to and awarded by Bow Seat, 2017

In conclusion

Bow Seat’s platform and participation in the art contest has proven to have an excellent impact on young artists.
A follow-up survey to the 2021 contest found:
80% of participants reported increased knowledge on water-related issues
71% stated that participating impacted their worldview and behavior
87% reported that creating something for the contest helped them connect with conservation topics
76% report that the contest increased their confidence in their creative skills.

For more information

Visit the Bow Seat website.

Likewise, you can read the full interview here.
We spoke with Olivia Baud and Jasmine Rodman.
Olivia is a Social Media Manager and Communications Specialist at Bow Seat.
Jasmine is one of the young artists who is a member of the Future Blue Youth Council.

Feature image: Fiona Luo – submitted to and awarded by Bow Seat – 2017